Sunday lunchtime. The Old Market, Nice, France. An elderly woman on a neighbouring table, explaining to her family why Brexit was inevitable:
It was never going to work with them, they refused to drive on the right side of the road.
Wednesday morning. Walking along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, I’m approached by a French woman who asks me the time.
Me: It’s 10:35
Her: Thanks. What are you listening to? (Pointing to my headphones).
Her: Which album?
Me: Abraxas (She smiles, I offer her an earpiece).
We listen to ‘Oye Como Va’. Track finished, she hands back the earpiece and we look out to sea for a couple of minutes in companionable silence.
Her: Where are you from?
Her: I’ve been to London three times. I love it.
Me: It’ll be cheaper for you to visit now.
Her: Yes. It’s very different there from here.
Her: I mean, it’s a completely different mentality.
Her: It’s an exciting place.
Her: Now, of course, it’s become exotic.
Me: Is that so?
We laugh, and walk on our separate ways. She stops, looks back and shouts…
Her: You’ll always have the Promenade!
Wednesday evening at 22:11, on Facebook, am messaged by a French friend during the Euro 2016 football semi-final between Wales and Portugal.
Him: Fucking Portugal!
Me: Excuse me?
Him: Fucking Portugal scored against Wales!
Me: Bit dramatic…
Me: Shouldn’t you be supporting an EU country?
Me: Y’know, post-Brexit vote.
Him: Fuck the EU!
Me: Really? What do you support?
Him: France and cooperation between countries.
Me: Vive la France!
Him: Vive la France et le vin et l’amour!
Me: Fair enough, seems a reasonable manifesto to me.