Wednesday 20 April 2022

Carlsberg Cauldron

 Whoosh, there it goes again, that deadline rushing by at great speed. Had I written this a few days ago, when I should have done, I would be once again berating the French weather with its cold rain and wind, but thankfully this weekend it has at last furnished us with a few rays of summer which will hopefully last more than a couple of days.

This, of course, is silly season in the garden but with too many other work commitments at present I leave a lot of that to my lovely wife. However, unfortunately she failed to see the tree stump that I have spent the last 15 years avoiding with the lawnmower, the consequence of which was a loud bang, lots of smoke, a big pool of oil and its instant death. So, after many years, we have now invested in a new shiny toy with a comfy seat on it along with some red and white tape around the no-go areas. Thankfully, the new machine has some headlights on it, in case I need to shoehorn in a midnight cut!  I mean, really? That’s about as useful putting climbing shoes on a cat!

This time of year is also rugby season and last weekend we took off south in the camper to see a few European games. Doing her research, Wendy spotted on the internet a parking place ideally situated within a few minutes’ walk from the stadium in Toulouse. Nearby were a few bars and restaurants, perfect. What we hadn’t bargained for was it was also the local drug-dealing spot, where cars came and went all through the night, fulfilling their procurement. We have since found out it was also a local ‘dogging’ site, whatever one of those might be!  Anyway, the rugby was great although the Toulouse fans were less than enamoured with the ref after he sent off one of their players for being reckless and hence them losing the match to the Northern Irish. To say they were a little hostile is like calling Putin a naughty boy. Poor man had to be escorted off the pitch after the final whistle by a couple of burley security guards.  Next day we made it to Montpellier, a city bathed in sunshine, and an atmosphere far removed from the cauldron of the previous match, including a win for Wendy’s beloved Harlequins. A few beers in Molly Malones and then parked up by the beach, where there wasn’t a dog in sight! If Carlsberg did rugby weekends, then the Heineken cup would one of them!

We are now on a countdown to our two months trip away in the camper, touring UK for a number of reasons including a family wedding, a jubilee party, some sheep-shopping, a couple of major ag shows and another stint on TV. Yes, it may be an exhausting time but we might as well shoehorn in as much as we can in the shortest time. Our three Ryeland sheep are gaining condition nicely and we have reasonably confident hopes that they won’t let the side down at the Royal Highland show in mid June. Unfortunately, as I am again on the commentary team for the event, my inexperienced wife has been tasked with the duty of exhibiting said beasts, whilst I ridicule her from the comfort of the commentators box. As if I would?   

Looking after Chauffour for the duration we have appointed a rather nice couple to house-sit, as it happens a Jamaican/Danish pairing. To get to know them better we invited them round for lunch, only to find out that he is/was a top chef and they were both vegetarian. Naturally I rose to the challenge by providing a top meal consisting of a plate of spaghetti with a few bits of fish in it but they didn’t seem to mind and the deal was sealed over a glass of chardonnay. Not only don’t they eat meat but they are also very conscious of where the food comes from, sourcing everything organic. I have offered them the use of our vegetable patch only to be declined because I admitted I occasionally use Round-Up to keep the weeds at bay. Oh well, all the more for us then. At least the lambs will be saved from the bbq until we return.

On that subject, we enjoyed a fine shoulder of lamb just yesterday, shared with friends that included my old pal, an ex-rockite who once lived on the greenway. Much reminiscing was done over a few glasses of red and probably most of this readership were talked about in one way or another, in case your ears were burning, Ed?

And with that, I must dash, due on the golf course in an hour, complete with large hat to stop my own ears burning. Four!