Sunday, 10 February 2008

The beautiful game

Listening to: Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers (ZZ Top)
Weather: fabulous
Pig shelter update: nearly done
Birds: half-a-dozen Fulmars gliding three or four feet above our heads

One of Malc's fundamental rules of Rugby Union is "avoid at all costs any player who looks like a folk singer".

Don't be fooled by the beard, 'comfortable' stomach and jolly demeanour. I don't care if he has a nice collection of Aran jumpers, Mr Folk Singer will be a psychopath - I absolutely guarantee it and have had the cuts and bruises to prove it.

I feared the worst for Westray's brave lads as they lined up for a fixture against what was casually termed an 'Isles Select XV' on Saturday. The visiting captain had thick greying hair, an equally impressive beard and he looked ready to whip out a mandolin at the slightest provocation.

He was also built on the generous side - and he wasn't alone. Six or seven of the visitors looked as if they had spent a lifetime muscling in at the front of the dinner queue. Westray's players looked underfed by comparison - maybe a stone a man worse off, but strange things can happen when you're as keen as Colman's and the expected thrashing failed to materialise, Westray coming a narrow second.

I had a pint with the chairman and a couple of others afterwards, explained very patiently - several times - that I was far too old to come out of retirement and that, even in what I laughingly think of as my prime, I wouldn't have been much of an asset. I did, however, talk myself into writing the match report for the local papers.

Considering I have no idea who any of the players are, or what the score was, it could be a challenge - still, won't be the first time.

That was yesterday. Today has been a strange one. The weather continues to be wonderful. Daffodils and crocuses are showing through and will be in flower soon.

Mrs TPF and I took a walk on Mae Sand, arguably Westray's most beautiful beach (the competition is stiff, to say the least). Owen chased stones into the sea, while Spike zoomed from side to side on his extendable lead.

We watched the Fulmars glide overhead, checking us out as we neared their nesting sites. A small flock of turnstones pottered around at the waterline, while oystercatchers squabbled on the rocks.

I cooked a full Sunday dinner and then it was time for Sal to drive down to the ferry. She's over to Kirkwall to start work tomorrow and, while I'm not thrilled about being on my own during the week, it's very much better than her going back to England for months at a time.

I just hope Orkney social services realise how bloody lucky they are to have her.


Daphne said...

I enjoy your writing very much. But, to be fair, I'd be on your blog every day anyway just in the hope of coming across more places like this beach.

Dave said...

Owen is your son, right? Or is that Spike? I do get confused by all the relatives bloggers mention.

How are Pinkie and Perkie?

Anonymous said...

The only folk-singers I know are weedy types who think they're bob dylan. I don't think they'd be very useful on the rugby pitch.

Its been ages since i watched any rugby. It's all been passing over my head, so immersed in 'work' I have been.

That photo makes me miss my Devonian seaside home. Almost - they are no chavs.

I, still, like the views said...

good luck Sal! presumably you'll be able to pop over and visit her mid week. . .

thanks for the walk on the beach - I really enjoyed it, blew the cobwebs right out of my brain and I needed the fresh air to clear my head

so, is your new team going to be another Nation in the Six Nations then!

Malc said...


It is a cracker. Facing south-east, it's great for windsurfing in summer. We were a little put out to find someone else down there on Sunday!


Oh dear! Right. . .
Trainee Pig Farmer = me/hopeless dreamer/dimwit
Mrs TPF/Sal = wife/breadwinner
Owen = nice, but dim collie/spaniel cross
Spike = aggressive, unreliable, cute, clever Jack Russell
Eric and Ernie = pigs
The Boy = son
The Youngest = daughter
The Stepson = one of four stepchildren.

Got that?


Rugby used to pass over my head when I played, mostly as I was face down in the mud, gurgling in pain.


She's settling in well and seems to like it. I'm going over to stay Thursday night.

We're having a spectacular run of weather here, so walks on the beach are fabulous.

I'll suggest the Six Nations application at the club's AGM.

mig bardsley said...

I love your beach!
Would the pigs like a lodger?