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Victory, at least in the rugby

February 11, 2013

Yesterday there was a variation to my least favourite English weather, horizontal drizzle. Horizontal rain. What a disgusting day, and the type of weather that will drive me back to France just as soon the taxman will allow.

There is no excuse, the weather gods have dropped sufficient moisture on this green and unpleasant land to keep every plant secure in the knowledge that drought will not be problem for the forseeable future. Faced with such a horrible day, there was nothing else for it, after attempting a walk at Clymping beach in absolutely ridiculously unpleasant conditions, what else can one to do than retire to a traditional English pub for sustenance?

So faced with no choice, we headed for the George and Dragon at Houghton, but with the car park rammed and the rain still going sideways, and desperate for a good pint and a good feed, we settled on the Bridge at Amberley. We got neither. The Timothy Taylors Landlord, the second best beer in the world was once again not well-kept, watery and too flat, all the specials of the day had sold out, forcing me into unnatural territory, a traditional English roast. Not being able to face the beef, having an aversion to over cooked thinly sliced cardboard bereft of any taste and smothered in gravy of a dubious nature, I reluctantly decided on the roast pork because at least there might be some crackling. What I got was thinly sliced overcooked tasteless pork swimming in gravy of dubious provenance. So to summarise (should that not be winterise?) I was the unlucky recipient of flat beer, poor food, sitting on an uncomfortable chair in the draft by the door watching the rain sheet down.

Australian beach

A photo of a very different day in Australia a few short months ago

The omens for the afternoons rugby were thus not good and I had a nasty vision of a smiling and happy John “802 and a half years of repression” O Sullivan licking his lips as he took the 10 euro note (about £8 at today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates) and in a very juvenile fashion, lick it and stick it on his forehead. It was in a state of some trepidation (possibly something to do with that roast pork) that we returned to the White Hart in Arundel to watch the game. But god took pity on me. He forsook the Catholic route and rewarded a fine disciplined display by England with a famous victory in Dublin over the Irish in the 6 nations rugby. Thus when I next see him, I shall be able, triumphantly and nobly, to celebrate this great victory with a crisp new 10 euro note sticking to my forehead in a very grown up sort of way. I made a call to him straight after the match but surprisingly he did not answer his phone. I left a message saying I had missed the game and did he know the result? Astonishingly, as I write this on Monday morning, he has not yet returned my call.

The temperance wagon is set to roll again over the next three days as preparations for the forthcoming skiing reach a crescendo. I say three days because after that the Sprogs will begin returning from their various student abodes, emerging hungry and broke and ready to fleece their poor parents for as much as they possibly can. They will no doubt insist on being taken to the pub and who am I, a doting father, to deny them? Particularly as it gives me an excuse to go myself.

Chris France

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