Sunday, February 27, 2011

Half term rules

It has its laying in bed until way past noon in their PJs fixated to the internet in bedrooms resembling a war zone, gazillions of kids’ friends round dominating the sofas and TV, the fridge being emptied on a daily basis due to permanent munching from certain younger members of the family, and one much older one, but the upside of school holidays when you work from home is that you feel like you are on holiday too. Don’t know how I will cope when the girls leave home...

We had the pleasure of Clare, Nick and lovely Miss Ruby visiting from Parker Towers in Twickenham for a few days so we headed off for some skiing in gorgeous conditions last Monday. Clare eschewed the pistes for a deckchair at the 504, and actually had the nerve to tell me she was exhausted from all the fresh air as we drove home that evening. That evil little drag TK Cheiron had its way with new visitors as usual, chucking Ruby off halfway up, which meant Nick had to leap off mid-way too. Hasty arrangements were made to come down two different routes and pick them up en route and rather hilariously, Handyman inadvertently chose the black run while I took the gentle red with the girls.

Naturally, no-one managed to find each other, which meant a regrouping coffee break after our second run. Regular readers of this column will know that handyman and skiing are not a natural fit. He once said on the chair lift on a beautiful sunny, New Year’s Day with no crowds and fresh powder everywhere: ‘Now, in a perfect world, I would be lying on a sun lounger on the beach in Barbados, not freezing to death on this lift.’ He was deadly serious. And he never chooses to ski a black, ever. So it will come as no great shock to hear that I found him slumped in a deckchair, nursing a coffee and complaining that his knees had just been shot to pieces by the moguls.

I suspect it was all an elaborate ruse to enable lengthy recuperation at the restaurant for virtually the rest of the day, gamely dressed up as ‘keeping our non-skiing guest company.’ You can see from the photo above that those in the know at Greolieres had advance warning of Iain's brave rescue mission.

The following day was a walking-the-dogs-on-the-beach day, which was just a ruse for lunching at the fabulous Brocherie II in la Napoule, where a stupendous five course menu marin accompanied by a few bottles of Chateau Maime on the terrace watching the yachts bob in the harbour can easily see you from lunch into very late afternoon indeed. Wednesday was spent in Saint-Paul de Vence admiring the beautiful views from the Colombe d’Or and tucking into a mid-afternoon snack of home-made crepes. Fair to say we all ate our own bodyweight in five days so the weekend has been spent trying to regain some sort of normal routine which doesn’t involve eating every two hours.

Tonight being the Oscars, it felt right to go and see The King’s Speech in Cannes this afternoon – a truly great film that deserves to sweep the board later in LA. Great films are harder to make now – if it’s not a sequel or a comic strip, funding is notoriously difficult to secure so the fact that this low budget Brit effort, which cost a modest £10million to make, has already taken close to $100 million at the US box office is remarkable. I interviewed Colin when he played Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, and Helena when she starred in Henry VIII, and both were very normal, unassuming, down to earth individuals in a business where possessing one of those qualities is a rarity, let alone all three. Go Colin, go Helena and go, go, go Geoffrey.