Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Gleeful week

The last two months have been my busiest since moving to France. It all kicked off with Malaysia and Elle Mac then came the Cannes Film Festival and last week was the Monaco TV Festival. Even the train journey, hugging the coast from Nice to Monte-Carlo, is enjoyable, particularly if you sit on the right and soak up the views. Am halfway through The God of Small Things but couldn’t bring myself to read when I could look out of the window and daydream instead.

I interviewed the lovely Julie Walters, above, who is always such good value. She was making me laugh about getting older, why she is proud to be grey and why she won’t even go there on cosmetic surgery or botox, hurray for that. She looks phenomenal, mainly because she is completely natural and funny and convinced me that 60 might not be so bad after all.

But the highlight of the festival has to be meeting Jane Lynch, aka Sue Sylvester in Glee. You have got to love a woman whose favourite quip on screen is: ‘I’m going to get a diaper for your chin because it looks like a baby’s ass!’ I LOVE that show and I love Sue/Jane so I didn’t shut up and thankfully nor did she. Coming to Hello magazine on a newsstand near you very soon – in fact this week!

Going back to being busy after a long honeymoon with France, it is really good to be firing on all cylinders again. I forgot how much I enjoy being busy. I definitely needed a period of go-slow to adjust to a new country, language and way of life and however much the girls are independent and to a large extent off my hands now, I think they have appreciated me being around a lot more.

I used to be so jealous of my ladies-that-lunch friends in Brookie Park with their tennis, manicures and of course the long Friday lunches. They were always jealous of me, rushing off to interviews, spending half my life in airports and meeting extraordinary people in far flung corners of the earth..and maybe not so jealous of the hours spent sitting hunched over my PC in my office til God knows what time writing it all up and the hours on the phone and email setting everything up. The grass is always greener but having had ample time to do that pool thing, lunch and tennis, I finally realised what I secretly knew all along – that life isn’t for me. Well, in small doses but with plenty of work tucked around the edges. Iain is secretly relieved too!

The only downside is I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to potter around in the garden. After two years here (hard to believe) I found a cherry tree in the garden the other day. I had a suspicion it was a cherry tree last year when I kept finding squashed red berries all over the windscreen of the car but none of us were brave enough to risk being poisoned by a possibly toxic yet innocuous looking berry when we didn’t even know how to call an ambulance. So I asked Rosine next door and she laughed her head off when I told her that we had all been too nervous to eat one. I picked loads and they are lovely, all the tastier for being straight from the garden with no fertiliser, pesticide or any other muck on them.

Had several calls in the last few days following the floods in the Var that have tragically killed over 20 people this week. The storms have been terrible and everyone is worried that we have been washed down the hillside but the advantage of buying a house that has been underpinned is that it ain’t going anywhere! We’ve had torrential rain in the last few days, interspersed with hot,hot sunshine (which just means the grass grows like mad and Iain has to strim twice as often.) Very peculiar for June.

As if to invite even more rain into our lives, I have just booked tickets to the Big Chill at Eastnor Castle in August. Lily Allen, Plan B, Gilles Peterson, Massive Attack and MIA are playing amongst others and it will be the girls’ first music festival. Makes up for me not doing Glastonbury and we are all dead excited! We are camping while Norma and Tony stay in a four star hotel down the road. I have tried to explain to N&T that room service and an en suite is not what festivals are about when you can have a portaloo and a warm beer instead but they are having none of it, citing ‘bad backs.’ Have a feeling we will have all four girls in with us while they have a ‘romantic weekend’ a deux. Which is fine. I am packing shorts, wellies, bikinis, hoodies and a cooler full of wine so we will be prepared whatever happens.

The only downer has been the news this week that Liv has to redouble (to non-French students, that means retake the last year.) She is utterly devastated. We wrote an appel last night and have to go to Nice next Thursday – Issy’s birthday unfortunately – to fight our corner. I don’t think it is a bad thing and even she is coming round to the idea that she will at least fly through the next year instead of struggling but like her competitive mum, she hates losing and really wants to stay with her peer group and her best friends who all mean the world to her. I think Lily is as devastated as she is. It’s heartbreaking to hear your firstborn weeping down the phone unable to even speak. So, we will appeal and give it our best shot and if that fails, she has to stay back. She has one friend in the year below who is thrilled at having his mate back in the same class and I have to believe that it might not be so terrible for her, especially as she is 15 going on 25 right now!

Just as I was content to settle into a period of house renovation, early nights and family suppers after the social whirl of the last two months, Sarah calls to say that it is Cannes Lions advertising festival next week, and she is coming over with Bex and has put us on the guest lists for all the coolest parties. My Dr Sebagh Youth Serum will be tested to the core once again and I have told Iain I have no choice but to fit in two parties a night as it will be the perfect networking opportunity...sadly his response was unprintable dear reader, but it was along the lines of ‘You poor love, of course I’m happy to cook for the children, walk the dogs and hold the fort here while you make new business contacts at the Majestic, Palais Stephanie and all those other boring beach parties!’