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Decking on the patio?

February 8, 2013

I had adopted the defensive position, you know the one, whimpering in the corner in the foetal position, when I realised I had misinterpreted that Nice Lady Decorator’s comment. Apparently, on this occasion, it was not me that needed decking on the patio, but the patio itself.

We had just returned from another mountainous trek across the South Downs in cold and partly sunny weather, sufficiently cool for the ground, which was mud yesterday, to be pleasingly firm, and she was looking at the garden with that spring-like zeal that I know is going to cost me money. Perhaps that was the reason, when I was at my most vulnerable (i.e. when I must get my wallet out), that I misinterpreted who was due for a decking.

Last night then, into Arundel with the great man himself, John Otway. On the one hand it was rather rude for this to be described as “like the mountain coming to Mohammed” but then I realised that in this context I was not the mountain. For a moment I thought that perhaps those days of temperance and fasting were beginning to have some effect. Some may believe that the reason John came to see me was finally to sort out his account with Currencies Direct. Others, more sensible in outlook, will surmise that this is just an excuse for a gratuitous mention of their wonderful foreign exchange services, and I suspect the latter opinion carries more weight (a bit like me).

Anyway, an early pint at the White Hart was followed by several more at the Kings Arms, where we availed ourselves of the very sensible offer to have a take away delivered, with the pub supplying plates, knives, forks and serviettes, a most splendidly far-sighted arrangement. Of course discussions were all about Otway. When he himself is the subject then he is very attentive and animated, but if the talk meanders away from his favourite subject he is much quieter. Luckily he was recognised in all 3 pubs we went to so we were able to remain on message. After his first hit single in 1978, the memorable “Cor Baby That’s Really Free” and subsequent appearance on Top Of The Pops, he was once accused of refusing to go on the underground in London in case he was not recognised.

music at the Red Lion

Terribly Tall Timothy Taylor takes the sign on the wall rather too seriously

Later on, after finalising the outline plan for the Otway fans assault on this years Cannes Film Festival,  I deposited John at the station for his return trip to London and left that Nice Lady  Decorator in the very competent hands of Terribly Tall Timothy Taylor, whom we has run into at each if the pubs we had gone into.  The last stop was at The Red Lion, being on the way to the station from the Kings Arms. His competence however was brought into some doubt, when I returned to the pub, by his misguided decision, illustrated by my picture today, to pick up the guitar on open mike night (an event that Mr Otway would have found very hard to resist had he not consumed 5 pints if beer by then). He was to the blues guitar what Darcy Bussell is to potato picking. Thank god he did not try to sing.

Today has dawned bright sunny and frosty so a perfect day to venture once again into the hills of The South Downs and throw of the effects if too much beer and wine, and the rather different effects of the Chinese takeaway we had delivered to the pub. It is amazing how hard a night out hits you after three days of temperance and I take that as a warning not to try such a thing again.

Chris France

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