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Drinks ploy may fail

May 28, 2012

Is that umbrella heavy? She said from the comfort of her seat at the bar. “Don’t forget to keep your back straight”. This was the comment I had to endure as I wrestled with the umbrellas to keep the sun from disturbing that nice lady decorators first glass of rose of the day. House guests the Savins had arrived and with the sun at least within sight, if not exactly over the yard-arm, the rose had been opened and hostilities commenced.

Yesterday in this column I had ventured the opinion that if the rose was not flowing by midday then I was a Dutchman and so I am happy to confirm that I am not a Dutchman. My picture today illustrates this perfectly.

The taste of summer

Several hours later, after a very pleasant lunch at Cafe Des Arcades in Valbonne Square, the first port of call for visitors from England, we all indulged in a siesta, mine taken in front of the TV watching the cricket. England versus West Indies under clear blue skies in Nottingham whilst cowering inside away from a violent thunderstorm which had begun to build up during lunch was a chastening experience. For me it is the ultimate irony that friends who were last week bemoaning winter temperatures, wind and rain when we saw them last week in Yorkshire, were confronted with rain and thunder down here in the Cote d’Azur whilst forced to watch the cricket in England on the TV played under clear blue skies and with temperatures in the high twenties. As it was today I was almost happy to be moving back to the UK. Obviously things have changed since I left and English summers are now marked out by months of sunny warm and dry weather.

Golf today (weather permitting) will be the usual gritty battle between myself and Peter Savin. It is a battle that has been ongoing for at least ten years but not all of the battle takes place on the golf course. No, there is a deeply psychological element to it which is acted out on the days and particularly the evening before the first ball is struck. There is an enormous difference between sportsmanship, where one acts honourably to ones opponent and accepts the result of the contest with openness and honesty, and most of all plays fair, and gamesmanship which is where winning is everything and almost any tactic can be brought to bear to ensure the win. I would have said that my particular forte is gamesmanship. This year however I have been out thought so far. Normally my tactics are effective if slightly transparent. Supply a great deal of wine, preferably of differing colours, ending up with a heavy red, persuade ones foe to partake generously of all three, bring out the lemoncello and then the brandy at the right moment, abstain ones self from excessive drinking and then book an impossibly early tee time the next morning to take maximum advantage of the resultant hangover.

What I had not factored in is a never before seen and steely eyed determination of my opponent not to over imbibe. This is a departure, and very disconcerting as a result. Thus as I venture out to the Grande Bastide Golf Course early this morning, well before you have read this, it is having conceded a hitherto unexpected psychological disadvantage, so strong indeed that I believe I shall not be able to report the result tomorrow due to lack of space. Regular readers will know the ominous signs of one of my specialties, selective reporting.

Selective reporting means that I can choose what I publish thus it will come as no surprise to regular followers that I recommend the services of Currencies Direct.

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