Driving overland to Nice

We have been planning our summer holiday – driving through France to Nice. Its never easy planning a holiday with a group of people of varying ages. To counter my stress level on this, I have been eating a lot of cakes lately. Jonny is bound to frown. He often drops in about ” putting on weight” and ” not getting fat”. I just say ” Hmmm” and take another slice!

Its The (ex) Squeeze du Jour Bake Off – Everyone a Winner!

I am not sure why ” the Ex’s” like to bake but it would appear currently that they all do. For my part I feel its men taking over women’s territory and they should stop straightaway. It is indeed another example of men trying to better women! But I don’t want to appear ungrateful and it is duly noted that I have had a lot of sweet things from Cup Cakes to Lemon Drizzle and Mandarin Upside Down Cake this week. My waistline is certainly feeling it. All very nice. NO! Better than that. All rather good and it didn’t take me more than five seconds to decide on a second helping. Yes, shame on me as I quietly undo my waistband for the second time !

Short Order Chefs are very under-rated!

Yesterday it was the turn of LM to transgress into Bread Making and a rather impressive Cob or Bloomer was sent to me. Well a photograph only. I can always rely on him to be super competitive . He wont care that the BP used to have a restaurant and does know a thing or two about cooking in a “Fanny Craddock” sort of way, he’s going to have a go. I know he is merely sending these photos over to taunt him. LM told me that should work get a bit thin on the ground here with me and the Golf Club closes again, he can always apply to be a Short Order Chef….

He likes to finish his texts to me with a line of ellipses. Once I mistook them to be code for a line of kisses but he told me rather frostily that they certainly were not kisses and removed them off the text for at least a week, just so that I didn’t get the wrong idea. How awful would that be?

This afternoon, he is currently mixing up some sausage meat to go with his second batch of rather tasty Scotch Eggs. The Scotch Eggs, he said, was an order from the local pub where he usually goes to watch Football and have Chilli, Chips and a Pint for a Tenner. He is now taking orders for “substantial” scotch eggs having advertised this on the local Facebook Group. It appears to be yet another winner, which would be just as well because currently Arsenal aren’t winning much and its putting LM in a filthy mood.

I showed this rather worthy achievement to the Book Peddler whose response was quite dry! He studied the photo and then said…. ” Risen well. Could have been a bit browner. Not bad for a first try. Messy bugger!” He also said that LM was obviously trying to usurp his own place as Johnny Craddock in the kitchen and he had better look to his laurels and so was off to cook a Veal and Egg Pie using mille feuille pastry. I advised him to keep things simple and said that I don’t think he has anything to worry about as it appears its only Johnny Cradock ( husband of the infamous Fanny) and The BP who appear to like rather over sweet Amontillado Sherry and so his Crown will remain intact.

Portugal – Excellent for Golf Courses; Sardine and Sherry.

Number Three Son says, in between mouthfuls, that we should put them all in the equivalent of Celebrity Bake Off – and have them baking cakes galore for us to eat and mark! So each time they arrive they always come with a rather delicious present. Not sure whether I would do myself more harm when we have to choose who would get kicked off, but its worth a try. I’m certainly more than impressed with this sudden turn of events, especially as when they were living with me, not one Bugger showed the slightest interest in culinary cuisine.

Hmmmm” as Jonny hates me to say. “Hmmm indeed

Thin end of the wedge

I cant remember which wedding it was. They are all, now, so long ago….. Time for the next one, methinks!

Anyway hot on the heels of Jonny saying he had thought I had gone feral whilst caravan living, I had a chance remark from the Book Peddler when he saw an old wedding photo. It doesn’t matter which wedding, I cant remember myself, but it was a wedding photo. ” I can’t believe that’s you. You didn’t look bad when you were younger” – he said – and he looked me up and down taking in my tracksuit bottoms and fluffy jumper. Another “Hmmm” moment me thinks!

The trouble is, of course, I am currently working from home and this means that there isn’t the need to dress up in heels and a dress each morning. Let alone slap the make up on. Of course its a mistake. I know that. I have it in the back of my mind to sort my clothes out and rectify it, but for now… Hmmmmm. However Pot calling Kettle black ( are we still allowed to say that?) comes to mind as I had to stop the BP doing a bit of on line shopping yesterday. He text me with a link to say he had found an amazing bargain for shoes. I followed the link and was stunned – nay – mortified to see that it was for a pair of (Men’s) Uggs. Now whatever the failings of the BP might be, you can always rely on him to turn up looking clean and presentable even when his only task is to hold the towels on the beach. Sadly, buying a pair of Uggs, however cold your feet are, just wont pass muster on any occasion. I immediately forbade him to purchase them but he told me it was too late and he had already “splashed the cash”. I couldn’t believe he would be so Essex and said that if he purchased Uggs he would not be allowed to participate on the Road Trip through France. He sulked a bit and said they had a 14 day return policy. Again, another Hmmmm moment.

The Fossils Do Europe

The trip to Hydra seems to have been forgotten and cancelled. Mary having changed Teams and shot off with Artur isn’t interested in it anymore. Her few weeks in Cyprus made up for it even if she was dispatched home pretty smartish when she upset everyone with the naked water ballet. We now have a fresh opportunity for a Group Holiday and everyone who wants to come will be invited to sign up for the French Road Trip. I’m thinking this may be just as fun and have ideas of driving down the Route Nationale in a convertible and a headscarf draped around my head stopping off at little Relais Routiers along the way whilst we cut across The Alps

I don’t know who I will have as a my co-Driver and will see how the year pans out. The way things are currently going, I am considering doing it alone.

The last road trip I did was with LM where we did a magnificent ( in my mind anyway) trip through France, over the Alps via Annecy and down to Italy, and then driving right around the Med and stopping off at beautiful towns on the Spanish border before coming back up through the middle of France. ( Phew, that was a long sentence. apologies) Agreed it was probably far too much driving for LM with his bad back in one position for far too long but I did offer to drive on various occasions. All offers though were promptly rejected. ( not sure why its an automatic and we are on a motorway! F.F.S.) It does, however, remain one of the best holidays I have ever had. I know he did feel murderous towards me at times during that Trip but I put it down to the fact that I mastered Paddle boarding in twenty minutes and even after the two hour lesson he was still sliding off the back. Competitive as always.

Its never about the winning – just the taking part

So, I thought we could all go in some vintage soft tops and make a convey and stop off having hearty and leisurely lunches in the sun and wonderful gourmet meals at night. I had mentioned this to Mr Coca Cola and he said how nice it would be to drive down through France one last time. He sees that as a bit of a local trip as ” back in the day” he got himself down through Africa to Cape Town – and then home again via India and Egypt. I had to get the map out to see how much of a circuitous journey it was but be that as it may, respect for the bloke as its seems to have been half way around the world before most of the world had roads ( well Africa anyway!)

Kathmandu in a VW Camper Van with only an Afghan Coat for warmth

He also has my utmost respect ( and envy) for driving to Kathmandu, which was something I wanted to do with Nick Glover when I was seventeen years old. I remember that because the world and his wife wanted to do it then also. Overland to Kathmandu wearing a shaggy stinky Afghan coat and living in a VW. Oh those were the days….

It’s the real thing…..( Coke is!)

Mr Coca Cola has done a lot of travelling and has made copious notes about it. I have relayed a couple of these to the Book Peddler where I thought he would enjoy them, but he remains slightly imperious about them and wont comment either way. He says why should he as he doesn’t know the bloke and so couldn’t begin to comment. He doesn’t know Jonny either but he felt brave enough to say he was a bit of a Lounge Lizard and I should be very careful in case he took advantage of me and broke my heart! Older single men who seem to exude a sort of rakish charm are best avoided, he opined . After all, why are they single? Have I asked myself that? And with that he touched his nose as if to say he knows more than he should but really cant tell ….

Jonny has mastered many techniques in seduction, including, it would appear, nipping the female’s arse

Its a shame as I don’t like anyone being parochial and the BP is starting to show signs of it. Also Mr Coca Cola wants to meet Mary. He thinks she will be a bit of a ” gal” on the road trip and even if Artur has given her the Heave Ho, Mr C C feels that all she needs is some gentle persuasion and it wont be long before she’s running on all cylinders again. I guess that’s another male euphemism!

He sees having her as his navigator will allow them time to get to know each other informally, without pressure. She wont, therefore, have to share a room with him on the first night. ( To be fair, that’s actually her response – not his) Mary said that she was far too keen with Artur and all he did was take advantage of her body and want her to mop the ceramic floors each day.

She said if she did go, and currently its a rather huge ” IF”, she didn’t want to seem too keen again because she had been with Artur and look where it had got her. No! She was going to play it cool and certainly not offer any ” extras” on the first night and possibly not the second or third either. In fact having thought about this in great detail she thinks waiting at least a week would be more appropriate especially in women of our age! She would review the situation once they crossed The Alps, when things were a little more free, easy and continental.

As I keep reminding her, at our age we cant afford to be too choosy

Returning to Mr C.C., I have been super impressed with his stories and travel. He has sold me on a wonderful island off the coast of Africa. Its called LAMU and you should check it out. It doesn’t matter that it was once a bit of a melting pot for Boko Haram, its still very beautiful. The best hotel was once the family home of some rather interesting Scandinavian family ( obvs. not the Scandis from Cyprus who seemed offended by everything Mary did...) but a rather enterprising family who converted their beachside villa into a sumptuous hotel.

Location for my next honeymoon

Mr C C has written a lovely story about it. In any event if you get the chance to go there, and don’t go in either the Monsoon or Mosquito Season, you will have a very romantic holiday. Its my number one choice currently for when I have Honeymoon Number 4. Mr C C said it was indeed a very magical island and I must be careful who I take there. He continued it was ” too special to waste on the wrong person” so I am going to choose very wisely. It has to be someone who can open up and appreciate the magic. No one who enjoys a package holiday to Magaluf should be allowed anywhere near it. Failing that I’m going to ask my mate Tarnya. Tarnya loves a good beach holiday and loves to travel. I think she will appreciate everything it has to offer! Best point of all with Tarnya is she wont whine as Mary does.

Update on Mary and Mr C C

I can see Mary was taking my comments to heart because she text me later in the evening and said did I know if trains went directly to Malvern ( Mr C C’s current location) from Brighton and if not, where would she have to change? She’s asking about the trains because currently, care of the Local Beak, she cant drive. A little bit of imbibing far too much grape on a Friday night last summer. Hey Ho…..

The Video just makes you want to drive and drive and drive. Actually it makes me rather emotional and want to cry. But that’s a story for another day. Enjoy!

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