I can add little more to Daffers review of the Colombe D’Or except to say how much I enjoyed myself and only France could create such a restaurant.
Staying with Michel, and les girls installed in his apartment we have all a better grasp of Nice than being in a hotel. Whether it’s the bakery on the corner where I get my croissants and then the kiosk to buy the Telegraph or Le Grand Balcon we have adopted as my restaurant I feel we have taken the pulse of the city.
Yesterday I volunteered to take Daffers’ Ted Baker white jacket unfortunately pranged by a bird whilst she was walking in the Rue Massena and my shirts to a dry cleaners. This proved to be a difficult task as the one identified in the main shopping thoroughfare Avenue Jean Medecin no longer existed and of others there was no sign. I was however to appreciate that the retail composition of a French high street is quite different to our own. There are far less estate agents, coffee chains and mobile shops, you do see medical laboratories that do analysis, individual cafes and more clothes shops. As I tramped around I was reminded of that wonderful Somerset Maugham story The Verger of St Peter Cross. A verger is dismissed by a new vicar as he is illiterate. Disconsolate he searches for a tobacco shop and when he cannot find one he decides to use his savings to purchase one. Further such journeys of research reveal similar absences and in time he has built up a successful chain. He decides to open a bank account but of course cannot complete the forms. The bank manager asks him what would have happened in his life if he could both read and write,to which he simply replies “I would still be the Verger of St Peters Cross.”
Aside from the absence of dry cleaners, I could only speculate whether the Internet is a threat to French retail existence. After all there are apps for laundry collection services in the UK. The French are better at protecting what they have, Uber has met stiff resistance from local cabbies for instance.
When I finally found a dry cleaners near the Place Garibadi I also encountered – and not for the first time – a negative attitude. The cleaner pulled a tremendous face and sighed when confronted by Daffers’ jacket. I urged her to have a go, after all that is what cleaners are supposed to do. Then they would not be ready until Monday “at the earliest” which I pointed out was a bank holiday. That it was a sizable order from a new customer did not seem to engage let alone impress her.
Jocelyn invited us all for tea, though I required something stronger, in his delightful flat overlooking the cathedral. He had a problem syncing his updated Windows on his laptop with his printer. I knew Polly could crack this but only by restoring the original Windows. It illustrates to me the problems of our generation that went from nowhere to Word for Windows overnight but simply had no idea how to resolve such a problem, caused by the Windows system offering an upgrade.