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Pub to the rescue

September 20, 2012

“The chimney is talking to me.” So said that nice lady decorator after we had returned from lunch with Clive “on yes he is” Panto. At this stage, after a long lunch, and a visit to two pubs for very early doors on the way back, she had become tucked into my hoard of St Emilion Grand Cru. This is disaster which befalls me on occasions. She is normally content with a vacuous white wine like Pinot Grigio, or Prosecco but occasionally she exercises her taste buds, usually when I have opened something decent.

Perhaps that was the reason she decided to have a conversation with the chimney? I asked innocently if the chimney was listening or what it had to say? But coherence had deserted her. She is justifiably very pleased with herself for her decision to remove a hideous modern construction which had been built as she had guessed correctly to hide a lovely original 15th (?) century inglenook fireplace at our house in Arundel. So pleased that in her cups she felt that the chimney and fireplace were very happy with her. I formed the opinion that part of her brain had frazzled and gone up in smoke, up the chimney.

Lunch was, as I had predicted in this column, the usual culinary catastrophe when left in the hands of Mr Panto. Dear friend that he is, he is to cooking what Jeremy Paxman is to flower arranging, unsuitable. This is really a bit of a surprise because he is so good at eating it, a fact amply illustrated by his rotund shape.

For some time, before arriving back from the tennis, the idea that we might go and have lunch at a pub seemed to have some traction, but once Clive had thrown his hissy fit and pronounced that all pubs in the area served shit food, and refused to go to one, he proceeded to emulate them by all by a factor of 10 producing food of an even lower standard than any pub in any area. Burgers and sausages do not, in my opinion a quality meal make but he professed himself content.

My picture today was taken from the terrace of The George and Dragon at Houghton just outside Arundel where we had stopped for some light refreshment and in search of real food on the way home.

Sussex countryside obscured by two late aftenoon pints

Tennis was the normal triumph for one often too modest person. If there is one thing Clive Panto hates, it is losing to me at anything. A trained barrister turned comedian and entertainer, he has been very eloquent about my first book but not in terns that I have enjoyed. Thus towin all 3 sets in various formations was very satisfying. He even miscalculated after losing the first two sets against me, by becoming my partner as we split up the weaker players for a final set. He relapsed too late that either I would be the only one of the 4 who could claim to have won all 3 sets, as transpired, or he would be the only player to lose all 3 sets. Very satisfying and so unlike the lunch he prepared.

Today I must venture into London for the first time since the start of my English exile. I have some real music biz work to do and have decided to concertina it all into one full day in the smoke. . I may even have the time to pop into Currencies Direct to check out the latest exchange rates, and I may even stop for an early evening beer with old pal John Otway who is putting the final touches to his film Otway The Movie which has its premiere at The Odeon Leicester Square on Sunday 7th October.

Chris France

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2012 7:12 am

    Love the picture…..


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