Sunday, 19 May 2013


Back in the day, 1969 to be precise, there was a 'wacky' road race of a movie of this name starring Tony Curtis, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

I've been to Monte Carlo many times - a fake little fantasy of a place where all is pure and pristine - but I've never been to St. Tropez and that's where I'm headed next Wednesday.

'Lucky beach!' I hear you cry but I am, in fact, dreading it.

Sadly, it's a mercy mission to visit my dear old friend, sometime boss and writing mentor, Dominique Lapierre, prolific author of such tomes as Is Paris Burning? The City of Joy and notably...or I'll Dress you in Mourning from which sprang the inspiration for my first novel Blood on the Sand

(For those who may not know, the redoubtable matador Manuel Benitez, El Cordobes, was the subject matter - and I, in turn, the object of one of his well-aimed sword thrusts... for fuller details, download Blood on the Sand on any e-reader!)

So ... how could one dread a trip to St. Tropez? Simply because my dear Dominique, now 82, suffered a serious crack to the head in a fall last year and is no longer the man he used to be. I have been asked to bring along any photos and recall any stories of what we shared to help trigger his memory's return to full health. No problem there. 

I am eager to help his recovery in any way I can and give his lovely wife a break.  I am happy to shop, cook, chatter and cajole, but I understand he sleeps much of the day but is awake much of the night... This could be harder to deal with...if I don't get my seven + hours, Gawd help us all!

There will be many firsts on this trip:  my first time from Stansted (an airport from where I swore I'd never travel!)  My first journey by Ryanair (an airline on which I swore I'd never fly!) and my first time in St. Tropez. 

I'm trusting it all goes smoothly.  Having written this, I feel a little more positive.  How bad could it be?  The sun might be shining... I'm only staying four nights... and there are other friends nearby who may have a yacht...