Nice. Day off.
It's a 'day off', so I spent much of the day catching up with the backlog of email and paperwork which has crept up on me, especially now that the tour communicates almost exclusively via a continual tsunami of Blackberry email. Lurking deep in this ocean of spam is the occasional email which really did require some attention but sank without trace, so I've been trawling the depths to see what life-threatening deadlines I've missed over the past few weeks.
Needless to say this was a desperately dull way to spend a sunny afternoon, so I distracted myself periodically by reading the BBC news website. I read one story about a 14 year old girl who had fallen foul of the latest youth craze of 'sexting'. This (apparently) is how the young people are entertaining themselves these days, taking provocative snaps of various body parts and sending them to each other by SMS text message. This one girl had been dating a charming young man who had threatened to dump her if she didn't join in. It would be just between the two of them, he promised, so she sent him a topless photograph of herself, which he thoughtfully published to the universe. Now everyone at school has seen them and her life is in tatters, not least because 'I can't go into pubs any more.' (At 14?).
Anyway, being a man who prides himself of being down with the kids, I thought it was important for me to experiment with this new art form, so texted Frances a shot of my saucily posed naked foot. This she ignored, so I moved on to the elbow but it was only a close up shot of my creased up navel which finally got a response. Back came a picture of some random, unidentifiable but extremely suggestive area of flesh. OK - game on.
An hour later we'd exchanged about a hundred texts and dragged half the touring party into it, until we were in possession of the definitive library of curiously disturbing pink and red abstractions. It's really fun, I'd recommend it for a quiet afternoon's entertainment.
In the evening about twenty of us ended up around the big table of a local beach restaurant watching the moon come up over the ocean and downing several jeraboams of rose. From out of nowhere, a form of 'sexting tennis' kicked off, with perverse images being sent from one end of the table to the other until we were crying with laughter. It was inane beyond words but absolutely hilarious. Do you think we've been on the road for too long?
At about 2am, Brian, Tom and I jumped into a cab to get back to Nice. It's about a half hour drive, and after about ten minutes we'd fallen into a pleasantly woozy silence, zipping up the winding coastal road of the Cote d'Azur. WHAM! The next thing we know our driver nodded out at the wheel and crashed into a palm tree. We glanced off the tree and skidded for a couple of hundred metres before pulling over and stopping. We got out of the vehicle, now conspicuously absent of a left hand side, and were all pretty stunned as you can imagine. Our driver was in a complete panic but we all seemed to be unhurt. The police arrived within minutes, I guess coincidentally, and then another cab which took us home.
It was frightening of course, but also strangely unreal because we just carried on and didn't have to see or deal with any of the aftermath. By the time we were continuing up the windy roads in the replacement cab, it just sort of felt like we'd rewound and pressed play again. Another metre to the left and we might not be here... best, I suppose, not to dwell on it. Nobody mention Grace Kelly.