With the noose of Covid tightening round our necks once again we decided to have lunch in Italy while it’s still possible to cross the border. We also needed a new kettle, so it was either a quick trip to Carrefour in Fontvieille – two minutes to choose the kettle and 20 minutes waiting in line to pay – or a train journey from Monaco Monte-Carlo that wouldn’t take much longer.

My wife was excited about the kettle purchase, and I went along with it because I wanted a good lunch. And we succeeded on both counts. A bar/cafe on the western end of Ventimiglia’s main shopping street had a table free at lunchtime and the patronne and her staff were welcoming and kind in a way that Italians usually are. The only downside was the 45-minute wait for the main course, but in a convivial atmosphere and with a full glass in front of us it didn’t seem half as long.

There was a warm vegetarian dish that went way beyond a few lettuce leaves and the wine was very drinkable. The cost for two was 29 euros – including a tiramisu shared between us – and the expedition rather proved the point that if you want to eat vegetarian food in Monaco the best place to go is Italy.

On that point I have to admit that one week earlier I had tasted wild pig ‘in a little place we know’ also in Italy. My rationale was that the animal had been running around feasting on acorns before it registered the gunshot and what better way to go? It was absolutely orgasmic, and for anyone who has been on a muesli diet for several years, well, what can I say?

On the way back, by train of course, gendarmes asked for everyone’s ID, which seemed very democratic and it wasn’t just people with a dark complexion who were targeted. Perhaps this increased ethnic sensitivity represents progress, but there is an election in France in little over three months time and the race may be closer than had been expected.

Back home we had a cup of tea, Yorkshire English Breakfast, of course. The Italian kettle took an age to boil, and the saying came to mind: Vale la pena aspettare se va bene… It’s worth waiting for if it’s good.

Views expressed by Jeff Daniels do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers