Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Never trust a man in lycra

After a week of rain, and not just rain but biblical, wash-everything-away rain, the sun returned as did the warm spring like temperatures and we decided to go to the beach for lunch. We took the hounds with us now that the beach ban on dogs is over for winter, and started the coast walk from la Napoule to Port de la Rague.

You can see from the photos that the beach did not look its usual pristine style. The storms have battered the coast to such an extent that the usually fine golden sand was completely invisible under a barrage of driftwood, bamboo, flotsam and jetsam and even the odd fridge and armchair. It looked a bit like a riot scene from London last summer minus those naughty looters. We’ve had some storms here but I’ve never seen anything like this. I even saw surfers at Sainte-Maxime three weeks ago, which means handyman and I may have to retire there with a surfboard at some point in the future.

Lunch at le Repere was fantastic; sitting on the deck in warm November sunshine with a glass of champagne, a beautiful sea bass with tabouleh, rounded off by a crisp chocolate ganache, can a Sunday get any better?

As well as the bizarre weather, we have also had some classic one-liners from the youngest member of the house. The other day she finished her chat with Livvy with the cruel and cutting: ‘I’m so much taller than you, I could just step on you like road kill.’ Thankfully we are all very thick-skinned, a necessity when you live with the female equivalent of Peter Kay.

We had a Premier Mardi meeting last Tuesday at the new deli and cafe in Valbonne, La Pomme Rouge. Kate Adams has given the place a fabulous facelift and it’s simply furnished, serving coffee and tea as well as breakfast, lunch and occasional evening tapas. Always good to see someone do something different, especially in Valbonne. Le Kashmir Indian restaurant is going great guns, packed to the rafters throughout the week with as many French diners as spice hungry ex-pats so hopefully Kate will also find a niche and a regular flow of customers.

My fellow blogger extraordinaire Chris France has just published his first book, Summer in the Cote d’Azur. If sales are anything like as successful as the recent launch party in Valbonne, then Chris looks set to clean up where Peter Mayle left off.

One of the most memorable meals for some time was at Shan and Tony’s glorious pad last Thursday. We gave the Kashmir a run for their money with a dazzling array of home cooked curries but the talking point was the Piste 2 Plage bike ride next year in aid of Help for Heroes, which Al and Susie are gamely organising. It’s a 450k journey through some of the highest cols in Europe, a couple of which are previous Tour de France routes ridden by the likes of Lance Armstrong. We are going to scale heights as high as Everest, which means some serious training from next spring onwards.

Tony has been talked into taking part. Let me tell those of you who have the misfortune not to know Tony what makes him tick. Tony is a man who spent a fortune transforming an outbuilding into a beautiful, state of the art gym complex complete with cinema size plasma screen right next to his pool but cannot remember the last time he went in there. Or indeed the first time either. In his Hong Kong apartment, he christened his spare room the Pointless Purchase room and used it for storing running machines, rowing machines, juicers and other spontaneously bought gadgets that never made it out of the packaging. The other day, we put the world to rights on health, fitness and the dangers of too much alcohol while I drank green tea and he supped beer with red wine chasers. I think you get the picture.

Suffice it to say, he was furiously back peddling as he knocked back the red and started talking of lending his support to the support vehicles rather than taking part in the challenge. When he was shouted down by Al, Susie and the rest of us, many of whom have also signed up, he disappeared, only to reappear in a skin-tight lycra cycling suit, which along with his brand spanking new mountain bike has never yet seen the light of day.

I wish I had a photo but you will just have to trust me when I say that it was a sight to behold, especially the lengthy zip that he kept whizzing up and down rather alarmingly. I laughed so hard my mascara ran down my face, which was also an attractive sight and second only to Lycra Larry. It was decided that if only for laughter and entertainment value, Tony has to take part, and to hell with his high blood pressure and all the other ailments he keeps trying to use as valid excuses. I for one will be making sure I cycle slow enough to enjoy his company and his zip prowess.

My next project is to make Oscar a YouTube star and us millionaires. People are raking in the bucks putting on home-made video clips of Charlie bit my finger. It sounds pretty boring to me, you can come and watch the girls in a violent bitch slapping catfight any night of the week chez moi, but it has been watched 386 million times. How successful would my Oscar video be if I filmed him head-butting the TV screen and barking rabidly at black people, gays, the disabled, wheelchair users and bald men, in fact any individual who is not a WASP? He's even started having a go at Fatima Whitbread on I'm a Celebrity, who probably fits a couple of the criteria above. I’m calling it Reservoir Dogs. The money is already in the bank.