Hoorah, after over half a year I am at last back to reasonable health, albeit, about 8 stones heavier. While you were all getting you third jab, I got an extra one, with a 6-inch long needle, right into the ball joint of my shoulder and am I ever thankful for whatever was in it. I was advised not to play sports for a few weeks, which was no big problem in this winter weather, and my rugby shirt may be a bit tight anyhow! However, I have this week, for the first time, been out cutting and collecting firewood, as we experience a deep freeze here in France. In fact, the weather has been so cold that tomorrow we are heading south to the Spanish coast for a few weeks of paella and sangria by the barrow-load. After that, assuming things have settled down, we will be in UK for a couple more weeks before coming back here again for lambing. That is, of course, if we remember to write on our immigration forms that we have just been to Spain, unlike poor old Novax, the silly sod!
Whilst in London, we are taking my son Sam to the opera, something I am pretty sure he hasn’t experienced before. I think I was his age when my father and mother dragged me to see La Boheme at the Birmingham Hippo in my rebellious Pink Floyd t-shirt! After which I was hooked on Puccini, and still am. I wonder if it will have the same effect on him? I am still not comfortable with being in an enclosed venue with hundreds of coughing people, a sad reflection on life, I suppose. Anyway, from there to collect some new wheels for the wife, a trip to Stirling Bull Sales to conduct a bit of business, then to Fife to sort out some furniture and our busy year has already sprung into life. We didn’t make it to UK for Hogmanay as planned and we were actually supposed to be in New York this weekend but everything got covid-cancelled last minute. I’m not too unhappy about the latter, not being a big fan of the US, apart from the fact that most Americans make me look thin!
On the work front, I have picked up where I left off two years ago, writing my first crime fiction novel. It makes such a refreshing change being able to make up baddies and places rather than having to stick to historical fact like I do in my day job. It sort of brings out the journalist in me! I plan on finishing it in Spain in the next fortnight, glass in hand. The plot is based around a distillery in West Scotland and uncovers a layer of corruption in the whisky industry, so if you don’t hear from me again, you will know that I stood on one too many toes and drowned in a vat of amber nectar. Damn, I have just given away the ending!
On that point, Peter recently sent me a rant that I wrote for this magazine some years ago and, my, what an angry and controversial young man I was, bemoaning everything from the NHS to the M25. The editor even accused me of becoming mellow in my old age! So to that, I will have a mild bluster about a previous bug-bear of mine, Towny Blair: a man who has told more lies than Prince Andrew, OJ Simpson and Novak Djokovic put together. Having near bankrupted the country with his gross mis-handling of the Foot and Mouth crisis which left a staggering 6 billion pound invoice in its wake, he then took us to war, telling us he was searching for Saddam’s weapons when everyone and their dog knows it was really a testicle-holding alliance with George Bush to control the price of oil. It does make ‘forgetting you had a garden party’ sound fairly lame in comparison? Sir Tony, my arse! I wouldn’t trust that man to clean my f**kin windows!