Some time before 9 a.m. we loose off our mooring ropes and head for the open sea. We have a long passage ahead; our aim is to tie up at Villefranche-sur-mer by 5 p.m.
This time we decide not to risk cutting the engine whilst at sea for lunch. In any event the sea is not inviting us to swim and it is overcast. Fefe and I sit at the little tables in the cockpit as the men monitor the boat’s progress on autopilot.
Passing Monaco some time around lunch time we have a bread, butter and ham moment. Occasionally speed boats race past us much to quickly throwing up a bow wave which causes ‘Till’ to lurch violently. The Tailles do not have a Derrick-style procedure for readying the vessel for sea by battening down hatches and securing or stowing loose items in the galley so stuff clatters around.
The journey passes for me with a combination of audio-book, paperback and BridgeBaron. Without an internet connection I can only wonder what is unfolding after the Leave vote.
Once at Villefranche Nick and I go to the cobbly beach nearby for a swim. Then, connected to the Marina WiFi we check our mail, Facebook and look at the BBC news. Francois has gone up to the shopping centre to get some supplies and when we meet up with Fefe she tells us Francois is angry. ??!!! Actually she means hungry and it is proposed to eat at the little restaurant in the marina. A good move as I am able to order beignets of calamari – a real comfort food.
The following day I am still brooding over the Referendum results. Nick and I take a swim at the cobbly beach, followed by a good shower in the Marina’s facilities. Afterwards the men make another victualing sortie and Fefe invites me to join her for a little walk into town to look at the Chapelle Saint-Pierre Villefranche-sur-mer which is tucked down near the quay frontage where all the little bars and restaurants are.
The chapel was probably built not long after Villefranche was founded, in 1295. It is famous now for its association with Jean Cocteau who took part in a renovation project which started on June 5th 1956. Inside the walls are decorated with frescoes, two series of panels depicting some episodes from the life of St Peter and the whole vault represents a homage to the fishermen of Villefranche.
Cocteau made the drawings and these were projected onto the walls and vault with transmitted light. Cocteau decided on the design and his assistants fixed the lines with paints and colour. The overall effect is monochrome embellished with washed-out dawn-like colours. Cocteau wanted no vulgarity in his colour scheme. I really loved this little chapel and took Nick back to see it later on in the afternoon.
In the evening we are delighted to meet up with Nick’s long-standing friend, John, who is a resident in Monaco. John drives over in his vintage Aston Martin and he is a welcome contribution to our hitherto somewhat cloistered life on ‘Till’. We meet at the little restaurant in the marina, Le Cockpit, and the mealtime chat takes us beyond the immediate aspects of shared living on a small boat. It is characteristic of John that he does not immediately plunge into a discussion of the EU vote and the fall-out. But we turn to it half way through the evening. He can be fairly detached from it, as a Brit without a vote, but I wonder if he has a sense of how it might affect his two children.
Fefe is animated by the evening but on several occasions I catch Francois looking somewhat reserved when Nick and John chat to each other in English. But it is really good to catch up with John and when the evening comes to an end Nick and I walk him back to his car to view his wheels and Nick earns himself a short spin back to the marina and I walk the little path back and enjoy the stillness of the calm night and the view across the bay.