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Abba ration

August 24, 2012

The uninspiring and rigid more-than-my-jobs-worth attitude has finally ground me down and despite the George and Dragon at Burpham being a pretty pub with slightly above average food, I think yesterday’s lunch time visit will be my last for some time. Why employ people working in the service industry when they would be better off servicing cars? No, there could not have a larger bowl for nuts, no, we cannot get a smile, no, I cannot serve you because I am counting up something or wiping down a surface or making notes, no, there is nobody else who can serve you, no there would be no tip. Valbonne and a smile awaits.

Last night then for a sharpener at the White Hart before taking in “Abba on the Hill”. Staged outside the Kings Arms, the Abba tribute band were bereft of a couple of guys as my picture depicts.

Abba, without the two dodgy blokes

The real group had four people, this group had but the two girls. Perhaps it should have been billed as AB on the hill, or Abba go down hill?  It was good fun though and there must have been 500 people in the audience, which completely swamped the pub, so those of us desperate enough for a drink resorted to going along the road to the Eagle and bringing drinks back, including my new friend who has promised to open an account with Currencies Direct.

Today, lunch is scheduled at the Black Rabbit on the banks of the River Arun a couple of miles outside Arundel. We have new bikes and, if we did not have the stern but wonderful retired school mistress, Auntie Pam, staying I would have cycled there along the towpath. Not back you understand, oh no, that could have been dangerous. I would have sent for sprog 1 to collect man and machine, finally getting some pay back for the years of taxi service I have had to perform for him.

Let me say something about our second-hand bikes purchased from a dodgy looking garage in Littlehampton; mine is a lean mean mountain bike with go faster saddle and 21 gears. It may also have reverse. That nice lady decorator chose one with only two criteria in mind; the colour and that it must be able to support a wicker basket on the front. Style, gears, brakes were all considerations that were dismissed as unimportant, the basket was everything. This morning will no doubt be spent hunting for just the right one.

Then, as the rain threatens to sweep in we shall be sitting outside this evening witnessing The Tempest. From the weather forecast it seems likely that we will be experiencing some particularly English local special effects along the same lines. I have my umbrella and winter jacket at the ready and am just about certain they will be pressed into service.

Just two more days in England and then its back to Valbonne for some rest and recouperation. That is what I thought anyway, but it appears that man mountain Peachy Butterfield and beautiful wife Suzanne will be arriving on Tuesday so any respite will be brief or non-existent. He will probably be blue from two months of “summer” weather up north in Chester and will almost certainly be requiring large infusions of rose wine. I am sure he has been drinking the same up north, but in Valbonne you have to put ice cubes in the wine rather than waiting for them to form in the glass.

Doubtless he will be laden down with gifts from the frozen north, perhaps some mounted road kill? I wonder if he has lost any weight during the summer? Perhaps he is a little less rotund, or maybe I can use the non existent word “rotundra”. After the briefest of thaws he tundra must now already be hardening up for the long winter.

Chris France

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