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Elephant makes trunk call

October 28, 2012

Whatever I may have said that was critical of England in October I take back. With the first sunshine for about 30 years in evidence yesterday we took the opportunity to undertake a 6 mile march around the South Downs via the Monarchs Way in cold but sunny weather. The views across the Downs down to the distant sea were as good as it gets. In a totally pre-planned sort of manner we happened upon the George and Dragon at Houghton,  a pub that has been an ale house since 1276. It was such a nice surprise to find it that we had booked for lunch a table some hours before.

I have to say that a 6 mile walk, entirely up hill, for hour after hour was the perfect pre requisite for a fantastic lunch although I did a bit of a double take when I saw on the menu “roast partridge, no shot”, but the “h” was slightly misformed. I was glad to find neither shot nor snot on the plate and although it went down really well, the trick with the green bean did not go down quite so well with that nice lady decorator, but it amused me.

There really is no place better in the world on a sunny day than England, or so I thought until I took the call from Peachy Butterfield who was sitting in his Vilbriquin shorts in the web, my private bar in our house in Valbonne with a cold glass of rose. For a moment I reconsidered as I sat with my walking boots, overcoat and gloves on to keep out the cold, but a couple of pints of real ale and a nice lunch in a wonderful quintessentially English pub made in honours even. There is a great deal of merit in both.

On the mantelpiece of this wonderful old hostelry, which had the original machinery for a roasting spit still in place over the log fire, I came across this picture. It seems that in 1906 a travelling circus came to the area and the elephants were taken to the river at nearby Amberley to drink, the circus owners being unaware that being tidal the water was salty, so they went in search of fresh water and, although I am not sure how it came about, one Indian elephant found a bucket of it in an upstairs room. I took a picture of that picture.

elephant makes trunk calll

Elephant at The George and Dragon, Houghton 1906

Returning from lunch we found the White Hart buzzing so stopped in for one. Just one we thought but before I knew it, darkness had descended in more ways than one and the rest of the evening was a write off, and by that I do not mean I was working on my book.

With the Indian summer over and rain and wind set to return today, as I write it is not clear what will transpire today or indeed this week. Clearly I shall need to continue my work on The Valbonne Monologues and Currencies Direct but at the moment the rest is am empty canvas. Perhaps I shall go somewhere warm? I have been told to go to hell often enough, perhaps I should go somewhere towards it?

I have at last heard a Jimmy Savile joke that I can repeat courtesy of old friend Julie “Faux-Pas”. She tells me that she has heard that there is a new film in the offing and George Clooney has been lined up to play the part of the late Sir Jimmy. It seems the working title is “Oh, She’s Eleven”

Chris France


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    October 28, 2012 2:47 pm

    Just heard about some Jimmy savile shell suits being sold off because they mixed up the adult and kids sizing. Apparently the tops are fine but it’s a bit of a squeeze to get into the children’s bottoms !


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