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Tommy Coopers love child spotted in Arundel?

April 21, 2013

At the crack of sparrows we braved the frost and took to the South Downs at Kithurst Hill for a stiff walk in some rare sunshine. On those days in England when it is sunny, it is the best place in the world to be, and The South Downs is one of the most beautiful places in England. The problem is there are only about three of those days each year.

From there it was off to the Farmers market in Arundel to buy some pheasant sausages, and watch the Sompting Village Morris Dancers, the leader of whom was giving out leaflets about where they were appearing, telling people that it showed where they could be avoided. He also did a very good Tommy Cooper impression as my picture shows.

morris dancers

Sompting Village Morris Men with comedian

After that I am afraid things become a bit of a blur. I blame that diet. Yesterday was not designated a 600 day, but Friday was, thus I was in a weakened and confused state even before a couple of pints of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord bitter at the Horse and Groom (colloquially known as the Doom and Gloom) at the amusingly named Funtingdon near Chichester. The visit was part of our determination to explore the pubs of Sussex. This one would be in the top 20.

Things began to unravel as there was the rarest of opportunities to sit outside in sunshine, and with a pub garden next door, I feel I was a victim a fate. I can remember buying a bottle of Sancerre and a bottle of their nice 2009 St Emilion, then another bottle of red before retiring with several other reprobates to our garden next door as the sun shifted from the pub garden to ours.

Later recollections include giving Sprog 1 £40 to get an Indian takeaway but have no recollection of eating it as I was dragged (I think) by the lovely Kathryn to the Kings Arms for a pint, with a pit stop on the way at The Eagle. I recall withdrawing £200 from the cash machine (about 236 euros at today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates) but cannot explain why I have just £40 left. I have no idea how several empty wine bottles came to be on the kitchen floor, or how I came to lose that Nice Lady Decorator during the course of the evening. As she said this morning, she woke up next to someone old, fat, balding and smelling of drink and was relieved. She knew she had made it home.

It is ridiculous how exposure to a bit of sunshine can be at the root of such havoc. It underlines the dangers of living in England and enduring weeks and months of boring dull grey weather and then suddenly finding a release. It reminds me of my youth when the convent girls all came home for their holidays. They were so full of pent-up frustration they were by far the most popular girls for us chaps, being a lot more giving, as it were. The Reverend Jeff will recall those times. Convent girls and nurses. Happy days.

As I write I never want to see a drink ever again but suspect that by lunchtime, as it is a Sunday, I shall be tempted to go next door to The White Hart, if only to pay any unpaid bar and restaurant bills and to apologise to anyone I, or that nice Lady Decorator have upset. There are always some when things get out of hand. The danger signs are there already. The sun is out again and if it lasts past the moment the sun passes the yardarm…

Chris France

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