15. Apr, 2016

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FRIDAY 29-5-15

I had a rough night last night, didn't sleep much at all. I felt as if my bed was on a slant, but this morning having double checked my seldom-used rear corner steadies we were perfectly level. Perhaps I've become so accustomed to sleeping on a slope, that when it's level, I can't cope.

Today was to be a day trip to Nice. In to the shower block we both went. Now I like this block because you just press a button and the shower delivers hot water immediately at the correct temperature. I've never come across that before, and I like it, though I still don't like having to keep pressing a button to keep the water flowing.

After about a five minute walk we arrived at our bus stop to catch the 200 service in to Nice. It was a fifty minute journey and cost €3 for two singles. The journey there was spent in the suburbs along the coast, before passing Nice Airport which is right on the shoreline and then a straight run along what is a very long promenade (Promenade Des Anglais) before arriving in the city centre. What a very nice place Nice is, if you know what I mean. We walked along the prom and past many stalls selling Italian food, just as we have French Markets back home, the French must have Italian Markets (the Italian border not being far away to the east). I made a point of checking out stalls selling pizza's and concluded that to eat a nice pizza you either have to make one yourself, buy one from a quality supermarket or go out to an Italian restaurant, where you can pay a lot, and have it covered with olive oil or sprayed with WD40.

The promenade area was very busy and so we made our way towards the Old Town and port. This area was very nice with yachts of many shapes and sizes, including the usual smattering of multi-million pound 'gin palaces'.

We began feeling peckish and so decided to have a bite at a restaurant on the Quayside overlooking the fancy yachts. Having grabbed the last table outside we ordered a couple of beers, two omelettes, ham and cheese, and two portions of fries. The waitress looked at us bemused. We also wanted fries? Yes please. The food came in a timely manner along with a basket of fresh crusty slices of bread, and so we set about it. My word it all took a lot of eating, especially as I ate half of Rosina's fries to help her out and most of the bread. I ordered a second beer to help me out, and at the end there was just one slice of bread left, everything else had been consumed. I kept looking at it, The Chef said "Just leave it", but the thought of leaving it was annoying me as round the back in the kitchens they were probably taking bets on whether the 'Chips with Everything' English would finish it all. Well we did with one final delve in to the bread basket, it was gone - I felt stuffed. We were trying to guess what it would cost us, given that we were in fashionable Nice on the Cote D'Azur. I thought €40 The Chef €35. Imagine our surprise then when we received the bill - just under €27, about £20. We decided there and then that when we win the Euro-Millions and buy our 'Floating Gin Palace' we will return - and attempt two portions of chips each.

We made our way back to the main tourist area of the promenade before diving in to the back streets. It was very interesting indeed, with lovely buildings, markets etc. In fact there was a lot of activity in one market area as they were cleaning away the mess left by the mornings produce and flower sellers, washing everywhere down and then immediately setting up tables and chairs to become restaurants for the afternoon and evening.

Another nice area was the 'Place Massena' where there was a statue in the middle of a fountain, but more interestingly two areas of water features. The smaller one was cool water mist coming up out of the ground through which you can walk. It is very refreshing on a hot day. The second area across the tramlines was very much larger, and as well as the mist, had dancing water fountains, and each time they fired up both adults and kids frolicked amongst them.

On walking further along the promenade we came across some newsagents stalls selling English newspapers including the Sun and Daily Mail - the first we'd seen since we crossed the Channel back in mid-April, we must be getting nearer home.

I seem to recall the headline of the Daily Telegraph reading something like 'NHS-Second Class Service For Over 70's'. Well that's not really news is it? Just after we returned from Spain in mid-February I needed to book a GP's appointment because of a recurring ear infection, something I picked up in Singapore whilst enjoying life as a single matelot. Though I hadn't had a problem with it for years, it kicked off whilst we were away. Anyhow I popped down to make the appointment - one month's time, a MONTH! I remember the good old days when you got to see a doctor in the same month as you booked the appointment. And why is that I wonder? I have a solution:

Every person arriving from Eastern Europe must bring with them a suitcase full of bricks and a bag of motar, and when they get here they mix the cement and lay the bricks at a new surgery, hospital or school being built to accommodate them and their families. This would be their contribution towards building the additional schools, surgeries and hospitals that need to be built to accommodate their needs, not ours - theirs.

Instead they flock in having paid absolutely nothing in to the system and are allowed to immeadiately take everything out.

'Yez but I iz taxpayer now'.

'Yes you are, but you're on minimum wage, you've only been here 6 weeks and only paid three pounds income tax last month, and you've already had a council house out of it.

'Yez but I has hooman rights. I am suing British Government with free Legal Aid money. They refuse me to bring my cuzzin from Africa who has Aids, needs medicine, and also my new Thai bride I buy on internet, she has mother who needs kidney transplant. Government  not fair - I pay taxes'

"So there you have it Mr H. You may have paid in to the system all your life and been fortunate enough not to have taken much out, but I'm afraid the hospital bed your lying in has now been given to that nice, newly arrived health tourist sat over there who needs an expensive, urgent operation but who will pay nothing at all towards it, before getting back on a plane to fly out of the country. So get dressed, go home and we'll call you when we have a bed available that no foreigner needs. Can't have them calling us racists now can we?"

'Second Class service for over 70's......  it starts much younger than that.

....Now where was I?

It was getting very hot and we were feeling quite tired, probably helped by the lunchtime beers, it was about 15:45. We decided to do an about-turn and make our way to the bus stop where we caught a bus home arriving about 17:15.

Because we were both stuffed we couldn't even think about food until 20:00 when we had a bit of salad with cheese.

We have now formulated 'Plan C'. We will have the weekend off relaxing, then allow two days in Monaco, followed by one day relaxing, one day in Cannes then one day relaxing, before getting back on the road again and taking a look at the interior of the Provence region of France, not a million miles from here. We will then try and make our way back to the Loire Valley using as many 'Red' roads, as opposed to Toll roads, as possible.Though it could all change of course.

An episode of 'Doc Martin' followed by an episode of ‘Lead Balloon' before bed.