Working Weekend

Can you believe it? Just two more days and we fly back to Peymeinade. I’ve not even had time to do any gardening. Bother!

Apart from filling up the bird feeders and working on a couple of client websites, since our return I’ve been mainly editing a wedding trailer for Mark Shipperley Films. You can read more about the making of this film in Alice Barker Weddings.

A call yesterday from my friend Christine Davis of Chrisma Estate Agents means that, upon our return to France, we’ll be filming a property for her over in Tourrettes-sur-Loup. I find filming properties somewhat less stressful than filming weddings . . .

Although a busy bee, I did manage to get bum off seat this afternoon to visit the Norfolk Arts, Crafts & Design Show out at the Norfolk Show Grounds. Various stalls displayed artwork, jewellery, local and Mediterranean produce and craft-ware but on the whole it was a little disappointing. Not much of a turn out either.

On the other hand I did meet the owner of Wild Norfolk and loved his work. Peter Mallett has a farm in North Burlingham and has taken some fantastic photos of his local wildlife on and around it. I so aspire to photograph as well as he does.

This evening as I walked round the garden I was greeted by a very friendly swan, oddly on its own. She seemed very curious by the various cabin cruisers and small boats making their way downstream to Cottleshall until she spied me and came over to say hello. Having only my tiny Canon IXUS100 IS I did the best I could to photograph this beautiful creature.

As I walked past our lake I wondered how much wildlife would still come and say hello to us once the dogs (and cats) are here – Bertie and Freddy arrive with us when we return to Belaugh on Sunday 9th October. We then return to France to collect the cats in November and the Mexican Jumping Bean (Muffin the Chihuahua) in December.

Simon’s Elixir of Life

We have a rather excellent supermarket in Grasse called Leclerc who stock one of the best selection of wine bottles I have ever seen in my life. Not only that, they stock the most amazing range of rosé wines and it is there that we would find a fantastic rosé labelled Pink Floyd – a wine our friend Simon Moxley loves to bits.

Over the years, whenever he came to visit us in France or we’d visit him in the UK we’d buy a couple of bottles for him and he’d literally be in 7th Heaven at the thought of tasting it again.

So prior to his recent visit, yours truly dashed over to Leclerc to buy a couple of bottles of Pink Floyd. There were none. Zilch. ‘Must have sold out’ I thought. He too drove over there a few days later, hoping to buy a case full. Still nothing on the shelves.

Could we find it on the internet we wondered? And we did and discovered that it is issued from one of the most historic domaines of Provence: Château Miraval. We also discovered that the  Château, winery and extraordinary vineyard was rented by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (if you’re a wine-buff you’ll enjoy reading this article by Elin McCoy) and that this particular rosé is now just made for export. Which is fine if you live outside of France – which Simon does.

But a man weeping into his hankie after driving over 900 miles to enjoy his favourite tipple is not a pretty sight. What could I do? And then yours truly had a brain-wave. Off I drove to the tiny hamlet of Plascassier and popped into their Super-U supermarket. There they stock a sublime wine grown from a small vineyard in Mougins, Vigne de Pibonson, that produces a gorgeous rosé (cuvée Nicolas) and a delicious white (cuvée Christopher).

The day, and evening and Simon’s holiday were saved!

Ticking All The Boxes


So I’m at the Prefecture de Grasse to obtain a Certificate d’Immatriculation d’un Véhicle for my MG (nobody gets in without a ticket and an extremely long wait) only to be told that, while I may have the correct paperwork and forms filled out, I’m missing one from the Centre des Impôts*.

Naturally said building is located miles away from the Prefecture – which meant returning the following day, with proper document to hand, and queuing up and waiting another two hours. . .

Then I ticked all the boxes for the dogs & cats needing to go into kennels for two weeks. While Freddy and Muffin look upon the kennels as a doggy holiday camp, Bertie thinks otherwise and tried heading back to the car as fast as his little legs could take him.

Then I ticked all the boxes at Maaf to get the MG’s insurance made out for his new number plates – and got them fitted at my local key cutter man. At this point I should explain that, when we bought the MG, we imported him into France, thus making his UK number plate void. At that time I was more than happy as I had no intention (ever) of returning to England to live. Famous last words . . .

And in between all of my boxes getting ticked, our friend Simon managed to tick one off too. Making an early start yesterday morning he (with I expect a very happy grin on his face) drove across the Millau Viaduct in his whizzy Ford Focus RS.

* This was a totally useless piece of paper as my MG is over 10 years old and, under French law, is automatically exempt from any import tax duties. But no matter they still insisted they had to have it ‘pour le dossier‘. So off I drove to the Impôts to get said paper. The good news is that it didn’t cost me a cent to get.

Mellow Yellow

This was the view from my terrace this morning with the pretty perched village of Cabris to the left of my photo. Although colours are slowly changing as Autumn approaches, daylight is still as intense as it was in summer. Having heralded the start of this year in a blaze of yellow mimosa, the countryside ends now with the mellowest of yellows. Gorgeous.

Friends Simon and Alison returned from Monaco delighted with their tour of the Principality, lunching on Moules et Frites near to the Palais Princier de Monaco (rue de l’Eglise) and later partaking of a fabulous Gelato sitting at the Café de Paris in Monte-Carlo.

Alison’s highlight of the day was meeting a very friendly seagull who apparently walks (yes, walks) from the street into the ‘Au Saint-Nicolas‘ restaurant for a bite of cheese – goat’s no less, as anything else he’ll totally ignore. It seems this fine fellow comes every day to be hand-fed. Having gobbled up his repast he mooches back to Les Jardins St Martin opposite the Cathedral – waiting for a flight home I expect . . .

Simon’s highlight was the fact that someone photographed his RS as he drove round the Condamine (the harbour bit) of the ‘Formula 1 circuit‘.

Nigel flies in today having filmed a Jewish wedding on Sunday in London. Although I couldn’t help with the filming due to our guests arriving, I do get to edit the film – can’t wait.

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