Last minute bits and bobs

Samuel Et’o’s Cameroon are the first team to be eliminated from the 2010 World Cup. This is a shame given that their match last night against Denmark was easily the best thus far. However, Nicolas Anelka got the march on them as, having had words with his manager, he too made a speedy exit without passing “Go” and without collecting £200.

I’ve been dipping in and out of the Tour of Switzerland which seems to have been plagued by rather wet weather. We know Switzerland well and it’s always interesting to see them riding through areas we ourselves have visited. For example, they descended the Albula Pass into La Punt where we’ve spent many a week end cross-country skiing. When my beloved was working in Constance, I would fly over on Friday evening to Zurich, he would pick me up and we would drive up to the Engadine to ski. We stayed in a small family-run hotel in La Punt who, due to the lateness of our arrival, would leave us a key under the flowerpot on the front step (where else). We haven’t been for a few years but nothing much seems to have changed in the meantime.

This morning we’re posing for the annual club photo. My beloved is acting as official photographer and is taking this new responsibility very seriously. He’s fished my tri-pod out of the cave and has mounted his camera on it. This now poses me something of a dilemma, who do I stand next to? A couple of new members weigh more than me so I’m probably now only the 6th or 7th heaviest in the club, but will the others turn up? Or, horror of horrors, will M le President insist on having the bureau all together? If he does, I’m going to stand behind him and the Treasurer: they’re both shorter and lighter than me.

After the photographs, it’s back home, a speedy change and off to the station to catch the train to Paris. Yes, my list is all ticked off, the bike is neatly packed into its case, and I’m raring to go. Yesterday afternoon, I picked up the final piece of the jigsaw: my Stars’ n Bars, made specially for me by the owner of my LBS. With those for fuel, 500km should be no trouble!

Hotch potch

Yesterday, I had a very special, overnight visitor, my neighbour’s daughter. She is a truly delightful child, a credit to her parents and teachers. She came for dinner which we prepared and ate together, before settling down to watch the football match.

We’d already had a lively discussion over dinner about rugby. She’d seen her first match this summer, Toulouse v Brive. So she was more than happy to

Ireland v France
I rest my case

watch the Ireland v France match with me. After Anelka scored in the 72nd minute from a Gourcuff assist, she  promptly fell asleep on the sofa, secure in the knowledge that France were now much more likely to be South Africa bound.

It was a tight match which, frankly, could have gone either way. Tellingly, the man of the match was the French goalkeeper, and ex-OGCN player, Hugo Lloris. Though I should add that the  French scored more heavily in a couple of departments by comparison with the Irish: cooler kit (Adidas) and better looks (IMHO).

Earlier, I had watched an understrength England be dazzled by the Brazilians in Doha, Qatar. Ex-Villan, Gareth Barry was easily England’s best player in their 1-0 defeat.

My overnight guest was collected early this morning to allow me to leave for the pointage in Cannes. As I cycled past the hippodrome, I joined up with a group of cyclists, including a guy I rode with last week. To my surprise I managed to stay with them all the way to the pointage. I had anticipated that at some point I would be joined, and overtaken, by riders from my club. But they hadn’t arrived by the time I departed the pointage, returning home via Mouans Sartoux and Mougins.

I then had a quick turn around as I was meeting a friend for lunch. We were celebrating her new job in New York where, among  other things, she’s going to be looking after shipments of Chanel into the East Coast. I’m truly pleased for her. She’s worked really hard to build the up the company’s operation in Nice and needed another challenge. I will miss her, but have already signaled my intention to visit her next year in the Big Apple.

I’m now in my nightwear contemplating either an evening curled up on the sofa watching the TV or an early night with Jens Voigt’s biography. Reading in bed is another of my guilty pleasures and one which I can indulge only when my beloved is away, and he’s away until Thursday.