FRENCH NEWS: The body of a man in his fifties found floating off Eze on Saturday morning has been identified by police, who have said that natural death or an accident have been excluded as possible causes of death…
MONACO SPORT: The track layout that will be used for the Monaco round of the Formula E Championship will be based on the last half of the Formula 1 circuit, according to autosport.com. The all-electric Formula E cars will turn sharp right after the F1 track's first corner Sainte Devote rather than climbing the Beau Rivage towards Casino Square...
MONACO SPORT: Monaco have hit out at the French Football League after they rejected a request to postpone their game against Montpellier, eatsleepsport.com reports. The club had asked the LFP for a fixture change due to their European commitments as they prepare to take on Juventus in the UEFA Champions League...
PRINCE ALBERT, PRINCESS CAROLINE, MONACO CHARITIES: One of the year’s social highlights, the Bal de la Rose, saw the Prince’s family out in force to enjoy the Art Deco theme at Monte-Carlo’s Summer Sporting on Saturday night. Princess Charlene was unable to accompany Prince Albert, since the three=month old Princess Gabriella was unwell and her mother stayed by her side...
PREMIUM - MONACO BANKING: After months of uncertainty, Coutts International, owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, is to be sold to Switzerland's Union Bancaire Privee (UBP). UBP said the purchase includes the businesses managed from Switzerland, Monaco, the Middle East, Singapore and Hong Kong, plus assets under management of over 30 billion Swiss francs ($31.02 billion)…
PREMIUM - MONACO BUSINESS: The Monaco-headquartered car parts company Mecaplast is recording better turnover all over the globe, just as its business in Fontvieille struggles. The local company is downsizing its Monaco operation, with 65 redundancies, 45 of them voluntary. while at the same time planning new plants in China, Mexico and Slovakia…
MONACO NEWS: The Monaco-based association Peace & Sport has announced that the Principality will host three important events on April 6 to raise public awareness of sport as a global tool for peace and development...
MONACO NEWS: The Professional Women’s Network Nice Cote d’Azur held the monthly round table in the Principality this week at which the guest speaker was Ms Élodie Carsalade, Chef de Projects de Communication at CCI Nice Cöte d´Azur (Chamber of Commerce)...
FRENCH NEWS: Budget airline easyJet has said it will require two crew members to be in the cockpit of its aircraft at all times. The change, effective from Friday, comes after UK airlines were told to review procedures following Tuesday's Alps crash in which 150 people died...
FRENCH NEWS: One of the two pilots of the doomed Germanwings flight that crashed in south-east France on Tuesday was locked out of the cockpit and could not get back in after leaving for a short time, possibly to use the toilet. The cockpit voice recorder picked up gently tapping at the door, followed by the pilot trying to break the door down, according to widespread reports…
MONACO NEWS: The Club for Foreign Residents of Monaco was the setting for a special symposium on bees on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Speaking at the event was author Kenneth Gordon Eade, who presented his book, Bless the Bees…
MONACO CRIME: A Nice resident who was banned from the Principality on July 7, 2009, following an appearance in court for pickpocketing at the Monaco Monte-Carlo railway station, has again faced justice, this time for breaking the exclusion order…
MONACO NEWS: The body of an elderly woman was discovered this morning in the water of the Port of Fontvielle. Maritime Police removed the body from the water at about 07:00, shortly after its discovery…
FRENCH NEWS: Shock and disbelief was the widespread response to Tuesday’s air disaster in southern France. Both Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande made plans to visit the crash site. Meanwhile, local and regional leaders made their own inspections, including Brice Robin, the Marseille prosecutor in charge of the Helene Pastor file…
MONACO ARTS: Another Jean-Christophe Maillot production is coming to Grimaldi Forum next month, and as was the case with Lac, his interpretation of Swan Lake, purists may be left wondering if anything is left of the original Shakespeare in his latest rendering, Romeo and Juliet, and more to the point, whether there is any improvement on the original…
MONACO TOURISM: A Monegasque delegation recently visited Mexico with the assistance of Atout France and met with an exceptionally warm welcome. The group was led by Guillaume Rose who was accompanied by representatives of the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo and Incentive Concept...
FRENCH NEWS: There are believed to be no survivors from the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf that went down in the French Alps earlier today. The flight took off from Barcelona’s at 8:55 local time en route to Dusseldorf in western Germany with a flight time of around two hours and ten minutes. Initial reports said a distress signal was sent by the crew at around 10:45 GMT, though this was later revised, with aviation officials saying no such signal was sent, france24.com reported...
MONACO NEWS: The Government issued a high winds warning on Tuesday morning. The attention of residents and visitors is drawn to the forecast by Météo-France for the day of Tuesday, March 24, including wind gusts that may exceed 60 kph during the afternoon. Sudden changes in wind direction are also likely...
MONACO ARTS: Villa Sauber is hosting until June 7 the second part of the exhibition "Building a collection - 10 years of acquisitions NNMM", which aims to discover the works of the heritage collection of the Museum, which so far have been little exposed. The iconic venue hosts a collection of dolls and automata by Madeleine Galéa...
PRINCE ALBERT, PRINCESS CHARLENE: British pop star Robbie Williams will be the main attraction at a July concert in Monaco to celebrate HSH Prince Albert’s decade on the throne, the Palace announced. The event on July 12 will also feature performers Lemar and Justin Caldwell in an exclusive event for the 37,000 residents of the world's second smallest state...
MONACO CHARITIES: Monaco charity Peace and Sport has launched its #WhiteCard campaign on social media to mark the second annual Internal Sporting Day in Aid of Peace, which takes place on April 6. The objective is to show solidarity with the main supporters of the idea that sport can change the world and make it a better place…
Everyone can take part, by taking a selfie or a photo of a group holding a ‘white card’ and posting it on Facebook with - “Like me, post your #WhiteCard to Play your Peace on April6 @peaceandsport #IDSDP2015 !” or on Twitter with the comment “Like me, post your #WhiteCard to Play your Peace on April6 @peaceandsport #IDSDP2015 !”
Joël Bouzou, Président and Founder of Peace and Sport, said: The sixth of April offers Peace and Sport the opportunity to become more widely known. .. More people are joining us, knowing that sport can make the difference.”
The speakers during the session on Changing Patterns of HNW Expenditure at the Global High Net Worth 2015 conference in Monaco were the head of Fraser Yachts, Roberto Giorgi, Yolande Barnes, Head of World Research at Savills, and Mark Armstrong, who heads the Monaco office of Sotheby's. Ian Brodie
Sunday, 22 March 2015 8:00
Back to Basics
The great and recently late poet Philip Levine bemoaned that poetry had become “institutionalized and neutralized” and that poets “should have turned and lived with animals”. I bemoan food in the same way. We have institutionalized our food sources and neutralized their health benefits with toxins and chemicals. And we no longer live with animals.
My farmhouse in Southern France has an original mangeoir in the kitchen where the animals grazed in centuries gone by. Friends coo over how quaint this manger is. Yet it also reminds me of a simple lifestyle that has been lost forever. What used to be a vital element of the household economy is now merely a receptacle for my gleaming inox pots and pans. Modern-day sophistication has rendered us into Marie Antoinette playing the pretty spectacle of ersatz farmhouse simplicity. And our meat comes plastic-wrapped.
Our elongated and chemically-infused food supply chain is one of our biggest 21st-century food challenges. Take salad for example. Phytonutrient-rich lettuce leaves, fresh from your organic vegetable garden have little in common with their plastic-bagged, supermarket counterparts. ‘Ready-to-eat’ bagged lettuce tends to have been covered in pesticides, then washed in chlorinated water (that’s more concentrated than your local municipal pool in order to ward off the serious risk of bacterial infections such as cryptosporidium, listeria and salmonella) and bagged, before travelling hundreds of miles to a supermarket and finally weeks later to your plate.
I miss simplicity, like I miss Levine. Luckily Monaco-based nutrition gurus Susan Tomassini and Naomi Buff have come to the rescue in promoting healthy dining across the principality. This month sees them helping various Monegasque restaurants to revolutionize their culinary approaches from food sourcing to nutrient-rich dishes.
Having flown all the way to New York to study at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Naomi Buff (a.k.a. Monaco’s queen of smoothies) is now working with chefs at the Monaco Restaurant Group (whose restaurants include Bouchon, Beef Bar, Mozza, Avenue 31 and La Saliére among others, http://www.mrg.mc) on how to maximize nutritional benefits in the food they serve. Grains such as quinoa are soaked overnight in kombu seaweed so that they sprout before cooking. You can be one of the first to taste Naomi’s gluten-free and refined-sugar-free dishes at selected MRG restaurants or you can catch one of her new workshops for yummy mummies at the Munchkins Club (www.mcmunchkinsclub.com).
Hot off the press also comes the news that knowledgeable nutritionist Susan Tomassini and her Clever Kitchen partner Melanie Gulliver have teamed up with Stars ‘N’ Bars (http://www.starsnbars.com). With Clever Kitchen-designed healthy dishes planned for Stars ‘N’ Bars’ new menu launch in April, this is the latest step in the iconic restaurant’s dramatic turnaround in bringing its menu up-to-date with healthy food trends following my December 2014 food column. With a BSc in nutrition from London’s BCNH, Susan also offers one-on-one personal consultations and online nutritional solutions (http://theclever.kitchen).
PHOTO: Naomi’s Bouchon Bowl Ingrid Parys, Monaco Restaurant Group
Louise Simpson is a food and travel writer based in Monaco. Since studying French literature at Cambridge University, Louise has written for The FT, The Times, Condé Nast and The Independent in the UK and for Zagat and Google in the US. She also publishes travel books with Frommer’s: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Louise-Simpson/e/B0034OTN6Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1373370624&sr=8-2.
I have not read such claptrap in a long while as that written recently in your publication by Professor Ben-Meir. Mr Netanyahu was simply stating that Jews would be welcomed in Israel “with open arms” in response to the well understood concerns of many Jews regarding their safety in France. He did not “call for Jews to immigrate to Israel” as he claims.
Furthermore, the professor is in denial if he thinks “Mr Netanyahu was rudely [italics added] suggesting that they [the Jews] are no longer safe in France”. If he does not know any French Jews, the French emigration statistics should tell him the story.
I would also strongly dispute his assertion that: “Netanyahu must accept the fact that the occupation is one of the main causes (but not the source) behind the recent rise of anti-Semitism.” Why so? Why is Netanyahu responsible for the bigotry in France? And why should European Jews accept the consequences for the foreign policy decisions of foreign state. We would never say that Hindus should accept the consequences of the Indian foreign policy, Buddhas of Tibetian policy, Muslims of Indonesian policy or Shintus of Japanese foreign policy. Many Jews have very little to do with Israel; they were born and raised in Europe, are European nationals and consider Europe to be their home.
Furthermore, and I hesitate to wade into this area of his commentary, “the occupation”, as he terms it, should be viewed in the context of an uneasy truce between the Palestinians and Israelis. He seems to forget that these territories are occupied as a consequence of the 1967 and 1973 wars. Unlike the Jordanians and Egyptians, who have accepted Israel’s right to exist and have settled their territorial disputes, the Syrians and Palestinians have not. Thus, like North and South Korea (nobody calls this “an occupation”), they remain at war albeit under a truce. Settle the war, then the territory.
Blaming anti-Semitism in Europe on the situation is the Middle East is simply a cop-out.
I think Kristi Prenn missed the point of Jeff Daniels' challenging opinion piece on the Paris disaster. No one, yourself included, could condone these barbaric murders nor feel that they were in anyway justified. I did not feel this was the point of the message.
As is too often the case the world was immediately influenced by an offended media who sycophantically turned this appalling tragedy into something they could portray as an attack on free speech.Thereby defending their right to continue to be offensive to whosoever they please.
Jeff is not a journalist
Sir: ‘Jeff Daniels’ is not a journalist. ‘Jeff Daniels’ is an apologist for evil.
There is no justification for the murder of innocent people, yet ‘Jeff Daniels’ seeks to justify the appalling murders of fellow human beings, to insinuate that the satirists deserved to be murdered because their work was offensive to Muslims (and himself) and that Charlie Hebdo was anti-Muslim. ‘Jeff Daniels’ mocks the gatherings across France and the world who united in Je suis Charlie marches to mourn for and to declare their abhorrence of the murders of innocent people, killed for being journalists or in the case of the Vincennes deli, for being Jews.
This article is crass and repulsive nonsense. It is wickedness justifying itself with pretentious pomposity and seeming piousness.
JE SUIS CHARLIE
'Breath of fresh air'
Thank you for publishing Louise Simpson's review of Monaco restaurants. It was about time that someone drew attention to the lousy service and inadequate food in our little village. Free and independent press is a breath of fresh air for us Monaco residents, whose usual source of local information is what passes for journalism in Monaco Matin. I see the very outrage over Ms Simpson's column to be a direct result of our lack of exposure to honest criticism in Monegasque media.
There are some harsh words in Ms Simpson's article but they are based on facts that we all recognise and are no worse than what Monaco residents discuss in private. They will hopefully inspire these establishments to make some changes. I look forward to reading about her day in the kitchen of Stars'N'Bars, and sincerely hope that its management will take the opportunity to listen to her suggestions. I, for one, would welcome variety in starters and salads, which have remained virtually unchanged at least in the past 15 years that I have been living in Monaco.
It is so refreshing to read local Louise Simpson's honest review of restaurants in Monaco. TripAdvisor is a place I often turn to to get a general idea of restaurants, but this is the first time I have ever read an honest review by a local, which provides a completely different perspective for those of us living in the Principality.
It seems to have inspired a great deal of discussion, which is precisely the point of a quality review: to inspire people, or perhaps discourage them yes, but first and foremost to provide a personal perspective, to which everyone is entitled. Thank you so much for sharing. Bravo.
Lisa af Rosenborg
I was impressed to see Stars n’ Bars’ response to the “Kitchen Nightmares” column - an invitation to spend the day in the kitchen and see how food is prepared – great reply! I look forward to the follow-up article on Stars n’ Bars…
Tracy Rohan, Monaco
ACM is a private club
I would like to add a comment -so far not addressed- about Monaco’s Automobile Club of which I have been a member for many years. If we are going to “name and shame” maybe we should ask ourselves by what right we are doing so. The clue is in the name: the Automobile Club.
Apart from the excellent food (try getting kidneys like that elsewhere in Monaco, and yes they have cream with them if you ask nicely) and what must be the most sublimely best group of waiters on the Riviera (many of whom have been there for years), a piano bar with music you might want to listen to (and I am a Rock fan so they must be doing something right), there is its best feature: their wine list.
Small but perfectly formed, you can buy a great Burgundy, or a Bordeaux if you must, without having to sell your Ferrari to afford it, indeed for less than a poor wine from the Languedoc sold in some other places in Monaco. It is the rip off in wine prices in some restaurants which beats me; I won’t pay them. But you can afford to have a great bottle of wine at the Automobile Club. People who have lived in Monaco for a long time know these things. The Automobile Club is, all round, the best thing we have got in terms of a dinner out.
I suppose if you are not a member and you are lucky enough to get invited to eat at the Club by a member you will not know this.
But to visit what is a Private Club you have to be a member or accompanied by a member to go there. The members of the Automobile Club would prefer to mix with people who appreciate the Club. Who invites a restaurant critic to a Private Club, and for what reason does a restaurant critic consider she should comment on anything in this private space? This is not a restaurant open to the public. Did the management of the Club invite her to make comments? I think we should be told why a member of the public is opining on our Private Club’s restaurant.
It is solely a matter for the members to judge what they think of their Club restaurant which, incidentally, is about a lot more than the food on your plate. If a member has any comment to make about his Club he will take it up with the Committee, not a news service. For these reasons might I suggest we ignore what the Club’s critic says, about anything, and give the Club back to its members’ views for it is nobody else’s place to opine.
Yours faithfully, William Easun
Overpriced and unwelcoming
I cannot agree more with Louise Simpson, perhaps not with all her criticism of each restaurant but the way she described the overpriced restaurants like Saliere, Avenue 31, makes sense. I can even add the Beefbar where they practise the same attitude.
It is a disgrace the way you are treated in Saliere, you do not even get a proper bill, in the evening they treat you as a tourist, so neglected and not taken seriously. During dinner in the Beefbar they wait as long as possible with the advertised menu in order to force you to the ridiculously priced standard menu.
It is good there are other restaurants like Le Bouchon and Mozza, where they understand the word "guest", joined with reasonably priced menus and daily-changing specialities, this at least avoids us driving to Italy on a weekly basis to enjoy good food and normal prices.
Further to Annette Anderson’s (of Stars N’ Bars) letter to you published (below) in Monaco Life, may I also express my disagreement with Louise Simpson’s comments on certain restaurants.
Stars N’ Bars serves Tex-Mex food and does it well, Tex-Mex is never going to be a gastronomic delight but the produce is fresh and the service is generally far better than most ‘high class” establishments. There is no guilt to be attached to serving good hamburgers made with real beef, fast food enterprises have hi-jacked the hamburger and given it a bad name. The ones served at Stars N’ Bars are the best I have tasted anywhere over the last 30 years or so.
I consider the Monte Carlo Country Club restaurant to be one of the best in Monaco for quality/value for money with a limited but well balanced menu, again with fresh produce very well cooked and presented. Every meal I have had there has been a delight.
The Automobile Club is also a top rate and reasonably priced restaurant.
I agree with Ms Simpson that restaurants in Monaco are generally overpriced and at best mediocre with the service often very poor but I also agree with Ms Anderson that this looks like “clever text for the sake of being published”.
Rents are very high in Monaco which explains the prices but there is no excuse for failings in produce, cuisine and service.
Perhaps Ms Simpson should turn her attention to the so called ‘top” restaurants which are really a disgrace and reflect badly on the Principality.
We do not know when Louise Simpson last ate at the Automobile Club but her account certainly bears no resemblance to our own experiences. As members of many years’ standing, we lunch and dine there frequently and find the daily-changing menus and ingredients to be of the highest quality whilst, at the same time, tasty and healthy. There is even a “menu allegé” every day, to which cream and other less than healthy “70s” products are most definitely strangers! The salade d’haricots verts and chicken breast, followed by grilled salmon with leeks last Friday were outstanding examples of Chef Olivier Ribaute’s extremely attractive and consistent cuisine which never fails to please and impress – please take a new look, Louise!
Vivienne H Taylor and Richard Hale, Monaco
Criticism 'not valid'
We were disappointed to read your "Monaco Foodie" remarks about our restaurant and the "tasteless freezer to microwave tat". We try to be open to valid criticism ....we certainly are not perfect....and we act on it. In fact we give customers a card with a direct link to Trip Advisor to "grade" their meal and give us feedback. But, we have to admit, it's soul- killing to see food "critics" who enjoy writing clever text for the sake of being "published".
Our cooks arrive at 7 a.m each day and prepare freshly delivered vegetables, meats and ingredients to create about 500 meals during a non stop food service of 12 hours. (Yes, we are guilty of serving burgers but the meat is 100% organic. ). Has your Monaco Foodie actually ever been in a kitchen? Probably not, but we would like to invite her to spend a day with the cooks that she has so thoughtlessly belittled. Heck, we'll even share our recipes with you, Louise. You can roll the chicken filet in the flour, bread crumbs and egg wash to make our chicken fingers.
We are very sorry that Miss Simpson dislikes the restaurant but we do thank the thousands of regular customers, especially the families, who often come daily and who have supported us for more than 20 years. (The editor of this newsletter, MonacoToday, in fact, and his family are customers.). Sorry to take this personally but I know the people who work hard everyday to serve our customers and they deserve a more professional review.
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FOR RENT: Furnished apartment Beaulieu. 1 bedroom, sea view, long term. Fully furnished 1 bedroom apartment in Beaulieu, quiet and safe. Kitchen with gas hob and oven, microwave, washing machine. Bathroom with bath and shower, separate wc. Renovated. Big balcony with panoramic view, close to shops. 6 minutes walk to train station or buses for Monaco. Top floor, lift and cellar. Videophone. 1060 pm incl. consumables. Photos available. Sms to 0670103755.
FURNITURE: Moving apartments. Must sell- Lovely furniture items, excellent shape, including Italian design couch, for quick sale, now only €1200; Danish design desk, asking now only €500; special French chest of drawers, asking now only €1450. High end loudspeakers, Avance Signature 8 Mk2, only €800. Will consider all reasonable offers as we must sell. For full information, including photos, and additional description, please contact email@example.com.
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BRITISH ASSOCIATION: The next BAM 'Happy Hour' is on Thursday March 26 at the Regina Café, Boulevard des Moulin, Monaco. On Tuesday March 31, author Francelle Bradford White, is coming over from the UK to talk about her new book ‘Andrée’s War’ at St Paul’s Church Library starting at 7pm. The book a true story of bravery and courage in occupied Paris. Andrée Griotteray was only nineteen years old when the Germans invaded France. During the four years of Occupation she transformed from a teenager in search of fun and frivolity into a capable, fearless young woman, risking her life in service to her county and the Resistance. Always modest about her actions during the war, Andrée was decorated by the French Government for her bravery. Now her moving and courageous story is brought vividly to life, told for the first time by her own daughter. There will be a book signing at the end of the talk. £10 from each book sold goes to the Alzheimer’s Society. Price for members €10 and for non-members €15. To book: www.bam-monaco.org for a booking form or email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘ANDY WARHOL: The exhibition “Andy Warhol” continues at the Galerie Adriano Ribolzi (Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 - 12:00 and 15:00 until 18:00). See also display ad at www.monacolife.net
Chamber Music: Monaco’s Chamber Music Association at St. Paul’s Church, on March 24 at 20:00. Pauline Litvin will perform together with Polish pianist Andrzej Tatarski. On the programme will be Mozart, Brahms, and Polancz. The Monaco Chamber Music Association’s concerts are sponsored by the Giraudi Group, known for its restaurants in Monaco that include Beef Bar, Avenue 31, and Bouchon, by Egor Boyarkin and Mrs Boyarkin, and by Monaco Life. More info: www.musique-de-chambre.org or 06 43 91 67 43.
Princess Grace Irish Library: Tuesday April 21, at 19:30. Why did the Irish experience of emigration, so prevalent in the post war period, feature so rarely in the literature of the time? A Talk and Readings from ‘Home from England’ by James Ryan. The Ireland Fund of Monaco Academic-in-Residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library from 20 April to 15 May 2015, Director of the Creative Writing Programme, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin. Info and reservations: email@example.com
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DRUNK DRIVER:WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 - A Monegasque motorcyclist had a hard landing when he fell off his scooter at the junction of ave. du Roqueville and blvd. Princesse Charlotte last week. Two passing police officers who helped him to his feet then breath-tested the 45 year-old eimployee of SBM and found him to have 1.11mg/l of alcohol in his blood, almost three times the legal limit. He was sentenced to two months suspended, fined 45 euros and three years probation with the obligation of treatment for alcoholism.
Sunday, March 1
A tale of half a pizza
It’s been a very busy week, and most of the time I’ve had a banana for lunch. But I do remember leaving half a pizza in the fridge. News of the killing of Boris Nemtsov put me off my food altogether, not because of its shock value but because it confirms everything I know and suspect about Vladimir Putin, and for those readers who might be tempted to pick up their quills and ask “what has this got to do with Monaco?" let me say that if matters get very much worse Europe could soon be little more than radioactive dust, including what's left of dear old Monte-Carlo and even Fontvieille.
Now the Brits are taking notice. After the annexation of Crimea and the stealthy invasion of eastern Ukraine they started by refusing to go to the Bolshoi Ballet, believing that this outright show of disapproval might force a change of mind in the Kremlin.
The Hansel and Gretel of European diplomacy have also been horribly naive, as if peace talks in Minsk or anywhere else would make any real difference. The Germans can be excused, perhaps, for being a little bit shy about saying anything at all about the affairs of another country following the unpleasantness of 1939-1945, while Hollande follows big sister.
But I had hoped for more from the Brits. A couple of weeks ago someone in Whitehall said that the UK had been caught napping by the Kremlin because of a lack of qualified foreign policy analysts while another idiot said this was because of a lack of money. Such a claim beggars belief and drives me to the use of an exclamation mark!
Anyone who has spent more than two weeks east of the Elbe knows more about Russian history than Dave old-Etonian Cameron, and if the British government needs a think-tank to tell it what’s going on this is a very sad and a very serious condemnation of the knowledge, wits and understanding of the men and women who supposedly lead what was once a great nation.
My half-pizza has disappeared. Either I ate it or it left the fridge of its own accord.
The Jeff Daniels column is published in the interests of editorial diversity, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the publishers.
SATURDAY, JUNE 21: There will always be tensions when a large crowd of people are crammed into small spaces, especially when they take an instant dislike to each other or harbour long-term differences. I am not talking about the long-running opening ceremony of the splendid new Monaco Yacht Club attended by le tout Monaco - a splendid affair - but the lingering impact of the lengthy and tedious French rail strike.
Tasked with taking my youngest son to Nice for a Saturday rendez-vous with a schoolmate, I squeezed with him onto the 16:43 from Monaco - delayed for 18 minutes in Menton while the frazzled French border police sifted out the usual suspects, young Somalian males who, having crossed the inhospitable Sahara, are trying in considerable numbers to make their way to the economic paradise that is France. Or possibly the UK.
Most people were eminently sensible and moved down the train to occupy every available space to allow yet more frazzled and luggage-laden bemused first-and-last-time tourists onto the only TER regional express to visit Monaco for the previous three hours.
Someone sitting down said something to me. I assumed he was offering me a space to sit. I bent down to hear better. Translated from the French, what he said was: “Can you get your arse out of my face!”
To say I was astonished hardly covers it. A number of responses flashed through my hot head: “I am surprised you are bothered about my arse, since it resembles so closely your face,” was the most polite. I wanted physically to strangle him, and since I was standing up and he was sitting down I sure as hell had a good shot at it.
My nine year-old restrained me. “He’s an idiot Dad, don’t take any notice,” he said in a French that can only be described as impeccable. At the next available jolt in the tracks he managed to more or less fall onto the idiot’s mobile phone he was holding high in the air while playing what looked like patience, and make it look like an accident.
You can mess with me, but you can’t mess with Max.