148 – World Cup Heroes and Outdoor Living

Another English World Cup campaign comes to an end (in effect), but the sun still shines here in France. So much so that we’ve moved our lounge into the garden. Everything in fact. Even the coffee table and the horse and cart motiffed drinks coasters. The only thing we haven’t moved is the woodburner (not necessary in 30 degree heat) and the bookshelves (there’s football on).

We’ve had visitors over the past week and it’s been fun to crack a few beers, light the barbie and enjoy the football sitting outside in the lovely French weather. Why not? Makes a change from being cramped up in my writing room wearing full length thermals and a woolly hat, watching the cold rain lash against the shutters, and the dark clouds bubble over the horizon. Not that I didn’t enjoy that either – it was an experience certainly. But hot summers are bliss for creatures like me who prefer to be outside rather than in.

I watch the lizards most afternoons basking on the hot stones by the porch. Chasing each other like they are attached to pieces of string and being pulled by a secret hand. Fighting, biting each other’s tails, mating, larking around in the sun. Playing out their lives on the burning slabs of my lounge.

I sometimes think I used to be a Roman. A centurion in second century Dalmatia patrolling the coast of what is now Croatia waiting for my call to Rome. Aquiline nose, good marcher, amber skin. I would have fit in well. Lazing in the sun, drinking wine, fighting the Huns. It’s why I love watching the lizards so much I think.

Since my cycle trip to the Loire last week – or Aquitania as it was known in 233BC – I feel an energy that only the sun can provide. Similar to the way that porridge and hot sweet coffee can lift your spirits in winter, but not quite as good. Those bowls of oats I used to have at my desk on those cold mornings were always a precursor to what I might enjoy if I stayed here long enough hammering away at my book.

So it was a nice reward to watch England last night get knocked out after only two games. Thanks guys! Nice one!

On the other hand, Luis Suarez may have done me a big favour. At least I can get back to my book.Although saying that, France are still in it. And so are Italy.

The last time I stand under an England flag

The last time I stand under an England flag (or look like a deranged bumpkin)


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