I have had my hair cut since this photo was taken!
Refereed the second game of the season. I travelled all the way to Market Bosworth to find out that there was an Assessor there waiting to assess my performance. There was also two other Assessors there to assess the other two refs there that day, what is the world coming to? I pointed out that this was probably my last season refereeing as I was getting on a bit now and found it a bit of struggle to keep up with the young wingers. After the match he said there were no problems, but he agreed I was a bit slow on the long runs. Cheeky sod!!! I could give HIM a 20m start over 100m and beat him! I may referee next season now.
On the Sunday I drove down to Stansted via London (must pay attention to the SatNav) with Roger and we caught a Ryan air flight to Ancona. Joan and Phil were there waiting to pick us up. We were keen to inspect the grapes when we arrived and it wasn’t long before we trotted down to see the vines. They were in a sorry state, the dreaded mildew (or something like it) had got at them. There were masses of bunches but most had failed to fill out. It would have been a bumper crop if they had. Sadly we spent our first session cutting the shrivelled bunches from the vines. A few days later we picked the ones that were left and watched Joan and Phil start the wine making process, it was quite fascinating. I had my camera at the ready just in case Joan fell in or out of the grape treading trough, but sadly it didn’t happen (see photos). It made 11 litres of juice which I am informed should make 10 litres of wine.
We had quite a busy time. We visited the sea-side one day and though we didn’t paddle in the sea I did take a good photo of some gulls. We also visited quite a lot of hilltop towns, saw a lot of cats and priests and of course the views are quite stunning. Wags got taken for a walk by Roger and myself one afternoon. He came back with us and stayed the night and most of the following day before Luke (his owner) picked him up. We visited a friend called Janet and her husband Malcolm, they live the other side of the town and keep chickens (they think they are human and behave like it). Janet talks a lot, the trick is just to listen and smile a lot, Malcolm takes a lot of walks.
My favourite day was when we visited the mountains and took what we thought was the shorter of two walks. In fact after checking up on Google earth on my phone, it became apparent that our path was several miles longer than the other. It is shame I didn’t think to check that until after we had exhausted ourselves. On the return journey back to the car we walked through a tunnel and I tripped, which caused me stumble then sprint blindly through the dark, before steadying myself. Who said it I was slow? It is not well known, but my pace in the dark is blistering! When we returned to the car, Joan provided a very acceptable picnic out of one of those bags that women always seem to be able to produce when the need arises. Bless ‘em. http://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/static.panoramio.com/photos/original/11938480.jpg
The day before we flew home we accompanied Joan and Phil to a party hosted by a couple from Edinburgh (don’t normally like Scots, but they were ok as they were keen gardeners). They had a lovely house and pool set on the side of a cliff, but strangely no garden. Apparently their garden back in the UK is listed in Yellow Pages, I am assured that means it is pretty good.
Appropriately the weather had turned a little chilly as we left and there was drizzle in the air, but we didn’t care as we had a tan to show off back home and a few extra pounds of opulence around our middle regions, courtesy of Joan’s superb cooking skills that makes rabbit food very appetising and more-ish (and of course I did). Looking forward to meeting the vine-weevils in the spring.
I only had four days before Sue, Sarah and I were to fly to the Azores, but I managed to do a bit of digging in at the allotment (must see if I can get in in Yellow Pages) and of course I refereed a rugby match that was notable for the athleticism of the Ref. Charlotte, Suraj, Lucas and Ellis came down to look after the house and Jamie as well as saving a bit of money on travelling.
Jamie was getting to grips with the paperwork involved in buying a property. I think he finds it all quite confusing, but then I did too when we bought our first house. Suraj and Charlotte were going to help him while we are away.