Well last Saturday was one of my favourite Saturdays in the calendar, the commencement of the Six Nations.
The annual commencement of local ancient rivalries, the drama, the sheer pageantry…and of course the beer.
It had been a good start to the day for me, as The Arsenal were slain at Stamford Bridge, only a few miles from Twickenham, watched at home as I got outside the obligatory full English as necessary ballast for the days events.
My next task was to try to place a 3 way accumulator on a betting website, as I had heard that very morning whilst reclined in the daily bath, Matt Dawson speak honeyed words about a bet on the Scots, English and Italians to win, garnering odds of 17-1 and even your simple correspondent had the brain power to deduce that an investment of £10 would produce one hundred and seventy sovs, a risk I was willing to take, after weighing the facts, considering absent key players in various teams etc…and of course bearing in mind the inside info was coming from a Lions and World Cup Winning Scrum Half (to all my Celtic, Latin and Franco chums, you may, or may not know but England won the World Cup in 2003 – always worth a mention I find!) the money was as good as nestling in the waistcoat pocket next to the snuff box.
I then spent thirty fevered minutes traversing various betting websites trying to place said bet.
This was when I realised that during the night, clearly, someone had removed the part of my brain relating to use of websites/IT as I really could not make head nor tail of any of them. Yes, yes to place a couple of quid on some minging nag gamboling around a field in the 14:30 at Plumpton would have been the work of a mere moment, but trying to negotiate this insanity to place a 3-way accumulator on the Six Nations was way beyond me.
I suppose I should have known really, the three or four times that I have been in a bookies after about 5 minutes of wandering around trying to work out what to do whilst being sneered at by the locals I have walked up to the jump, told them the bet I want to place and just got them to write it out for me, whilst they gaze at me with the contempt usually reserved for unwanted vermin in the refrigerator, or, at best, the runt of the litter. I still haven’t managed to wash off the reek of fags, and that was about 3 years after the cigarette ban!
What I am trying to say is that I rarely bet, certainly not formally, and as it transpires I got a result as our chums from the Valleys ripped the Azzurri apart on Sunday though Scotland’s win over Ireland and England’s scrape against France had made it interesting. It also meant that I could comfortably support my new found Irish heritage against Scotland (let’s hope I am not a Jonah eh?!), as, being an honest fellow, supporting the Scots in neither in my blood or my heart (though fair play they did well…nice people, nice people, good game, good game).
As is my wont I watched the ‘taped’ match on Sunday, with a dull thump in my head (my new found Irish heritage meant that it was obligatory to throw back as many pints of Guinness as possible…I always like to be patriotic, I had eaten my full English, progressed to Guinness and, only to settle the stomach you understand, the Italian in me demanded Sambucca to round the night off). You may, or may not, be surprised to learn that not much of the match was all that familiar to me.
With the liver resembling a foie gras I think I may well be watching round two reclined on the sofa, sipping mineral water, eating a light salad.
As well as struggling to find my way around a website or two, one of the many other signs of the onset of middle age is the remaining ability to drink like a fish, it could be considered a disability actually, (do fish drink? I know they live in water, but no one goes around saying he breathes like a human do they?) but taking two days to recover – Sunday lethargy, Monday depression, though this is not helped by the President of the United States of America…there is so much material here that I can’t be bothered. In fact he reminds me of General Melchett in terms of leadership, subtlety, strategy, diplomacy and intelligence and whenever he appears, or is quoted, I picture a fully moustachioed Stephen Fry above my head in a bubble (a la Reggie Perrin or Bully the cartoon Bull from Bullseye) bellowing ‘ARSE’! Coarse, I know, but if the cap fits, and I’m not sure the Trumpster does subtle..
And so I leave you, to dream once more of the cleated boot upon hallowed turf, this time we traverse the western borders to the land of Wales where there may well be a welcome in the hillside but there will be little welcome in the fortress on the banks of the river Taff.