Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two funerals and a 50th

Sitting on Easyjet has never felt so good thanks to the wonderful invention that is the iPad. I have spent this week at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival, interviewing Eva Longoria...beautiful, funny and smart, Chad Michael Murray...beautiful...Ted Danson, my teenage crush in Cheers, who is still looking good at 64, and Downton Abbey actor Allen Leech, who did a great job of keeping schtum about the new series which starts in September. Hot on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival, it means there are currently not enough hours in the day in which to write everything up. But I have just spent an enjoyable hour on thd plane writing an interview with Michelle Collins for a UK women's magazine, without feeling like a chicken with its head cut off. No email or phone to divert me either, just a muffin and a mint tea. This is my second London flight this week and I am heading to my second funeral as dear lovely Nanny Kit died two weeks ago. She was 95, in pain and just didn't want to go on any longer. She passed away a few days after a great family friend Jack, who was almost 90. His funeral last Friday was a fitting tribute to a man who was loved by everyone who met him. Even the tearing wind, horizontal rain, uprooted trees and freezing temperatures at the graveside couldn't dampen people's spirits, it was like Jack was hovering over us to see how much we could stand.  Tomorrow will be a sad day, as Kitty was larger than life, feisty, funny and didn't suffer fools. But it will also be a celebration of her long life and a time to reminisce and share happy memories. The fact that her four great-grandchildren grew up knowing her is a marvellous bonus, as is having a grandparent when you are 45. We took my mum out for supper when we arrived and she passed nan's platinum engagement ring to me with a note, written by nan quite a few years ago from the look of the hand writing, saying 'This is for Karen'. It's on my finger now. The weekend takes a more upbeat turn on Saturday when we head off to Nick's 50th. His band is playing, the Thai caterers are on standby, and the champagne will surely flow even though the great UK summer rainclouds seem set to do their utmost to rain on his parade. My silk dress and heels may need to be swapped for jeans and boots but we are armed for every eventuality and weather pattern. Luckily the sun shone last weekend when Fiona hosted a fundraising quiz for the Piste to Plage Challenge in aid of Help for Heroes. Over 60 people attended, and thanks to generous donations, fantastic raffle prizes and the efforts of Chris France to shift more copies of his book Summer in the Cote d'Azur and donate the proceeds, a magnificent €2,000 was raised. Just shows what can be done in the back garden on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The challenge takes place in September so training has started in earnest and the funds have provided a welcome boost for everyone's charity page efforts.  This month we celebrated four years of living in France and this much I know. No matter how much I miss my family and friends - never more so than at times like this - I'd find it very hard to return to the UK, where one blazing week in March followed by another in May constitutes summer. We marked our anniversaire Francais in fitting style, watching England play France at the home of Eric, who was proudly wearing his French football shirt alongside his father-in-law Jean, also in a French shirt, and Corinne, who mercifully was not. At least the draw means we are all still talking.