THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Preparing to move on
Autoroute du Soleil


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Monsieur D., with whom I lunched in Antibes last Sunday, lives in Bandol near Toulon. Yesterday I left the home in Cannes of my Polish friends and drove here to stay with him. It was the shortest drive of the trip and passed uneventfully. Having parked Nira at our home for the next few days, we set off in his car with his chocolate Labrador (one of the friendliest and calmest dogs I've ever met) for a quick tour of the town, a walk on the beach and a coffee by the sea.

Ring finger - 1He's engaged in a big deal at the moment and spent a lot of time talking and texting. So I checked my email at the café and read a notification from the Family Court that had arrived while I was driving. My divorce from Mrs PII was final. I confess it was a sad moment. I took off my wedding ring and sent her a photo of it on the café table alongside my finger, marked by its absence. My caption said "Now we are exes" and she replied "and friends." I guess that's about as well as a divorce can go. Still, I was glad to be with a friend when the news came through. His presence (and my male pride) kept me stoic.

In between his afternoon business calls and over our evening bouillabaisse in a local restaurant where he's a regular, we talked about business, our industry and our lives. We discussed his own – far worse – experiences with two divorces. He has a court hearing today about custody in the aftermath of the latest one so it's still fresh – and bitter. He received a couple of calls and a stream of texts yesterday from his ex. It was a reminder that things could have been far worse for me.

More entertainingly, we discussed the relative merits of his current girlfriends, one of whom (bless his optimism) he thinks might be "the one". If that makes him sound naive, that's misleading. His approach was rational, practical and entirely devoid of romanticism. In my life, I have had such discussions about which car I might buy next, discussing their relative merits and how they might suit me, but never about women. I remember worrying endlessly before each of my marriages whether I could make my wives happy. I never asked what was in it for me. Like some dumb teenager in a pop song, I just fell thoughtlessly in love. Everything else (in truth, most important parts of my life) I trusted stupidly (or, let's be kind, romantically) to "fate."

My friend's ruthlessly evaluative French approach has still led him twice into trouble and strife so God knows what hell awaits if ever I trust my naive lack of judgement again! I wish him (and all my friends) well in the quest for a perfect relationship,  but I am setting myself the simpler task of learning to live happily alone. To know your limitations is, after all, the beginning of wisdom.

While he's in court today, I shall take the opportunity to catch up with neglected commitments elsewhere. I shall rest quietly in his home in preparation for another un-but-should-be accustomed walk with his dog later.

Percentage of days on tour involving a rescue is now down to 27%.


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The problem with modern technology is that there is always the temtation to catch up with what is going on back home rather then escape from every day life.

Holidays (for me) mean escaping and relaxing from every day life. I will return home refreshed to deal with my every day situations.

I hope you are able to reconcile your feelings with regards to your recent divorce.


27% is disappointingly low. Your readers deserve more.


It is lovely to be able to read about your adventures. And now that you mentioned a chocolate labrador... I hope you will have a photo and a lil story about it later, please. Being a dog lover, I am sure other readers might love reading about it. :)

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