Energy costs begin to bite but I have a brilliant way of paying electricity bills. I allow myself absolutely no stress and when an email arrives threatening to cut us off I divert cash from non-essential items such as rent.
However, relatives in the UK tell me the situation is much, much worse. On Tuesday someone lit a fire outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, which are not inflammable. He was swiftly arrested and then spent a night in a relatively warm and cosy police cell, with Greggs festive bakes provided.
The culprit is in a win-win situation. Either he gets a custodial term, and stays warm at His Majesty’s Pleasure, or he’s let out quickly and can do the same thing again, in the same fashion that Stop Oil protesters block the King’s highway on a Wednesday and go back on Thursday to once again stop the traffic on the M25.
But we try to make savings. Mrs Daniels keeps warm by cuddling the dog and talking to it incessantly in very loving terms and in several languages.
“How come I am now number-two in this house?” I ask.
“Don’t be so full of yourself,” she answers instantly, in Serbo-Croat.
My spouse has a remarkable capacity to stay warm without any heating on, with only the spaniel for warmth, which has driven me onto the buses. Round and round I go, from the Office of Tourism down to Larvotto, then up to the hospital on the number 5, back down to Rocqueville, where I swap for a 2 up to Monaco Ville. I hop onto a 1, end up in Saint Roman, then onto a 4 to Fontvieille. There is extra warmth next to the engine at the back.
At Carrefour I take a break with a leisurely noisette at Maison Mullot. My head stops spinning.
Of course, I don’t tell her I’m riding the buses. I say I’m researching an article. Sometimes I get a phone call wherever I am on the great adventure that is the Monaco Bus Company. Mrs Daniels and I share a phone, to keep costs down, and it gives me an evil pleasure to answer when the caller expects the dulcet tones of my lovely wife.
However, when the police called I gave them short shrift. “The international police!? You have to be joking. If it’s about my 1998 tax returns that was all cleared up. And I’m sure I sent in my SORN when I brought the Bentley to Beausoleil,” then I realised, too late, it would probably be wiser not to mention the Continental. “Sorry mate, you’ve got the wrong guy,” and I put the phone down, or in this case pressed a red button.
When I got home my wife welcomed me.
“Oh there you are,” she said, not very sympathetically. “I thought you’d had a heart attack and then what would I do?” She has a very practical nature.
And, “by the way I found a part-time job, at the Metropole.” Obviously, she’s making advance arrangements.
“Doing what exactly?”
At least, that’s what I thought she said. On the next day I was in the number 2 descending from Jardin Exotique when our phone rang again.
“Bonjour Monsieur. I would like to speak in hemergency with Madame Daniels. This is ‘er phone, n’est-ce-pas?”
“Hand who shall I say ‘as been calling?” I tried to sound like a humble assistant with a not very good grasp of tenses. “I will be ‘ome very soon.”
“Please, Monsieur, we ‘ave an urgent job for ‘er. Please hask ‘er to call Hinterpol in Monaco. She ‘as the number.”
PS: I would like to thank all the readers who wrote in last week to welcome back Monte-Carlo Diary. It was heart-warming indeed to know that I was missed. Happy Christmas.
Monte-Carlo Diary is published in the interests of editorial diversity, and any views or opinions expressed or implied by the author are not necessarily those of the publishers
PHOTO: Not Interpol