Villenneuve-Loubet, near Nice- week one
The rain started as showers during the night but then slowly got worse as the morning progressed. By mid-morning it was heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Sat indoors feeling bored I decided to take myself down the road to see if I could find an English newspaper to read. I set off in swimming shorts, 'T' shirt, Mac and flip-flops. My thinking being that the worst thing that can happen to me is to come back with wet legs and swimming shorts.
Needless to say I didn't bump in to anybody else on the way. As it turned out flip-flops were the ideal footwear as I could walk through the deep puddles without having to worry. I did manage to find a newsagents-cum-coffee-shop and there was just one English newspaper left - a Sunday Mail, and it had a very damp front page. Not to worry it was something to read and take my mind off our predicament.
For lunch I was rather hoping for the British Incontience Association's recommended Cocky Leaky soup, but instead it was nice hot tomato flavour, together with part-baked baguettes, freshly finished off in our oven. Very nice they were to.
I spent much of yesterday evening and today trying to get online and register with Channel 4 online in the hope we could watch the highlights of today's Monaco Grand Prix.
The weather here brightened up about half an hour before the start time, but by then I imagine there were an awful lot of spectators who had paid a lot of money for their tickets sat in the grandstands soaked to the skin.
The sun eventually shone here at about 16:00 - Praise the Lord! By then Lewis Hamilton was well on his way to winning the Monaco Grand Prix. I used to consider myself a fan of young Lewis, but now I think he's just an arrogant, spoilt, moody sod. His poor old dad made huge sacrifices supporting him throughout his karting career, but as soon as Lewis made the big time he dumped him, so I hope that this year his teammate Nico Rosberg wins the title. He may be German, but on this occasion I can forgive him.
Tomorrow we plan to go to St Tropez, probably on the train. We may even bump in to its famous resident Brigit Bardot, the blonde bird with the big t*ts, though after all these years they probably just keep her knees warm.
This evenings meal from my resident Cordon bleu Chef was chicken curry, washed down with lashings of rosé wine.
I did manage to register with Channel 4 online and we managed to watch a bit of the news which was on before the Grand Prix, but it was buffering so much the race would have lasted until midnight, and so I gave up.
This evening we may well partake of a DVD movie, though I haven't anything onboard starring Brigit Bardot, which is a shame as it could have been considered 'research'.
Tomorrow I will rename this page 'Nice 1' since there is too much rubbish to upload for a two-week stay at one location, so from tomorrow it will be 'Nice 2', and whatever that will bring.
As I type this rubbish I am looking across at a French couple who have been here about as long as us. Every evening the elderly wife changes in to her night attire, then has a fag whilst wandering around the pitch making phone calls, any red blooded male would have difficulty controlling himself.
Tonights video was 'Billy Elliot' though there was no popcorn or ice cream in sight.
Here's to tomorrow - blue skies, no Grand Prix, and most of France at work rather than on strike.
Today was a bit of a nothing day. The weather was nice and sunny though it did forecast cloud later on. With this in mind we popped to our local supermarket for a few bits of shopping, had lunch and then wandered down to the beach. We were lucky enough to bag one of the beach umbrellas which became vacant right near us soon after we arrived..... on boring days, it's the little things in life that count.
We lay there having a read watching all the fit young things frying in the hot sunshine before giving up and making our way back.
The campsite is much quieter than we expected it to be. A number of happy campers have left but have not been replaced, yet despite that it's still a nightmare trying to get online.
We've a miserable, wet day to look forward to tomorrow before things settle down for a number of hot sunny days, which will be enough for us to undertake our other visits and activities.
Today we were making for Nice, eight miles, and about 40 minutes away on the bus. I was hoping to find the shop recommended to me by the girls in the Tourist Information Office in Cagnes-sur-Mer, where I could buy a replacement video camera.
We caught a bus about 10:00 which was almost full, and the temperature was climbing, clearly today was going to be a hot one.
On arriving in Nice centre The Chef acted as navigator using a tourist map we'd picked up from the campsite. Eventually we came across the store and I did manage to buy a replacement video camera. Unfortunately my Sony spare batteries won't fit it, neither will the mini DV tape cassettes, UV filter or wide angle lens, but we're back in business with a basic Panasonic HD camera using memory cards to record on to.
Once outside the shop I unpacked it to find the instruction book in both German and French. Not to worry, the menu in the camera was in English, and I soon had it up and running. The only drawback then was the battery having very little power in it. So there I was, walking around with the pocket camera in its pouch attached to my belt on one side, and the new, smaller, lighter video camera attached to the belt on the other. I must have looked like a gunfighter at the OK Corral.
We wandered along to the Old Port area where we had our lunch the last time we were here, today though the restaurant was very busy, and our only seating choice was indoors with a small group of old French ladies who couldn't stop talking. Having waited a long time to be served we upped and left. Wandering back towards the main centre we came across an American-style restaurant, not our cup of tea really but it was way past lunchtime and we were hot and tired.
Whilst waiting for our burgers, fries and beers to arrive (€31/c£24 - who says crime doesn't pay), I noticed an electrical plug point nearby, after a quick word with the waiter I unplugged whatever was attached to it and plugged in the camera for charging. This gave me a bit more life for a few shots.
They do say not to go back to places, and I have to say that although Nice is a lovely place, it isn't at its best at the moment. There are one or two large civil engineering projects in town which make the place look ugly, add to this the two parks which produced mist and steam and water features for the public to walk amongst and enjoy were not working, possibly due to one of them currently having a stage and seating erected on it. Whilst I took a few pictures and video shots The Chef sat on a bench in the sunshine, where I joined her. Right in front of us were a young couple having a public argument, she was clearly annoyed with him. The Chef predicted they'd be going in different directions when they left, after a short time she was proved right, the end of another beautiful friendship. Soon afterwards four armed soldiers wearing battledress appeared and stood around observing what was going on. We joked that they must know something we don't and we could get caught up in crossfire between them and a group of men appearing in a Toyota 4x4 pickup truck wearing long-johns wrapped around their heads. But after about twenty minutes and a lot of posing for photographs they sauntered off.
What I did notice from the window of the bus as we left town was a newsagent selling English newspapers. I could see the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Sun. I didn't have time to read the headlines though I'm sure they will have been depressing.
This coming Sunday here in France its Mothers Day, so there are plenty of flowers and small gifts available in the shops at the moment. It's the day of the Monaco Grand Prix, just an hour away by train and it's due to be a wet day so we may well spend some of it up at the campsite covered swimming pool area.
So on arrival back at the campsite we crashed in to our chairs outside and rested after what was a day of hard work rather than pleasure. We've a few trips planned next week including St Tropez, Menton, which is one stop on the train after Monaco, a day's bike hire, and a second visit to Antibes.
Tonight's meal will just be a light sandwich or something as we're still feeling full from our artery-clogging lunch.