EDitorial ± 5-Aug-2013


We've skirted Orange, rounded Marseille, skipped Cannes and seen an overhead sign reading Nice Prom. Finally, with 950 miles clocked up in the family motor over the last two days, we arrive in our quaint Italian town. Light is fading as we collect keys from the local bar.

As we hand over our deposit, the bar owner points out that the road up to our villa is on the narrow side, whereas the Scenic isn't. Up to you, he says, though you could park in the town square and carry up your cases. Your choice. But if you do drive up, don't leave your car in the turning area or the locals will slash your tyres. Er, OK.

I'm driving and I say we do it: we don't want to lug our luggage. Turns out there are three roads leading up to our place. Imagine a three-tier marble run in reverse. Up the first slope we go. It's wide enough, just, and runs out onto a cobbled area where I do a five point turn. There, that wasn't too bad.

Second ascent has stone houses on the right and a thin railing on the left. This one's not so generous. I edge up, adjusting constantly. Ahead, there's a kink in the handrail and the stone wall juts out. I don't fancy my chances. I don't think there's room. I need to reverse.

Going forwards was easy. Going backwards less so. There's a jolt as one of the rear wheels bumps over something. Needing to correct, I slip into first and accelerate. The car protests. I rev hard and there's a nasty smell of burning rubber. That back wheel is caught behind the marbled front step of a house. A house where an irate Italian lady lives, it becomes clear. An Italian lady who comes out shouting "Avanti!" and urging me forwards, walking me up the slope to show me the way. I have no Italian. She has no English and would obviously like this particular English to get off her step. Welcome to Badalucco.

How did it work out? Well, I got back in, went back very gingerly, managed to angle past her step, and decided it was simplest to do the slope no matter what. Which, somehow, I did, breathing in and using the wing mirrors like a cat's whiskers. There followed a nine point turn at the top and some more ultra careful backing in to half a parking spot. There the car stayed, about as hot as me, while we trundled the cases up slope number three.

About 15 hours later I manned up to do the descent, missing the lady's step and directing the car to the nicely proportioned central car park in the town square.