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Black Rabbit for tennis rabbits?

November 4, 2012

I was told to google “Avalon RNLI” to glean some background on one of my new tennis opponents lined up for today, but the only item I found was about a boat being de-masted and having to be rescued from the English Channel last week, so no clue there, or was there? The brooding presence of James “Desperate Dan” the Landlord, who in some lights resembles “Jaws” from the early James Bond films, albeit with a beard (and without the natty dental work) was unwilling to talk about it last night in the White Hart as the wind-up ahead of my first tennis match with the locals of Arundel this morning got underway.

It had been a long day, with a cycle from The Murrell Arms at Barnham to, well, Barnham (a 6 mile circular route), and a rewarding couple of pints of London Pride afterwards, just to ensure there was no lasting progress on my weight loss programme. After a brief siesta (try three hours) I was recovered enough to pop into the White Hart, just to confirm the tennis details for today you understand. This took from about 7pm until close to midnight. There was clearly a great deal of organising to do.

So this morning, unless it is raining, which it has been on and off every day for the last fortnight, and if it is warm enough, which is very doubtful, the locals will be treated to a rare view of my, bright green matching tennis shorts and shirt, hand-made in Kenya.  Many regular readers of this column from the Valbonne area will remember that I employ exactly the same outfit for golf on occasions. It is so versatile it can be used for either, although it would be fair to point out that few agree it is suitable for wearing for any activity. That nice lady decorator has called me the “jolly green giant” in the past when dressed in it, which I think is a little harsh.

A post tennis de-brief is expected to commence just after midday today at The Black Rabbit, pictured below, beside the River Arun just outside Arundel. I shall be on the look-out for any de-masted boats… For those new readers unfamiliar with my reporting techniques, the way it works is if I am victorious then expect a fulsome report, should I suffer a reverse then it is unlikely that I shall have sufficient space to cover the match.

Picture of Black Rabbit at night

A welcoming sight on a dank day

Monday will also be another back-sliding diet day with lunch in celebration of yet another birthday for Mr Clipbeard, who at the very least is catching me up in age terms. I know he already looks considerably older than I, but you will be astounded to know he is in fact younger. Such are the effects of such a dissolute life. I think he should consider a proper job, although I accept it is probably too late. We shall be meeting at The Old Crown at Chiddingfold. As a Currencies Direct client, I shall of course be submitting the bill to my accountant as a perfectly justifiable business expense. I do not expect a happy outcome. The Crown is a wonderful ancient English pub, one of the things I enjoy the most during my exile in England. You cannot beat an establishment like this with great food, great beer and a roaring fire when it is miserable outside, and as is November, it will almost certainly be miserable. Much as I love and miss life in Valbonne, this is something I miss when I am there, and for which there is no substitute.

Chris France



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