Favourite Places

For our second day of sharing the Riviera, we set off to Villefranche.

Just around the bay from Nice, it’s a lovely fishing port with restaurants along the waterside. We love going and have a fantasy about owning a property there one day (it’s very expensive though so given our recent property history, might not happen for a while.)

We sat for a while and enjoyed coffee before driving up through the steep back streets to the upper corniche and the most spectacular view of Cap Ferrat. The true glory of the Riviera.

From there we continued around the coastal road until we reached Cap d’Ail. This was Letad’s choice, his preferred beach and so we set off down the many steep steps until we arrived at the cove below.

It is a lovely beach and so we set up camp, umbrella staked in the pebbles and towels spread underneath. We ate our rustic picnic and swam in the seaweed-infused water.

It was lovely but as time moved on I felt that perhaps we should repair to my favourite beach at Cap Ferrat and so we packed up, hiked up the hundred or so steps and drove around the bay to the next beach.

Ah bliss. No seaweed, no steps and crystal clear water. We sat near the water and whiled away another couple of hours. I’m definitely choosing Cap Ferrat!

By the time we decided to leave, it was getting late. We arrived back in the village to discover that parking spaces were like hen’s teeth due to the circus being in town and chaos ensued. Eventually a space was found, blood may have been shed (there were no witnesses) but all was well and so we set off for dinner at the Cafe des Arcades in the square.

We had a lovely evening and a good laugh with friends. Tired from the sea air and swimming it wasn’t a late night and before long the little house was quiet.

Sharing the Riviera

We spent a lovely couple of days with good friends visiting from LA this week and were able to share a few of our favourite places with them.

We arrived on Wednesday and as they’d very kindly offered to pick us up at the airport, we went straight out to lunch at the Cafe Royal sur la Plage in Antibes. We’ve been a couple of times and it didn’t disappoint as we sat on the deck by the beach enjoying a glass or two of Rosé.

From there we decided to head to the Hotel du Cap in Antibes where we enjoyed watching a diver try desperately to impress the Russian hookers, I mean models while we enjoyed a rather nice selection of cocktails. With one of th most spectacular views, it’s worth the exorbitant price, dare I say, €35 for a French 75. One is more than enough at that price.

From there it was back to Valbonne for food and as yet another bottle of Rosé somehow appeared on the table, perhaps not quite an early night.

With plans agreed for the following day, I climbed the stairs to bed while some headed back out into the Valbonne night for a digestif.

Back to the Riviera.

Free Forman

As we set off for a beach day at Villefranche, we stopped to check on Forman in the fountain.

It was good news, he’d survived the night and seemed to be shadowing a couple of the larger orange koi. Forman seemed happy and all seemed well in the pond. It had been a good decision and something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

Go Forman!

The Liberation of Forman

The whereabouts of Norman the goldfish has become one of the great unsolved mysteries, if not of the world, then certainly of the Little House Above the Boulangerie. 

For those who remember (or care) we were convinced Norman was replaced by an interloper and things haven’t been quite the same since. 
Norman was an exceptional goldfish who had been trained to survive on little or no food. He lived in a nasty glass cube (now referred to as the Fritzl’s basement of aquariums) and really, life was pretty grim. 
Still Letad was attached to Norman and was quite upset by his disappearance or demise. 
The new fish, Forman however was a different story. He wasn’t Norman and it didn’t seem fair (or humane) to give him the Norman treatment and so I convinced Letad it was time to liberate Forman in the village fountain. 
We cut a plastic Perrier bottle in half and carried Forman through the village until we reached the pond. Home to a number of orange koi and other grey fish (no idea what they are) we felt this would be a much better life for a small goldfish. 
We carefully poured Forman into the fountain and watched as he darted away waiting to bang his face on the glass again but it never happened and so he swam and swam in a pond as big as an ocean, at least to him. 
We checked on him a few times as we passed the pond and it seemed as though he was settling in. Certainly the smallest fish in the pond, he seemed to be blending in and it looked as though he had even made a friend. 
As Forman’s first night approached we wondered if he would be awake all night staring up at the starlit sky unable to sleep from the excitement. 
Whatever happens, it has to be better than living in the kitchen in a box. 
Hopefully he’ll still be there tomorrow…

Not moving

Sadly and with great frustration and expense, the flat we were hoping to buy has (again) fallen through. It may be a case of bullet dodged (as our solicitor was becoming increasingly nervous) but it’s starting to feel as though we’re cursed.

The system is seriously wrong to allow a higher offer to be accepted two days before contracts were meant to be exchanged.

To say we’re frustrated and upset is an understatement. The only saving grace is that we hadn’t given notice at Chalk Farm so at least we’re not homeless as the process starts yet again.

A death in the family

Having watched Boris Morris the little brown mouse emerge yet again, dart around the kitchen and disappear mysteriously into the skirting board without even nudging the chocolate-baited death traps, I started to feel strangely attached to him. Perhaps a mouse of superior intelligence could cohabit with humans after all. 

It was, therefore with a twinge of sadness that we awoke to discover a small furry brown body slumped across a square of chocolate. The end of the road for Boris Morris. I wish he’d packed for his deluxe relocation, I bet he did too. 
And so with a eulogy said, the death trap was relocated to the bin and we set off to France. 
Au revoir les souris!

Gone fishing

With a cough and a cold in tow (it finally got the better of me) I’m ready for a break. 

Whenever I start to get too involved at work or take things personally, I know it’s time to head to France for a week of swimming, eating and relaxing. 
We’re heading off tomorrow morning. I’m tying up the loose ends and then I’m out of the office for ten days and a well deserved break. 

The Mouse who didn’t like Chocolate

Apparently, according to Letad and the Dad of Letad, mice love chocolate.

The deluxe holiday relocation boxes didn’t seem to work, Boris Morris the little Brown Mouse didn’t arrive with his knotted handkerchief on a stick all ready to go to Ibiza and so reluctantly I handed over rodent removal responsibilities to Letad.

He bought two of the nasty decapitating type of mousetraps at the local hardware shop and that was that.

The nasty mousetraps were baited with some rather nice Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. A bit of a waste but perhaps appealing to the more discerning kind of mouse. Traps were carefully arranged in the kitchen where Letad unfortunately stood on one (and survived) and then we waited for the unpleasant and inevitable snap.

Except it never came.

Turning on the light I saw Boris Morris dash from under the fridge to his garden path down the side of the washing machine. He avoided the mousetraps and luxury chocolate completely and obviously wasn’t interested in either dying or going on holiday.

He is not an average mouse by the look of things.

And so now I sit, looking longing at small squares of my favourite treat wasted on the mouse who doesn’t like chocolate.


Having been to collect my outrageously expensive new specs, I decided to try them out watching a programme on BBC iPlayer. 

Things are much bigger than they were before and while I can see well without them, I will admit I’m not squinting or leaning forward. Perhaps I needed them after all!
It’s a slippery slope and with another middle aged birthday rapidly approaching, I will only be wearing specs at work so I can actually see what I’m supposed to be doing. 
Other than that, I look like a librarian!

Making a Spectacle

I have finally broken down and ordered my first pair of reading glasses. It’s time to admit that having fought the good (eyesight) fight for many years, I’m now struggling to see my computer screen properly.

I blame the ambient overhead fluorescent lighting, (bad) mood lighting as I like to think of it. But there I sit, squinting at a 27 inch monitor, things looking a little blurry and so it’s time.

Being me I have ordered a stylish pair of Oliver Peoples frames (my sunglasses of choice for years) which (also being me and a creature of habit) I’ll have for the next twenty years or until I lose them, whichever comes first.

And so, a few more days of squinting until I join the bespectacled masses. I fought long and hard but it seems my time is up.

Now, where’s the publish button?