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What barbecue?

May 6, 2013

It was back at the White Hart in the afternoon that Terribly Tall Timothy Taylor revealed that he had once had a kilt. It was the Caledonian tartan I think, anyway, the inevitable discussion ensued about what should be worn beneath the kilt. He revealed that, given the degree of uncertainty about the accepted arrangements for how to deal with the wedding tackle department, on an evening out he had used his sporran to pack a pair of underpants, a pouch of tobacco and a packet of condoms. Wistfully, he went on to say that he only had the use of the tobacco.

I also have a kilt. It is a Royal Stewart tartan, so I am privy to what is supposed to go on down there. I am not sure if it is true, but my mother told me that our family name, France, emanated from the wrong side of the blanket of the Duke of Norfolk in the 16th century, resulting in a french maid being sent away in disgrace to have her child. I must say that I quite enjoy wearing it as, after a few drinks, the female contingent can become increasingly inquisitive, to a greater or lesser extent. The greater the inquisitiveness the more fun is in the wearing.

The weather forecast of warm sunshine was as straightforward (allegedly) as the deputy speaker of the House of Commons. It was not clear which way it would go. Starting cloudy as we left Oxfordshire, it remained so until we reached Arundel, but we could see blue sky to the east, so we went searching for somewhere in the sunshine to walk. By the time we reached Patching, the sun was out and after a very long walk, much longer than was intended mainly due to becoming lost for a considerable part of it (I did not have control of the map, and by a process of elimination you may be able to guess who did), we eventually arrived back at the car and popped into the Fox at Patching for a pint in the sunshine. It was during the time we were lost that I took this photograph of the bluebells in the woods.

sussex bluebells

Bluebells at Patching

There was almost a line where the cloud started and unfortunately it was to the east of Arundel. So returning to Arundel, shorts were therefore exchanged for long trousers and sweaters, and once again I muttered a number of curses aimed at the British weather forecasters. However, I can predict metaphorical sunshine for anyone opening an account with Currencies Direct, but weather forecasters are so much more unreliable.

Lunch was taken at The Swan Hotel for a change, mainly due to the fact that we knew we were going to have to sit inside, and being a Fullers house we knew they would be serving London Pride, and we had never eaten there. It is not necessarily an experience I would want to have again, but I was served a perfectly acceptable roast lamb, and that Nice Lady Decorator a fillet of sea bass, which was fine, on a bed of couscous which was not.

This is where living next to a pub is dangerous. As we walked past the garden of The White Hart on the way home, inevitably, we encountered James “Desperate Dan” the landlord and the mighty beautiful Omega and the aforementioned Terribly Tall. It was over an Australian Barossa I have discovered in his wine list that the kilt revelations emerged.

During the same conversation we discovered that we were staging a barbecue this afternoon. This was news to me, and, as it turned out, to that The Nice Lady Decorator. Either we were so out of it last week when we sat out on the Sunday, or it is a clever wheeze by the others to invent the invitation. Whichever it is, I am charged this morning with stocking up for this event, including the procurement of a barbecue, an item that we do not own in England. A full report tomorrow methinks.

Chris France
@Valbonne_News

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