Wimbledon: Murray Mania

IF you have noticed that the women in your life are more irritable and distracted than usual then don’t worry. It’s only Wimbledon and they’re all suffering from Murray Mania.

This condition involves hot flushes whenever the Scot is playing and palpitations whenever his adoring multitudes are lucky enough to see him change his shirt.

Other symptoms include breathlessness which lasts the whole time he remains in the competition and tears when he doesn’t.

There is no rhyme or reason for this female metamorphosis since Murray is no different from any other man women are likely to come across.

OK, maybe he can still see his feet when the rest of us can’t because our view is blocked by water retention and I grant you that he can still move without a zimmer frame, but that is no reason for our women to spurn us quite so cavalierly.

After due consideration, I’ve put the female race’s annual two week rejection of their lords – if not their masters – down to the fact that mere mortal men like ourselves are known quantities whereas Murray offers the allure of being mean, moody and unattainable.

But men will just have to get used to the fact that things won’t change and above all else avoid making things worse by trying to emulate women’s highland dreamboat.

Stalking down at breakfast and issuing peremptory demands for a bowl of porridge “and be quick about it” will generate the required speedy response, but you’ll end up wearing your porridge rather than eating it.

And definitely don’t try and smash any crockery in the style of Murray smashing his racket or there will be an Arctic-like response and a few clipped sentences about that vase being a gift from her mother.

Just leaves things be, pull up the mental drawbridge, get in a few beers and make sure you’ve got the number of the local takeaway.

Did I not mention food? Oh, in that case know that fending for yourself is a useful talent during Wimbledon unless you like sausages and custard followed by toad-in-the-crumble because it’s a real possibility that that’s what your partner may serve you.

Any suggestion of miff with her offering will be dismissed with: “Well Murray was in a tiebreak. Do your own meal next time!” followed by retirement to the TV.

This is clearly “Advantage woman” and that is usually followed by game, set and match because she can return any of your serves with ferocious interest.

So decide early that it just isn’t worth all the grief and book a couple of weeks away with the boys hitting the bars in Benidorm.

She won’t notice you’ve gone and, when you do return, to a house with the curtains drawn and flickering images of white-clad figures on the wall, she’ll probably say: “Oh, there you are. I thought you were down the garden.” You won’t be missed and you can’t compete.



Fathers’ Day

TODAY is Father’s Day….and, boy, is it easy to spot all the usual signs.

For a start off it’s raining, or it is here in Weymouth.

Having set a nice drippy, overcast theme, the day began in total silence broken only by my solitary footsteps downstairs to prepare my breakfast. Wife, son and daughter were all still upstairs asleep.

The gloomy theme continued with police clashing with protestors in Istanbul and the world’s entire supply of security fencing being put up for the G8 summit in Northern Ireland…where it was also raining.

One of the few rays of sunshine in the entire day was the fact I’d squeezed out enough spare time the previous day to mow all the lawns in the dry.

Cheered by the news that I was not the only one in the world having a less than perfect start to the day, I put on traditional English summer garb – a thick all-weather anorak – grabbed my umbrella and went out to cover a few jobs for my newspaper.

I still had enough time to do that and return home in the rain to the same silence. Everyone else was still in bed.

By the time I’d finished writing up my jobs my wife had surfaced…in time to request a swede from the supermarket “as you’re going there anyway”, so it was off out again to collect a few items from Asda in the rain before going to visit my father in the rain to deliver his presents and card which all went down very well.

It was still raining when I finally got home….by which time we had to get things together for daughter’s return trip to Nottingham University because we had to drive her to the railway station…in the rain.

Lunch followed indoors so it was dry and, incredibly, it was also dry outdoors, so as soon as we’d finished eating we all piled into the car and went out to the Lookout Cafe at Bowleaze Cove overlooking the Lodmoor nature reserve and the sweep of the Preston sea wall on to the Pavilion in the west and round the other way along towards Lulworth in the east.

More clouds initially but the sun slowly peeped through and we managed a nice cup of tea albeit firmly indoors away from a cold breeze which was sending clouds scudding overhead.

Better and better, England were playing a crucial cricket match against New Zealand and we won…it took six pints for them to win but a win is a win no matter how in or out of focus it ish!

So I’m sat here now, a nice pork steak evening meal comfortably inside me, and all I have to worry about is, will my daughter get home safe? She’s just texted us to say the white slavers haven’t got her, so perhaps I’ll enjoy a nice Calvados before kissing goodbye to another Father’s Day celebration where nearest and dearest do their best to give you a good time.

Oi, son! You sure the bar bill was that much?!


GOOD God! Sunshine and lots of it. Whatever will they think of next?

Don’t they know an Englishman is at his best when his stiff upper lip has raindrops hanging from it and a few more trickling down his neck?

 What are we all to do now everyone can see our faces and everyday clothing unobscured by all-weather anoraks and hoods?

For an obvious start, some people actually benefit by having their faces kept from public view, myself probably included in that, but the real test of sunshine is people’s choice of clothing.

What a peacock’s array that can produce and, just having come back from town and the seafront, it seems that the latest Parish fashions have given Weymouth a miss.

There was no chic silk and swirling summer dresses for women or snappy linen outfits for men but, in their places, there was still plenty of effort to make a fashion statement…even if that statement did seem to be “I have no dress sense at all”.

But hey! We can’t all be dedicated followers of fashion and the nearest I’ve ever got to it was listening to the immortal song Ray Davies wrote for The Kinks.

Few people in my zone would be seeking a dedicated follower of fashion, but one man I saw clearly fancied himself in the role.

Sporting a panama with a feather jauntily stuck in the hat band, his white trousers and purple belt were offset by a vomit-coloured shirt and spangled braces. He got ten out of ten for courage but clearly needed encouragement to seek medical help.

Women, too, seem to have thrown caution to the winds, inflamed by the heat and a chance to freshen up faded tans to a ferocious lobster pink.

Trouble was, you could see so many of them had been at for a couple of days because of the bands of white where blouse or bra straps had shifted slightly.

What clothing they were wearing varied from flimsy tops with obligatory floral stitching to rampant insanity in the form of zebra-stripe leggings, leather skirts and boob tubes tastefully set off by coloured hair straight out of Nightmares R Us. No wonder so many people wear sunglasses!

And of course Christmas feasting, Easter chocolate and Aunt Ethel’s 70th birthday celebrations have taken their waistline toll, so the female form is, well, perhaps a little fuller than its owner would like at the start of summer.

The result is that all the clothes which fitted last year are creaking at the seams this year with outfits filled to bursting point revealing every unflattering spare tyre.

The tears that must have been shed when summer dresses, tops and shirts were tried on for first time this year must have filled Olympic swimming pools many times over, but the wearers still seem to have decided to go ahead.

Perhaps they reason that a silhouette like Michelin Man is only a passing phase they can deal with by eating a few salads.

Whatever their thinking, the crowds I’ve seen in town and along the seafront recently will need to consume a veritable market garden’s worth of salad to even dent the rolls of fat on offer.

With luck and fierce dieting people may slim down a bit ready for carnival….by which time the summer season will be virtually over and it will be time to disturb the moths and get out the cardies and pullovers to cover up again ready for nine months of English winter.