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Back to the beer

August 22, 2013

The first problem was getting the key to our house in Arundel, as it was at the pub next door. Most people would be able to just go there and collect them then open up. We are not most people. Add to that a thirst caused by a 7 week beer denial period and you have a recipe for a lost afternoon. I can’t go to an English pub for the first time in weeks and not have a pint of ale, and then another. Then sense begins to evaporate and all the little tasks that were vital to undertake gradually become less pressing, then unimportant and finally vanish in a haze once the wine replaces the beer.

Arriving at Gatwick in early afternoon, in surprisingly pleasant conditions with temperatures in the early 20’s (Celsius not Fahrenheit) and shorts the order of the day, until the evening when, as I had expected, long trousers were required, Arundel Festival was in full swing and we had a plan to walk the 50 yards to the Jubilee Stage to see what was going on, but we found the beautiful Mighty Omega in the White Hart and did not manage to escape. She is a wonderful talker and always has a turn of phrase to capture your attention, or, put another way, is a great source of material for this column. We were talking about the festival and we said we were looking forward to seeing the hot air balloons but she said they did not take off last year. Hot air balloons not taking off? Whatever next?

She further excelled herself later on when the conversation had moved on, for reasons I cannot recall, to Greek Islands. She was convinced that she has a visited one called Alimony, which, given that she has been married in the past seems apt. Perhaps they offer a wedding package including a pre nup? Anyway, everyone knows that is in Mexico.

That I am back in England was brought back to me as soon as I opened the window and instead of sunshine, there was drizzle. Welcome back. The last forecast I saw for the week had no mention of rain? It was last year that we sat in the grounds of Arundel Castle and saw Shakespears play The Tempest in a tempest, so I do hope there are no outdoor activities if its raining this year. Actually I think it is mostly staged indoors except for the music which is predominantly on the Jubilee Stage right beside the river and within sight of the champagne bar which opens on Friday. But tonight, outside the Kings Arms is Abba On The Hill, as opposed to the more accurate Abba over the hill, an Abba tribute group which was great fun last year. Weather permitting I shall be there with a pint of London Pride in my hand, or even a pint of Trooper, the ale produced by heavy metal group Iron Maiden and on tap at the Kings Arms. Actually, I have just thought of a weird fact; the pub in Valbonne is called the Queens Legs and here we have the Kings Arms. Nope, I have nothing to say about it.

goat in restaurant

Pet goat tucks in at Auberge de la Source

Tomorrow the festival moves into a higher gear for the weekend, with the champagne bar opening in time to witness Screaming Lez and the Mindbenders. Whatever did they do with Wayne Fontana? Coming to visit for a few days to see that and take in the festival in general will be Mr Clipboard and his beautiful wife Ashley, and Slash And Burn Thornton Allan and his steely eyed goddess Lisa. I believe wine will be drunk and cigars smoked and I will be keeping a close eye on my luxuriant handlebar moustache to ensure it does not get hacked or indeed set fire to, as was the case in Valbonne recently.

Chris France

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