No Holds Barred

There is something magical about landing in Nice and still today sends tingles down my spine. I’m not sure if it’s the views of snow-topped mountains or my first sight of the sea, but my heart lifts as the plane approaches the coastline, swings low towards the landing strip and lands ‘en douceur’.

Once in Peymeinade we set about assembling our gear to film what turned out to be a most delightful villa situated high up in the hills over-looking Tourrettes-sur-Loup.  As I mentioned in my previous scribbles, Christine Davis of Chrisma Estate Agents had asked if we could film the property for her and take photos for inclusion in Belles Demeures‘s website.

Currently on the market for (a meagre) €2,200,000 there is no doubt that this is a beautiful villa with exceptional sea views and as soon as I saw the horizon pool I knew there was a photo opportunity just calling out to be done.

“No worries” Nigel happily chirped up. “I’ll go in”. He strips off (we forgot to bring our swim suits) and jumps in. “Yikes, it’s a bit chilly” Nigel mutters through clenched teeth. “You poor old thing”, I reply with a wry smile, “I could have sworn it was a heated pool. The things we do for our art – absolutely no holds barred, eh?”

And of course you know me, I simply couldn’t resist taking a sneaky shot of Nigel in the pool and plastering it for the world to see . . .


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.

Scouting through France with the MG

On Monday it was the turn of the MG to be driven through France and, barring a slight detour, up to Belaugh; a journey of just under 1,000 miles. Our itinerary was simple: Peymeinade, Avignon, Valence, Lyon, Dijon, and Troyes with an overnight stay in Buchères, a small village just south of this ancient town.

We stayed at what we have come to affectionately call The Cabin (in reality a Première Classe hotel) as the size of the shower rooms remind us of those found on ferries. This particular hotel is located next door to a Campanile, so after winkling ourselves out of the MG, we made our way over to their restaurant, where I must confess I ate 1kg of Moules Marinières – their evening special . . .

The following day we whizzed up to Reims, Béthune and Calais where we caught the Channel Tunnel. This time our destination was Gilwell Park, rather than Belaugh, so, after going through the (wretched) Dartford Tunnel, we took the M25 anti-clockwise to Waltham Abbey and Gilwell Park Conference Centre to attend an IOV workshop being held there (more about that workshop in ABW).

Dating back to the 1400s, Gilwell Park today stands in 108 acres of mature parkland, and offers conferences, corporate activity days, wedding receptions and parties. But more importantly, since 1919, it is the home of the International Scout Leader training centre created by Robert Baden-Powell.

His small green caravan trailer, nicknamed Eccles, and presented to Baden-Powell by the Boy Scouts of the World in 1929, still exists much to Nigel’s astonishment. For he, like so many boys in his early teens, was a scout and remembered seeing the caravan when he attended scout camp at Gilwell Park in the 1960s.

Which probably explains why he’s such a very good navigator . . .

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