Saturday, June 03, 2006

Perfect Day / Albert Camus

Perfect Day

Lewes Garret 9.33am. A beautiful Sussex day. Phew, what a scorcher! – as we used to say on Fleet Street. I slept like a log. 

Felt quite ill after tea yesterday. My workload, all the prescription drugs et cetera had got on top of me. My chiropractor thinks I am getting better, although it is not at any great rate. While she was pummelling my back yesterday, she told me an amazing story about her dad.

Apparently her placid old man, a former pilot, had got into a road rage incident with another old age pensioner. The other crone had been driving on the dad's tail and received the traditional two-fingered salute.

When the dad rolled up at a nearby service station, the other OAP had appeared like an old bat out of nowhere and started battering his windscreen with a walking stick –so powerfully that the cane broke in two.

Instead of doing the sensible thing of driving off (NEVER get out of the car where road rage is concerned!), the dad got out to try to tackle the raging oldster.

Predictably enough, he himself was battered and retreated to the car and drove off. What happened next is a little unclear in my mind, but somehow the other guy, who later said he was disabled, fell and injured himself.

He went to the accident and emergency department of a local hospital and then made a complaint to the police about my back doctor's dad.

While I was lying almost naked in her surgery yesterday, she told me the state of play was that he was being interviewed by the police with an expectation – plighted to him by his solicitor - that he would be let off with a caution.

But, no, when my chiropractor telephoned her dad, it seems he is going to be charged with assault. How very unfortunate!

It has turned into the battle of the Victor Meldrews!

Lewes Garret, Living Room. 7.48pm. It has been an idyllic English summer's day. There are so few of them that when one arrives of a weekend it is a special treat indeed.

After stuffing myself full of liquid Nurofen to arrest more back pain, we traipsed off on the train to Hastings which was more beautiful than I have ever seen it. And it was not even particularly busy.

The weather was Mediterranean – turquoise sea, cloudless deep blue sky, intense heat on the face. It reminded me of Cannes in the late spring. God, how fantastic!

I was equipped with three cameras: my 1961 Kodak Retina, 1970s Nikon FM with superb 200mm and 28mm lenses, and my 2005 mobile phone camera, which hardly represents progress. Nonetheless, I took pictures with the full trinity during the course of the day.

Lunched at the Neptune, the best fish and chip restaurant in Hastings. The food is always superb and the service divine.

After lunch I walked past the tall, black fishermen's huts and the whitewashed yacht club onto the rocky shore.

I got home at around six and immediately went out again to the supermarket, buying salad, gravadlax, sausages, cheese, and bottled beer. Made a mega-salad, which was rather tasty, with plenty left over .

Then, another excellent episode of Dr Who – starring The Devil.

As I sip my second Grolsch and see the sun gently go down over our Sussex garden, I cannot help but reflect it has been the Perfect Day.

Albert Camus (Flashback to Thursday, 1 June 2006)

Lewes Garret. 10.14pm. Totally knackered! I have driven 370 miles today and been at the wheel for more than eight hours, in between working frenetically in bright Welsh mountain sunshine and heat.

I loved the drive there from the Leamington Garret – you could see the Brecon Beacons from about 50 miles away, and, motoring westward, the landscape became more and more beautiful. I stopped for breakfast at a garage cafe straight out of the 1950s. Forget Little Chef, this was the Real McCoy.

At the event, I met a photographer called Mari. For some reason I told her about my bag having belonged to the French writer Albert Camus (pictured at the top of this page).

To my amazement she said: 'I did my dissertation on Albert Camus while studying history in France.' Coincidence piles on coincidence. Extraordinary!

Tonight is the eve of the launch of Oliver's Poetry.

I am not ready but, tired as I am, I have been trying to fix up the blog, and put up a poem by me, and one by Byron.  

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