Posted by: Chris Wright | May 1, 2008

Perry plays to win

The London Irish is a once yearly festival celebrating the fine art of rugby football, played by juveniles representing the many clubs across the uk and Ireland. A crowd of nearly 10,000 people gathered to watch these troglodytes batter seven bells out of one another, while their competitive fathers, raining obsceneties down on their hapless offspring, relived their glory days – before the guinness added a shade of puce less bucolic than shambolic.

Margaux, as is her wont, bullied me out of the house at a rudely early hour, still, once the Bentley had been coaxed into life by Greaves, (still nursing a broken wrist from the last encounter), the rugs and hampers loaded into the back, we sailed along the country roads to Ealing, home of the famous London Irish club, there to while away the day in tranquility….

Arriving, and successfully parking beside the practice pitch, we were rudely accosted by a member of her majesties constabulary and advised to produce road tax documentation for the Bentley! Have you ever heard such rubbish – the man, barely literate and thoroughly over excited instructed us in no uncertain terms to remove ‘that banger’ to the parking lot and present ourselves within 24 hours bearing documentation at Ealing police station. Margaux was inexplicably quiet throughout this exchange, fixing me with a look that the casual bystander may have interpreted as malicious.

We struck out for the pitch ‘A’, Greaves staggering about in our wake with the rugs and hampers, buffeted at every turn by hobnailed urchins clad in rainbow hued shirts – Margaux patiently explaining to me that these represented the various clubs on display. Choosing a suitably sunny spot, I turned around to instruct Greaves in the precise layout of the rugs, only to find the infernal man had disappeared – casting an anxious eye across the horizon I saw him tottering across the field surrounded by a phalanx of jeering, red faced guttersnipes. Margaux’s restraining arm prevented me from assailing the bloody man – much more of this blithering incompetence will test my patience to the limit.

Opening the hamper should be the crowning moment of a properly prepared picnic, so my astonishment on finding that Margaux had provided only vegetarian fare of the most apalling and utilitarian kind was only exceeeded by my fury when I discovered that instead of the expected creamy magnificence of french cheeses, there was only shrink wrapped cheddar in bite sized lumps.

Grumbling unhappily to myself I opened the refrigerated wine cooler with trepidation, half expecting to find Elderflower cordial or some such nonsense. Thankfully Margaux’s well intentioned meddling had fallen short of interfering with the choice of wine, so chewing grimly on a Falafel, I uncorked the Vignoble Du Sud Chardonnay and passed an appreciative nose over the bottle. Slightly flowery, with the merest hint of peach and refreshingly brisk on the palate, this wine could rescue the most drab and undigestible fare – the afternoon quickly passed in succession of incomprehensible tourneys, played out between the expatriate offspring of the Irish hordes – my attention was absorbed by the extraordinary sight of a female referee, whose ample thighs provided an eye watering diversion from the trench warfare unfolding around her.

Greaves was found, as usual, drunk as a lord in the public bar – that man is a liability, so banished to the boot, while Margaux drove, the only blight on the day was the cacophonous sound of the bloody fool’s snoring as we meandered our way back to Buckinghamshire.

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