Acres more lycra than the winter months had exposed got an airing, the garish fabric tightly clinging on for dear life as it was bounced up and down the seafront by people old and lumpy enough to know better. Strollers took their lives in their hands, risking death from fast-approaching rollerbladers - SWISH! SWISH! - and one couple provided a cocktail of choreographed dance moves on wheels; the Riviera's own Torvill and Dean, only a bit rum and sans the ice. (Pretentious? Eux? Guess what my dog thinks...) Oh, and I spotted a Japanese tourist throwing up into a free-standing waste bin. Spring must be on its way.
On Saturday morning I met with my friend's son, Viktor, to whom I teach music. Viktor is a very bright boy, and, having asked him for last week's homework to compose a tune in D major, the result turned out to be an unwitting pastiche of Prokovief. So we talked about where the Russian came within the time scale of musical history, and the difference between 'modern' and 'contemporary' music, deciding that whilst dead musicians weren't much good at composing, they did rather excel at de-composing.
An hour was then spent by the author sitting on the beach, an act which encouraged a few shy freckles to emerge from hibernation. The beach restaurants were setting up for the pre-season season, the dogs were jumping in and out of sea (the four-legged variety, that is; the two-legged ones were too busy testing out the seams on their gossamer sports apparel), and one young couple practised their circus skills, juggling (not jiggling, yay!) amusing both children and adults alike.
But all this could be a temporary aberration; last February we had six inches of snow in central Nice, which lasted for days. Well, two days. Which is more than one day. Which is more than no days. I took a photograph of a snow plough shovelling its way along the streets of the Cote d'Azur, a sight somewhat unfamiliar to those of you dwelling perhaps in a more northerly clime, where masses of snow unfailingly falls every single year, lasting for weeks, and which surprises every single government every time it happens. Which is every single year. (Couldn't you have worked that out for yourself??? It's easy. Just take away the government you first thought of...in fact, while you're at it, take them all away. Thanks.)
Saturday evening was spent seeing The King's Speech, which has a brilliant screenplay. Only three things wrong with it: Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was portrayed as being a sympathetic and likeable character, when in reality she was more Royle family than Royal Family; Derek Jacobi's make-up and wig looked marginally less convincing than Angelina Jolie's lips; the third thing being I didn't write it.
Sunday shopping has just arrived in Nice, and yesterday, after a riotous coffee with friends (erm, it was the friends who were riotous, the coffee was reasonably sedate for coffee) I took back to a shop something not quite right, which I had bought the previous day - and paid for with cash - only to be told they would not refund me in cash, but on a card. I asked to see the manager, the manager duly came to see me. She informed me that on my receipt for the item it stated that no cash refunds would be given. I pointed out that the only way I could read this line on the receipt was at the time when it was handed to me, AFTER I'd handed over my money. She was not amused. Nor was she forthcoming with my money. French surrealism rules!
Today my French doors are open (yes, I know I live in France, what other nationality of doors could I expect to have, but they're French French doors. OK now?) The heating, which is centrally controlled, and on 24 hours a day from the middle of October, will not be turned off until probably some time in April. The sun is shining again, the sap is rising (mine levelled off at maximum a few years ago, ho hum), and the Nicois are still looking miserable.