I have been thinking about going on holiday, and as I have been full Pfizered it’s no longer a pipe dream. I love France. The smell is always the same when I land in Nice, that thick humidity, sea salt and hot tarmac, not exactly a scented candle but its familiarity is comforting. The 90-minute drive to Bargemon where we stay hasn’t changed for several hundred years, which is heaven.
To go there one needs to be prepared and during moments of work lull – which, when you delegate enough, can happen for an editor – I find myself perusing what is on offer on The Rake’s sale. I must think about the daily routine and what is required, both active and passive. The morning stroll to the bakery just as the sun rises so the air is cool but the bread is warm, the meat for the day at the grumpy butcher’s boucherie, collecting the absolutely unbeatably delicious water from the natural spring. The day spent communing round the pool, maybe a cigar, probably some work too. If work is quiet, a swim and a nap, the sun is fierce as the coastal air doesn’t quite reach the hills. Lunch of sliced tomatoes, pâté and brebis (sheep’s) cheese, another swim. If I read something it won’t be a tablet and will probably be in the shade – factor 50 is my friend but I am rather boringly susceptible to burning. Then a barbecue and drinks on the terrace with another cigar and the novelty of stars and absolute silence in the night. But as I say, preparation is key for such hardship. These are the items that have made my shortlist: