I should probably run all these entries together, as time is ticking on and the amount of things I have to do are growing hourly. So I shall say that I spent the morning of my last Friday in Nice practicing my French with the other old fogeys who go for a big swim every morning. It’s a bit strange that the only conversations I have are all conducted when we are all mostly naked and up to our waists in extremely murky water, but c’est la vie, I suppose. Given that the older people get, the fewer inhibitions they seem to have about going topless, it might be for the best; I was half the age of everyone else and the only one in a bikini top. But I am Scottish, and I want to live!
I spent the rest of the day finishing up that picture of that alleyway in Grasse, which the plan was to rip out in one day; two at the most. Ahahaha. Also, damn you, A3 paper.
At the time, I was so delighted just to have finished it, too.
By this point, the weather had turned surprisingly cold, or I had gotten surprisingly tanked, one of the two; the Bossman is no sort of weathervane, being too hot at all times (not a euphemism, although I will obviously say that he is very hot indeed) and I am too cold at almost all times when not actively dangled above a volcano. So we had a heated (ba dum tish!) argument about who was wrong about the temperature, which I feel I won by pointing out that all the locals were suddenly sporting winter coats. Unsurprisingly, the Bossman does not feel the same way at all.
We spent the evening frantically scouring the internet for something he would enjoy doing at the weekend, and when that failed, we cyberstalked each other. If this relationship succeeds at all, it will be because we are both easily amused.
On Saturday… we ended up in Italy. Mainly because the Bossman was incensed by what he sees as the poor quality of French breakfasts and had Had Enough (for me? Croissants and brie are the breakfast of champignons!) Well, okay, we actually found some pizza slices in Nice, and had decided to attempt to make it to Turin; alas, after hours of driving the picturesque peage (with me hanging out the window, attempting to make every terracotta house on every nub of seaside hill count), we got word that the most ferocious traffic jam was up ahead, so we took the next turning and ended up in an eerily deserted seaside resort just over the border. Seriously, the second we turned up, everybody vanished.
A rather nervous reccie along the beach eventually brought a sign informing us we were in ‘La Ligura Finale’, which sounded suspiciously like something that might translate as ‘the last twist of the noose’. Unfortunately, I had been reading a Cracked.com article the night before, which told me in detail about ‘six handy ways to surmise the townsfolk are about to rise against one’ and this place was fulfilling at least three of them right now. The Bossman assured me that tourist season had just hit a definitive End, and it was siesta. This is the sort of thing people keep assuring each other in horror films right up until they meet a definitive End too, so I was not reassured.
But eventually we did find a place which would do him sausage and chips.
On the way home, we ran into a less ferocious, but still bloody awful, traffic jam and I am amazed at the Bossman’s patience, for my efforts to keep his spirits up were probably worthy of being murdered instead, and we were usually right next to a sheer drop of hundreds of feet. In fact, prior to the traffic jam, we came speeding out of a tunnel through the living rock, only to be faced with a split-second decision about which lane to take – for there were several, all single-lane, with fences along both sides, curling off every which way like spaghetti in a frenzy, and all on several-hundred-feet concrete stilts. I was convinced we’d barrel along our chosen hairpin, only to meet a vehicle ploughing along the other way and we’d all go over the edge and die. I am never driving here.
The Bossman didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
(Also I have to point out that he was doing a very sedate speed at the time, but frankly, at that height, there is no speed that is reassuring.)
I felt really bad that he had spent all day stuck in traffic, and couldn’t even enjoy the
stomach-churning epiphany-inducing scenery. So we went out for dinner and had cocktails and all the trimmings and it was great. Even better than the food was the company – we were in the part of the restaurant where, though there was a roof, you could smoke, and this attracted the sort of people who chainsmoke. My favourite was a woman at the next table, who looked almost exactly like Sharon Stone, and had a similar sort of expression. (Oh, you know the one. The Unimpressed one.) She sat on a low chair, elbows akimbo, and chainsmoked her way through an entire bottle of wine, several digestifs and some downright evil-looking coffees, entirely ignoring her sons, who amused themselves by pretending to glass each other with the ketchup bottle. (Although this might have been our fault, we had been doing something similar just moments before, while waiting for our cocktails). The Bossman said this was because there is nothing to do in Nice, and if he was bored, kids certainly were. Sharon Stone did indeed have an air of, ‘oh, just knock yourselves out, screw it. Screw everything! Also, more martinis.’
On Sunday, the Bossman finally got to see the park. I don’t know if he loved it as much as I had hoped he would, however. Certainly the Jurassic Park birds stayed away from him.
And then just like that, it was over and we had to catch many planes home.
Which did not happen just like that, of course. While I was rather surprised that we managed to keep up a running battle for the entire forty minutes it took to traverse Brussels airport, and nobody at all even attempted to stop us, I was even more surprised when the reason our connection was horribly delayed was because some idiot (in the queue next to us) had managed to pack his passport into his hold luggage and they had to halt the flight and pull everything off so he could get it out again.
Of course he ended up in the seat right next to me. And I might have been able to forgive him – because these things do happen, and I have so far found nothing, including perpetual vigilance, that stops me being an idiot at times – if he hadn’t been appallingly rude to both the air hostess and to me – kept demanding that I tell the Bossman (who had a seat that was both window and aisle, across the aisle from us) to change places with him. Matters were not helped by the Bossman asking me if ‘that idiot German guy’ had managed to get aboard after all; actually, he might have gotten away with that, but I hissed back, ‘hush, he is right next to me‘, at which point I think the guy at least twigged and shut up too.
Turns out he was from Israel, oops.
I would have been a lot angrier with the chap if I’d realised how badly he’d bollixed my transport plans – but I didn’t realise until we were in the cab and the Bossman said I would have to stop over at his. ‘Ha ha,’ I said, ‘I am going home and doing the laundry, for in two days’ time I am off to the Lakes with my chestnut-haired old mother and will have nothing dry, otherwise.’
‘But the fireworks are on’, said the Bossman. (And? So?)
So they are being set off on the traintracks, it turns out. Right at this very minute, because we are now nearly three hours late touching down. And afterwards there is only ONE train, and while there may be busses, there is also a mob of roughly every tourist in Scotland gathered in Edinburgh city centre at the moment, and here’s me with a wheely suitcase to fight through it all in the hope that I might score a bus.
‘Balls, I will be commuting to work from Leith tomorrow then’, I said sorrowfully. ‘That’ll be a five o’clock start.’
But at least the Bossman let me do my laundry at his, and he has a dryer function.