The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. A trip to France by Lil

Easyjet have obviously consulted the best. For instance it is clear they consulted Giacometti for their seating arrangements.   Gone are the spaces for arms and legs and in their place the traveller has the experience of sharing their neighbour’s, which invariably have minds of their own.   Try taking a kip and quite arbitrarily someone’s arm clunks it’s way across one’s face or there is a suggestion of tantric sex as legs fondle each other. But I mustn’t complain.

Malcolm was once an adored damp little bundle, little did I ever imagine that one day he would have power of eternity over my muddled finances and lifestyle.   I bought, with a partner, several years ago, an enchanting little ‘Belle Epoch’ lodge with a garden leading down to a view of the sea.  Less enchanting are the ravages of old age.  My partner languishes in a old people’s home, frustrated and incapable of deciding the future of his beloved little love nest which has been much neglected with patches of damp and a jungle for a garden. It was time to revisit the place and make decisions.

A weekend in Cannes is not to be sniffed at except it rained and rained.  We took the cat’s cradle route out of the airport but managed to arrive at exactly where the hotel should be – first time round.   Malcolm firmly took the luxury double and I was left with the humbler bed.  We left our cases, or rather, because of Easyjet’s travel arrangements, our small bags and bolted through the drizzle to a laid back Italian joint with a charming, winking, or was it squinting, waiter.   The Pope, Malcolm and his Christian conscience did some neat rethinking of what it really means to give up wine for Lent and we downed a wholesome bottle of Soave.  More drizzle but by now we were benign and so to bed. Malcolm to his luxury and me to my humble.

The weekend’s work started.  We met my partner’s daughter and a builder and wandered round disconsolate while he drew the vision of en suites magicked out of bedrooms and a hot tub forced between the foliage.   Later, we met some property dealers, who oohed and aahed subject to ensuites.  I wandered off and found my Latin dictionary and primer, my wedding/ funeral hat and chose a Lionel Edwards off the wall, which I had bought my partner many years before.   That evening the three of us mortified the Lenten flesh on oysters and Chablis down on the sea front, watching the drizzle.

Monday was splendid.  We left Sophie doing semaphore with a team of French removal men and we drove up to the ski resort up above Cannes.   Rain in Cannes! if  it was still raining in Cannes meant snow, glorious snow in the mountains.  It was almost spooky, a resort deep in snow and not a soul about, I saw two skiers!  And then a treat, and such a treat. We drove down to Vence and across to St Paul de Vence where we had lunch at the Colombe d’Or.  My son was impressed that I knew exactly where he was taking me, one of the top restaurants in France.   More mortification of the flesh ensued and we both agreed Lent is an exacting time before wandering off to the Fondation Maerght.

Culture on a full stomach is a touch decadent, but wasn’t the whole weekend?

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