It is believed that by taking photos of things that make you happy (every day for 100 days) you will improve your mood, become more optimistic, and, intriguingly, receive more compliments. Does it work? Let's find out! (Or go to part 1 to start at the start).
Being ignorant of French travel norms, we went to the bus station. After queuing for a while, it was our turn.
"Good morning, sir," I said, "I should like to buy two bus tickets."
We went to the closest stop, which was the wrong stop, walked all the way back to where we started, by now leaking sweat from every pore. We found the right stop by following the deepest trail of sweat, waited for the right bus, and bought two tickets. Hooray!
After the relief had worn off, I began to fret. "What was the name of the stop again?"
Annoying. Plus the bus was jam-packed. You know those pictures of crowds on Indian trains? Imagine that.
But without the camaraderie.
Finally we arrived. When Jen told me we had to change to another bus I nearly wept. Fortunately, it came quickly. We didn't even have time to check the timetable when the doors opened. We stepped on.
Transport in France is an absolute shambles. I'm not even going to write about the trains there because just thinking about it gives me nipple warts. There are millions of French people suffering from and through that 'service' every day of their lives, a thought that makes me very happy indeed.
Still in Nice, I saw a shop I thought was funny. It was this hairdresser:
Normal hairdresser, right? Look closer.
What exactly drove this poor man to stop serving female customers? The mind boggles.
Today there was a wedding. Cecile married Nick. Cecile's a journalist and works for a newspaper in Christchurch. She asked me to write a review of the wedding, which I did. It's literally the best thing that has ever been written about weddings and I was quite chuffed to see it printed.
Look! There it is! In a real newspaper!
That's my article on the left. Now it wasn't pure, unalloyed joy I felt - I had two reservations. First, they changed the title of the piece. It was given the uninspiring title, 'It's a nice day for a French wedding.' Not only is that incredibly dull, but it also removes an important bit of information and makes parts of the article unnecessarily weird.
It should have been called 'The Case of the Insouciant Celebrant' - a title I'm sure a literate, inquisitive person such as yourself will find deliciously intriguing. When you read the article - by clicking here - you'll understand why changing the title is a crime against literature.
MOREOVER, my good friend Cecile told me that she had intervened in the editorial process when she learned that my article was to be given full-page treatment. Full page! Me! In a real newspaper! But NON. Non, non, non. "I made them change it to half a page," said Cecile, "Because I've never had a full-page article so you can't get one on your first go. That wouldn't be fair, would it?"
I left Nice after two bus trips EVEN WORSE than the ones on day 85. Joy!
For the photo of this event, here's one I took of a guy who was at the airport with us - crippled Arsenal star Olivier Giroud.
Great things about being back home - tea with milk you can trust; sleeping in your own bed; catching up with all the internet stuff you missed.
To think that I nearly didn't see this sensational image:
Don't dial 0465-8767-1724-6613, because that's the police.
As much as I enjoy pretending to be mad at Cecile, she did trust me to write the review of her wedding (a trust I spectacularly and hilariously betrayed) and she even paid me the fee she got (which I said wasn't necessary).
At the same time I was paid for editing a dissertation, and got a gig translating a corporate website from German into English (note - I don't speak German and they paid a fortune).
Three pieces of paid writing work in a month! I felt like Catherine Cookson. I earned enough to spend two weeks in Nice, or buy 32 crates of cheap beer from Aldi.
Guess which one I chose?
Compliments: "Andrew seems to be perfect." "It's still on your chin. No, the other side." "You always ruin everything."
Optimism: Coming up was a family holiday and moving apartment. Lots of stress on the horizon, but I felt quite sure everything would turn out well. So... 7 out of 10.