FW: A Nice Week

Mon 14 Jul 2014 21:35
Always an odd feeling, a sort of discomfort whenever we leave Meadscroft or
Pamarzi but as we do both a lot now we will just have to get used to it.
Hire car to Liverpool airport where without too much fuss Easyjet whisked us
back to Nice and by 22.00 we were back on board sipping a nightcap in the
We had left her gleaming in the Mediterranean sunshine, just ten days later
she was covered in a red dust as fine as talcum powder, covering everything
topsides and streaking red down her sides like rust on an old tramp steamer.
Red rain was to blame and this was almost as bad as it had been in Palma
during the winter when at one point so heavy was it that Pamarzi’s decks
looked as though they were covered in red mud, reminiscent of a Devon field
. Warm southerly winds bringing dust laden air from the Sahara forced to
rise above the mountains thus depositing this inconvenience in the rain that
it brings. So after a trip to the chandlery to order an inflatable dinghy
and outboard engine on Saturday morning the rest of the day was spent
restoring our boat to its usual gleaming magnificence. It was two tired
sailors who after ten hours of cleaning were deciding on supper when Matt
Allen, skipper of D5, a seventy foot Fairline motor yacht, two berths down
the quay, who had kindly been keeping an eye on Pamarzi whilst we were in
the U.K., came over to say all had been fine and would we like to come over
to D5 in the morning for coffee and a tour of the boat. By this time our
decision about supper was made, Le Marlin it was where we were welcomed like
old friends and dined on mussels followed by confit de canard (again!) which
loses nothing in its familiarity.
Sunday morning it may be but I still take my morning exercise by walking to
the boulangerie for baguettes, croissants and some treats to go with the
coffee we shall have with Matt, Chloe and Sophia aboard D5. We enjoyed
chatting with them and our tour of the boat. Her joinery work in particular
is beautifully executed with many (convex and concave) curving, teak panels.
We also learnt that Matt’s father used to live in Hazel Grove where both our
parents at one time lived and Lynn’s mother still does. We enjoyed a walk in
to the Quartier Antiquarian where we browsed the many fascinating shops an
art deco specialist and a luthier particularly caught our attention but all
were closed and thus we avoided temptation. Back to the boat Lynn to chores
below and me back on my hands and knees to complete treating the teak
decking with a product called Pro-Deck. Expensive but it has the effect of
reducing the permeality of the teak so that water just beads off like rain
off a well-polished car.
July the 7th my 67th birthday and lovely to have so many good wishes coming
in all day by every electronic means imaginable, how did we manage before we
had all this kit? Lynn scored many ‘brownie points’ with the Kindle
Paperwhite she presented me with. Its adjustable back light will make
reading possible on long night passages without compromising night vision.
We asked Matt where the nearest Carrefore supermarket was; he not only gave
us the directions but also handed me the keys to his car. As we were about
to set off our new dinghy was delivered. It’s another Zodiac but just 2.3
metres long and although it has a slatted solid floor it can be rolled up.
So both it and the little 3.5 hp engine were stowed in the lazerette midst
all the other paraphernalia (including the two folding bicycles!) and to my
delight still leaving room for all our ten fenders. We didn’t find the
Carrefore, we did find a Lidl and purchased the basics finding as we did
what turned out to be a very acceptable blanc de blanc champagne at 9 euros
a bottle. Sitting in the cockpit that evening dining on smoked chicken and
enjoying our bargain bubbles there was a hail from the quay. It was Sophia
bearing huge wedges of delicious chocolate cake she had made for a birthday
treat. Matt joined us later for a glass and fascinated us with stories of
the uber wealthy he sees whilst skippering these floating palaces. Matt’s
current boat being really pretty modest in this league being available for
charter at an all-in price of around €60,000 a week. So a boat for those
looking to economise compared to SY Lady B a little further along the quay
at around €250,000!! Matt’s current guests have chartered her for five weeks
(again), they have a house in the hills above Nice (and three others in
different countries) oh yes and a 147ft Perini Navi sailing yacht. So
grandma just comes down with the children in the afternoons (and the two
security guards) for a sail to the next bay a couple of miles up the coast.
After boat jobs are done on Tuesday we return to the antique quarter but
they are all closed for their two (or so) hour lunch. We explored the city
further and picked up a few bits and bobs from the chandlers before
returning to the boat. Sophia and Chloe came over in the evening to view
Pamarzi, bearing homemade fudge. They are lovely girls and with Matt they
make a great team aboard D5. Rob rang to say that he and Liliane would join
us aboard Pamarzi around 23.00 on Friday. As our crossing to Corsica could
not now start until Saturday I went to the Capitainerie to arrange for
another two nights stay. They told me that nothing was available at the
moment but they would let me know otherwise we would have to vacate the
berth before 12.00 on Thursday.
The antique shops were open when we visited on Wednesday. The luthiers an
amazing place stuffed with all manner of stringed instruments, ancient and
modern from all over the world. Next the art deco shop beautiful furniture
bronzes and loads of Lalique and here we fell in love with a Janle Max Le
Verrier sculpture in patinated bronze called ‘Bacchanale’ dated 1930. “No
we mustn’t we have a boat to run” we persuaded ourselves. So back to Pamarzi
where for me it was maintenance day, first disassembling and servicing one
of the powered winches (the one at the foot of the mast). Feeling very
pleased with myself after the exercise when not only did it work but there
were no parts left over! Then on to the electrics to replace a dimmer unit
for some of the saloon lighting (there are five of them!) lurking in a
spaghetti of wiring betwixt headlining and coach roof before tackling a
software problem relating to the interface between the on board computer and
Iridium phone.
18.00 and still no word from the Capitainerie regarding our further two days
stay on our berth. Being in the mood to resolve all matters mechanical,
electrical or diplomatic and despite the fact that we were in the middle of
a thunder storm I clapped on my Tilly hat and strode forth into the deluge
for the Port office. The staff they were both friendly and polite whilst
being totally inconclusive. I marched back quietly fuming through the
downpour steam probably emanating from my Tilley hat. At 19.00 I received a
telephone call from them saying they would try to contact the yacht that had
reserved the berth and gain us two more days. We received no call back so
were left in a state of uncertainty. Next morning still nothing, one is
supposed to vacate a berth on your day of leaving before 12.00. I decided
just to brazen it out and stay put. I was working below when I heard a call
of “Pamarzeee”. On the quay a female marinier hands on hips said “The boat
eez waiting to come in, you go”. I responded “We no go, we stay (and
stretching it a bit!) last night your colleague said we okay to stay”. She
clamped her radio to her head obviously talking to the Harbour Master, who
rang a couple of minutes later insisting that we go. I held my ground
stating that it would in any event take the rest of the day to prepare the
boat to sail. He persisted I resisted – stalemate. We sauntered into the
city later that evening noticing that there were no less than seven berths
free on our quay – so what the heck was all the fuss about. Still the
uncertainty was unsettling and the prospect of being moved on in the morning
before we were ready did not fill me with bon homme. We walked into the
oldest part of the city with its picturesque buildings and narrow streets.
Great atmosphere of hustle and bustle and people having fun and amongst the
myriad of restaurants and eateries I spied one place that looked rather
interesting and unique amongst the usual glitz of neon signs and picture
menus. Only three metres or so wide its seven tables plus two on the street
were full. Nonetheless undeterred I enquired “Avez-vous un table pour deux?”
Oui the moustached, striped aproned patron stated and led us down a steep
and curving stone stairway into a candle lit vaulted cellar, where wines lay
recumbent behind a locked iron gated inner sanctum. The food choice simple
for any carnivore; meat from the animal of your choosing cooked roti, roast
or mashed potatoes and/ or ratatouille. We chose lamb and were soon facing
plates seeming to hold 1lb or so of sliced meat. The succulent spit roasted
meat was delicious, washed down with a pichet of excellent house red. Warm
bread and a bottle of water accompanied our repast. Heaving our full bellies
from this subterranean meat fest we paid our bill, €14.50 for the meat and
€8 the wine, must be the best value in Nice.
My telephone rang at 09.30 next morning and a charming female voice
enquired, “Pamarzee will you still be leaving on Saturday?” I replied in the
affirmative, smiled and continued with my croissant. Later that morning we
returned to the antique shop, yes we had given in to temptation. A final
provisioning trip to Carrefore, we found it this time, boat prepped for
departure, bill paid at the Capitainerie, a last meal at Le Marlin, we
awaited the arrival of Rob and Liliane and looked forward to the Island of

I have now discovered how to add pictures to this blog so hopefully below
some visual.

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