Stop the clock

I WENT without my cup of tea and biscuit before this morning’s swim. I thought it may have an effect on my time, and it did: 800 metres in 20 minutes 20 seconds – the slowest since I can’t remember when!

What is going on? Three possibilities come to mind: Either (now or in the past) I miscalculate the distance I’ve swum, or (now or in the past) I misread the pool clock, or I have got five years slower in one week.

I am not sure which option gives me the least discomfort. I have, however, come up with a foolproof method to solve my dilemma. I am going to stop timing my swim. Smart.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle in the Retired Blokes Swimming Club this morning. I was just catching my breath after my 800 metres when I heard a female voice in the next lane exclaim: “What on earth are you doing?” The retired bloke’s head bobbing alongside her muttered something inaudible. “Oh, just go, go!” said the imperious female. He went. If a man can skulk while executing an inexpert breaststroke, this man skulked.

I recognised him as soon as he walked into the dressing room where I’d just finished showering. I thought I’d enquire as to what had been going on in the pool. The words “stroppy cow” hung about my lips but went unsaid. What I actually said was “Was that woman having a go at you?”

“Woman?” He said. “Woman? Oh, you mean my wife. I tried to overtake her.”

Rash behaviour.

I read some more of The Trigger this afternoon. Tim Butcher and his companion are retracing the steps that led Gavrilo Princip from a Bosnian hamlet to the street corner in Sarajevo where he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand with the pistol shots that signalled the start of World War One.

It is a simple and clever idea; but I must admit I’m looking forward to the book having a bit more Princip and a bit less Butcher.

I’m having a rethink about The Wine List. Until now I’ve been blogging about  whatever we had in the house; it strikes me this is not so much a retirement project as random drinking. So I’ve done what any self-respecting Retired Bloke would do; I’ve Made A List.

Now I’m going to work my way alphabetically through the grapes in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. I’ve listed the first five red and white wine grapes I’m going to sample:

Red = Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Carmenere.

White = Albarino, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Colombard, and Garganega.

If anybody has a particular favourite wine made from any of these grapes, please let me know.

The Daughter Who Left Home (But Returned) has just come in from another fraught day on the phones, eager to let me know that one of today’s callers had come up with a new insult: politician; as in “That is such a Politician’s answer!”

So I poured us both a restorative glass of Primitivo. Cheers everybody!


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