Hot on the heels of Clive’s double came Ian’s extended fun fest. The function room of a posh gastropub overlooking Victoria Park in East London was the host for the opening episode. Squally showers did nothing to dampen our spirits as we partied the afternoon away entertained by faces old and new. Drinks were plentiful and complementary and the bash bounced along to the naff sounds of Eurovision. The annual song-fest is a huge but harmless addiction for Ian and his partner, Matt. At the close of play it was back to their Bow penthouse for more liquid refreshment and more Eurovision. They wisely invested in their top storey pad just after London won the Olympics and their balcony directly overlooks the grand stadium. Since it is easier to win the lottery than secure a seat at the opening ceremony, I know where we’ll be on opening night.
Our Euro adventure ended with a final flourish in a French farmhouse a few miles outside Bordeaux. Ian rented a four bedroom pile that oozed rustic Gallic charm and invited along his nearest and dearest to sample his hospitality and clear out his wine cellar. The weather was kind and we had two boozy days of wit and repartee around the bracing pool. Ian and Matt played the gracious hosts with the most with understated panache and saintly patience. Our glasses were never empty as we sank the Bordeaux in Bordeaux and the table was always set for endless fine French fare. The final night’s jollity had Clive and Angus dancing a rumba in the kitchen and me doing something rather obscene with a banana. When Clive makes it as a full-time thespian he’ll be the odds on favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing. ‘Not with my arthritis,’ he yelled from the wings. I’m sure the Bow Belles were glad to see the back of us when we departed, if only to get some rest. I was carrying my liver home in a jiffy bag.
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