Saturday, 26 February 2011


And so, having been offered a non-existent job in Nice in May 2009 (which didn't exist, funnily enough), I spent the summer residing with the Future Then Husband (don't start). And then, one morning in early September, I was lying asleep in bed minding my own business when the phone went.

It was Malcolm Wombat. You still available for work? he asked. We need someone from next Thursday. The job's yours if you want it.

It was 7.30 am.  It was a Thursday.  Was I available?  You bet I was.

Flew over the following Tuesday.  Comedic scenes at Heathrow Airport, where the nice BA lady (there IS one after all!) told me one of my cases weighed too much, whilst the other had some space.  So the Future Then Husband took charge, as men (and future then husbands) often do...neither of us had enjoyed much sleep, and it was very early in the morning.  Thus we spent ten minutes taking stuff out of the suitcase with not enough stuff in it, and putting it into the suitcase with already too much stuff in it.  

The nice BA lady had obviously dealt with this scenario before (amazing what training they give them these days), and without looking even slightly askance - as if this was an everyday occurrence, three times an hour - told us we'd f*cked it up.  Although in BA-type phraseology.  (My name's Samantha and I'll be your F*ck-Up Monitor for the duration of the check-in...)

We set to again.  Watched in fascination by an ever-growing crowd, happy that Terminal 5 was not the nightmare it had been reported as being in the worldwide press, but actually a place in which you could expect to depart for exotic climes, whilst being entertained by a couple of clowns masquerading as normal members of the public in a somewhat discreet, understated fashion.

Finally, it was time to part.  We said our goodbyes. The Future Ex, with the odd tear in his eye (did you think it was going to be a normal tear???) turned and walked away.  I watched the end of my marriage make its way to the short-stay car park, hoping the luggage farrago wouldn't mean my impending divorce was now deemed long-stay.  


Landed in Nice.  Was met by an Italian taxi driver, pre-booked on recommendation.  All I can say is I have no idea of either the Italian or French words for 'mullet'.

We took the coast road to Antibes.  This runs parallel with the beach - virtually on it in fact -  stretching west from Nice.  Antibes was the only place I had been able to find last-minute, long-ish term accommodation: a holiday-let studio in the Old Town.

Impossible to park anywhere near the apartment block, we had to transport on foot huge suitcases and a comedy violin (I'm a former professional comedy violinist, remember?) across the busy square and into the narrow lanes opposite the Carousel.  

The studio (for 'studio', read small cupboard) was on the third floor.  Up narrow, winding, very steep steps.  I'm on the shortish side for a menopausal fairy, I felt like I was training for a highly-physical mission with the French Foreign Legion; one in which it was imperative to hit your chin with your kneecaps on every step.  Hup, hup, hup, hup...  

Let's put it this way, it was where the Hunchback of Notre Dame would have lived had he hailed from Antibes instead of Paris.

I spent 5 weeks there.  Very handy if you felt like turning on the washing machine from the comfort of your bed. And all night long the lamps of the Antibes lighthouse burst into the window opposite where I lay my head....FLASH FLASH.....FLASH FLASH.....FLASH FLASH.....

The electrical supply left something to be desired (flash flash), and the cooking facilities consisted of nothing you could actually cook with. And being a building in the Old Town, the thick walls ensured there was no internet facility, or possibility of a mobile phone conversation.  

But life was about to get a sight worse.

Not feeling sorry for me yet?  Just you wait...


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