Tuesday, 20 February 2018

In the shelter

    Ah, the pleasures of Bristol airport. Now newly rebuilt, with even more glitzy shops and possibly the ghastliest restaurant in England – it still amazes me how companies stay afloat when they employ such dreadful staff.  Named ‘Brunel’s Bar and Grill’, I would imagine old Isambard would turn in his grave if he knew what slops were being served in his honour. Thankfully this is not an airport I use frequently and the only reason we are here is that dodgy Ryanair cancelled our forty quid flight earlier this week, offering a refund but with the only other flight option being the next day for a chivalrous £240. So we had to opt for Sleazy-jet instead, which includes a 3 hour stop in this hell-hole and the probability of a week of diarrhoea ahead.
    The trip to Scotland was most enjoyable, passing a few days watching professionals and celebrities ply their trade on the golf course in St Andrews. We even got to speak to a few, including Rory McIlroy and that legend of a rugby player, Paul O’Connell, from whose handshake my knuckles are still recovering. On the subject of broken bones, I carelessly managed to slip in the brand-new shiny-floored bathroom that I recently built and crack a rib, a pain many folks will know nags away for up to six weeks, particularly during bouts of laughter. So once again, I am off games with a note from matron, as we return to a million chores back home in France. Earlier in the month I started building a new house for the sheep, laying 500 concrete blocks in the week before we left. Unfortunately there are still a few hundred more to put down before the roof can go on, so I may now need to canvass a little help on that front. To be honest, I find it hard to justify the expense and effort just to keep the sun and a few showers off the creatures, when there are perfectly good trees to shelter under, but my wife has other ideas. In fact she recently threatened that if they didn’t get a roof over their head this winter, Skippy and Daisy would be moved into my bed and it would be I sitting out under that tree waiting for windfalls!
    Anyway, the next few weeks will give me a bit of time to relax in France before we head back to Fife for the winter to start on my next project. It will probably take me that long to read the Saturday newspaper I just picked up, which is about 3000 pages thick. As well as the daily gossip about world politics and prospective nuclear war, I can learn all about ‘My Money’ (or lack of it), holidays I can’t afford, properties I can’t afford, football players who can afford all of it and a crossword so huge and difficult it would  keep a team of eggheads awake for a year. Do people really get time to churn through all this rubbish in just one lazy weekend? I certainly don’t, what with all the household and outside chores, I rarely even get chance to watch the TV. Maybe I am doing something wrong in my life?
    I will admit that even to someone as blasé about world news as me, that bad hairdo in the Whitehouse does scare the carp out of me, as he systematically picks fights with every nation in the world. How long before France gets in the firing line, I wonder? Will he soon take umbrage with Monsieur Macaroon about the price of wine and garlic and aim his nukes at chez nous? Or maybe he might wipe out all 50 golf courses in Fife, just so he brings more trade into his Aberdeenshire enterprises? Is anywhere safe? It’s not just him either, as the whole of Europe seems to be giving more and more support to the loonies on the far right, with the uprising Nazis showing the way. I find it rather disturbing how short the human memory is on such matters. I don’t believe I am paranoid but if I was I would be wondering if, before we have chance to say Lee Harvey Oswald, the sky overhead could be criss-crossed with atomic vapour trails as 100 million of us scramble desperately to squeeze into one fallout shelter. I wonder if my wine cave is atom-proof?

Arrgh, I just went get a coffee to calm my troubled mind and find my money is no longer valid. Firstly the dim-waiter refuses to accept a Scottish tenner, fobbing me off that it is not legal tender in England – which is it, and will be until Nicola says otherwise. Unperturbed, I go to pay him with a pocket full of change I found in a jar in the house in Fife, only to have all my pound coins rejected also. Then he wouldn’t accept euros because of bloody Brexit! It’s blatant discrimination, if you ask me! Not only racist, but ageist as well. Does that mean all those pound notes stuffed under my mattress are out of date too? Next thing they’ll be telling me we are in the 21st century. Or maybe I have just been in East Fife too long?

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