J and I are sitting on the terrace after dinner. ‘I think I’ll take you for lunch in the mountains tomorrow’, she says.
In an effort to stem the flood of red ink which appears on her bank statements, I said we shouldn’t bother, ‘after all darling, we’ve had a lot of vet’s bills this month’.
‘You’re right of course – we’ll do it another time’, she replies.
The following morning, I come in from cutting the lavender and notice she’s all washed and made up. “I’m off to Mandelieu with Keren. Don’t wait for me – I’ll be lunching out.’ And with that the jeep shot off down the drive.
An hour later, I remembered Kitty was supposed to be going to a friend’s house. “It’s ok’ she said, ‘mummy is taking me.’
‘I don’t think so Kitty – she’s off. I’ll have to take you on the scooter.’ (the Alfa’s puncture hasn’t been fixed yet).
‘But Thomas – it’s in Coursegoules – it’s miles up in the mountains. Your scooter will never make it.’
And so we set off, heading through Vence, up the hill past the luxurious hotel, the Chateau St Martin and then into the mountain hinterland. And Kitty was right, well almost. The poor old 102cc Honda struggled and struggled, slowing down to 40 km/h at one stage and only just overtaking some poor tourists who had obviously hired bikes and thought they’d go out for a nice ride in the country!
Once at the top (see picture – the Col, despite Kitty standing in front of the sign!) we stopped for a look at the view and to allow the Honda to cool down. It was stunning at the Col. 1000 metres high (3,300 ft). The air was fresh and there was total silence. Then off we continued to Coursegoules, a village literally stuck onto the side of a mountain and where Kitty’s schoolfriend, Mary lives. We reached the village and as we passed one of the small bistros with pavement tables, I suddenly became very hungry.
‘Fancy some lunch Kitty’, I asked. ‘Oh yes Thomas – great.’
I parked the scooter and we were just heading back to the main restaurant when Kitty’s phone rang. ‘Sorry Thomas, Mary’s waiting for me – they’re just about to serve lunch and they’ve invited me to join them’.
And that was that. There’s nothing sadder than a poor old lonely guy having lunch on his own so I got back on the Honda and headed round the mountain, still hungry, having been ‘dumped’ twice in the one day. The injustice of it all!