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Diet in snow job

March 13, 2013

It was all going so well. A light breakfast, no lunch and enough calories left for some meagre gruel for dinner. Exercise has been taken in the form of a stiff walk through the snow on the South Downs through the quintessentially beautiful Sussex countryside and we had returned, rosy-cheeked (as opposed to rose-cheeked, as in the wine, later this week when we get to France), and ready to get those Currencies Direct wheels of commerce turning. All was well, even the sun came out for a couple of hours, and then bang, the whole healthy and dietary good work began to unravel. That Nice Lady Decorator suggested a pint early doors at the George and Dragon at Houghton, and the gaping chasm if temptation opened up before me.

Snow in houghton Woods

Houghton Woods in the spring snow

Perhaps we could have got away with one pint, but the pub was having its regular Tuesday “pie and a pint for £10 night”. She said “shall we…” and with me hungry enough to chew off my own arm, the inevitable occurred. It was a very nice pie, beef in a red wine sauce covered, not in pastry, but by sliced roasted potatoes and served with a selection of fresh vegetables. The vegetables alone would probably taken me through the 600 calorie limit, whereas the pie one would have accounted for more than that in its own, so giving up, we went home and opened a nice bottle of Maclaren Vale Australian red.

I think the charge of the light brigade was based in 600 riding into a trap, and a writer of little ability might try to make some connection between this and the failed 600 calorie a day diet, but you all know me better than that. Yes, the whole enterprise was doomed the moment the suggestion to go to the pub was made. Oops, did I make the connection?

I don’t want people to think I am a bit of a globe-trotter but today I have errands to run in Arundel, Littlehampton, Rustington, and Worthing, all to tidy up some loose ends before setting off to France for that launch. Oh, did I forget to mention the publication on Friday of my new book The Valbonne Monologues at Cafe Latin in Valbonne? All five sponsors of the event, ABK Properties, the lovely Marina Kulik, Blue Water Yachting, Côte d’Azur Villa Rentals and of course Currencies Direct, would be disappointed if I did not remind my less than completely adoring public about the momentous event due to take place at the end of this week.

I have packed my launch shoes, bought before Christmas, the originally intended publication date, cruelly delayed by some pixie problem with the full colour photographs included throughout. I am certain that they are real crocodile and that, as the salesman told me, they are almost unique (!) because you see very few crocodiles in that colour. Indeed, I think David Attenborough would be fascinated by them.

Tomorrow will be taken up with travelling, but I would hope and expect to have a trot around the hills this morning on what is left of yesterday’s snow. I was reminded yesterday as the blizzard of the night before abated, that it was precisely a week earlier when I had donned shorts and walked across Arundel Park for lunch, and even sat on an outside terrace for a pint. A week in English weather is like a week in politics. Everything can change very quickly. However, I shall not change. Oh no, I have been droning on every day for three years and have no plans to stop.

Chris France

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    March 13, 2013 12:07 pm

    Good luck with the launch and to send you on your way here’s a literary masterpiece (not up to the standard of the ‘Monologues’ of course) what I wrote in response to a Daily Mail article informing us that young children can now expect to live at least one hundred years. It went down well with lots of readers and knowing your love for all things poetic I know you will love it !


    They sat together side by side
    The old man and the boy,
    Grandad with his Daily Mail
    The lad with his new toy.

    “It says in here, the old man read,
    (The boy pricked up his ears),
    That lads your age can now expect
    To live one hundred years.”

    One hundred years! The boy looked up
    And caught his grandad’s gaze
    And in that moment, locked in time
    Two minds went separate ways.

    To eight year olds one hundred years
    Just means eternity
    And Billy’s mind was full of dreams
    That only children see.

    He thought of all the things he’d do
    On life’s triumphal ride
    And there’d be grandad next to him,
    Forever at his side.

    He’d slay the dragons, fight for right
    And stand for what was good,
    He knew these things would all come true
    For grandad said they would.

    And reaching out across the years
    He touched the old man’s hand,
    But grandad’s mind was in a place
    No child can understand.

    For grandad knew how fast time flew
    How lifetimes disappear,
    He also knew, at eighty two,
    The end was drawing near

    And as he held young Billy’s hand
    He thought how time had flown,
    Since he’d been just a little lad
    With pipe dreams of his own.

    Oh what a world he’d conjured up
    And oh how long life seemed
    When he had sat on grandad’s lap
    And fantasised and dreamed.

    Then choking back a rising sob
    That wouldn’t be delayed,
    He felt a tear roll down his cheek
    For all those dreams mislaid.

    And Billy, sensing something wrong
    Looked up in mild alarm,
    Then edging sideways laid his head
    Against the old man’s arm.

    And in that simple act of love
    So quietly carried out,
    Grandad knew at last he’d found
    What life was all about.

    For it’s not the length of time we have
    Or things we might achieve,
    What matters is the love that’s left
    When our time comes to leave.

    And so they sat there side by side
    In warm contented joy
    A little lad with his grandad,
    The old man and the boy.

    Jeff Potter


    • mej0903 permalink
      March 13, 2013 1:08 pm

      Jeff Potter? Jet Spotter, no less? Me? Moya, who met you and Otway, France & NW10, at the Oranges & Lemons in Oxford, late 1970s? Lovely poem. Superb, even. xx


  2. howzaaat permalink
    March 13, 2013 12:42 pm

    Terrific poem, Rev. — I like it a lot ! Thanks for posting and sharing it.

    Between us, the literary few, we could turn this site into a veritable ‘Poets’ Corner’ !

    Thanks again — nice poem.


  3. Rev. Jeff permalink
    March 13, 2013 10:12 pm

    Thanks chaps-very kind of you. Love the idea of turning ‘The Blag’ into a ‘Poets Corner’ Howzaaat ! Now wouldn’t that irritate a certain someone !!

    Hi Moya. My word the ‘Oranges and Lemons’ brings back some happy memories of Chris and my N.W.10 days. They really were a very good band and were unlucky not to have become much bigger. Fantastic to hear from you even if I have blown my cover !


  4. Rev. Jeff permalink
    March 15, 2013 11:57 am

    Hi Moya. Have just had a look at the NW.10 photo and wow where we ever really that young looking !!?? Not quite the same face I saw staring back at me from the shaving mirror this morning ! Great to be reminded of those fun filled days though and thanks for putting me on to it. No idea what the lads are doing now although I’ve noticed the odd comment from Mike Findlay in this august blag. Mind you he was a miserable so and so !!!


    • mej0903 permalink
      March 15, 2013 12:43 pm

      HA HA HA! So pleased you took a look JP. Yes, in 1979 (?) we were all GORGEOUS!! The morning I woke & saw my Mother in the mirror, tiz a cruel day that. More work to be done on the NW10 site, and I’ve lots of stuff to post from, as you say, “those fun filled days”. NW10 – On FB, we have Jeff Balcombe, Mike Findlay, Cameron Findlay, and only in certain circles, Will Mowat & Nick Harradence. We should be having this conversation on the NW10 site, methinks. The elusive character is Thomas Pitt, bass player. Am told he is not a well man, living in deepest Gloucestershire? More, on this. Much more to come. XXXXXXXX and BIG HUGS to you, JP. Do you ever get to Otway . . . . gigs? x


    • mej0903 permalink
      March 15, 2013 12:45 pm



  5. April 3, 2013 4:16 pm

    Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!


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