Tennis, golf, football – these are just a few things which I have replaced my busy working day with for a month or two. Obviously there is still gardening, cooking, shepherding etc keeping me on my feet but it is nice to find some time to watch a bit more sport on TV. However, one cannot help noticing the surprising lack of youngsters reaching the top of their sport, as we see Nadal, Federer and Djokavich still sharing the limelight, after 70 year olds Higgins and Williams dominating the snooker earlier in the year. At least the England football team fielded a few enthusiastic new kids on the block and, I believe, conducted themselves rather well in a sport generally polluted by money and prima donnas.
Speaking of which, the morning after England's exit from the World Cup, I popped down to the village bakery for a loaf. Now Wendy has a sporty wee drop-head car so I thought I would take it for a spin, tops-off. Well anyone who has seen me lately wouldn’t help but notice it has been quite some time since I last sat in front of a barber and thus my curly locks flow across my eyes in an open-top ride. I am not usually one for baseball caps, which I believe should be confined to the under twenties and Americans but, in this instance this headgear does come in handy. Remembering there was one in my golf bag, I grabbed it and put it to good use. It wasn’t until I saw myself in the mirror in the shop that I realised it was none other than the cap I had bought in Croatia 6 weeks ago whilst on a speedboat trip. And here I was, an Englishman, now supporting the very team that France was to face in the final! No wonder the chap behind the counter spat on my croissants!
Anyway, here in France the summer has certainly turned up at last, although the vista is as green as I have ever seen it for the time of year and the lake still nearly full. Of course, with it come all the usual accompaniments: flies, sunburnt guests, hay fever, bloody wasps. I mention the latter as, over the last few years, those stripy creatures seem have taken a personal liking to me. I swear, in a crowded area it will always be me getting stung and shrieking out, being offered like some sort of human shield to protect everyone else. I only wish I was so attractive to women! Biggest problem is that I am completely allergic to them - wasps that is, not women - and come out in itchy black blotches that last for weeks, despite my veins swishing with cocktails of antihistamine.
On the subject of Women, I seem to have a house full just now, as a number of Wendy's Edinburgh friends are staying this week and piling on the sun-tan lotion. As she is still working during the day it is my designated job to sit by the pool and entertain these ladies, as well as feeding and watering them by night. I have to admit, there are worse jobs in life. Amongst this highly intelligent throng, conversations have waged from the usual Trump and Brexit, through to Love Island and Bee rescue. The latter subject did cause a slight stir after one admitted that she regularly picked up exhausted bees, took them home and fed them sugar from a spoon, as advised by Sir David Blue Planet himself. On questioning this method, Google soon found it out to be a hoax posted on social media by pranksters, for reasons better known to themselves. Seemingly, although bees are essential to the survival of our species, they are not quite suffering from hypoglycaemia yet.
The downside of this crowded house, does mean that all the bedrooms are occupied, nobly confining me to sleep a couple of nights in the camper in the garden. I have no objection to this; in fact I quite enjoy it. That is until 6am when the damn pigeons start up with their stupid inane calling to each other from the treetops. Do these critters still have a function in society? I mean, since we replaced their messenger skills with mobile phones, what other purpose could they possibly serve, apart from spoiling crops and making the odd pie? For the last 2 days there has been an irresistible temptation to get out the 4-10 at dawn and fell them all from the branches. However, I am not sure this would have met the approval of our international bee rescuer in the household, especially if she looked out of the window to see a strange angry man wondering around in his undies with a loaded gun!
Anyway, today we are heading north once again, back to sunny Scotland for a spot of renovation work, as my new kitchen has arrived at last. The centrepiece of our week will be two days at the British Open Golf tournament at Carnoustie, which is not a million miles from our Fife home. Watch out for this hairy guy on TV, he'll be the one in the Croatia hat!