Life is a novel that comes with all the twists and turns in all the sizes. Just when you think there’s light at the end of a tunnel, it’s a train coming straight for you….so you leap into a small alcove to one side. Meanwhile, on the train, police are searching every passenger because they know that a bloke guilty of robbery is on the train, and has the stash of cash about his person.

In desperation – he being a three-time loser, and having run out of carriages in which to hide – said villain chucks his booty off the back of the train. As the last carriage passes you by, the relief at being alive overwhelms almost every other emotion. You stumble towards the real light, trip over the stash of cash and bang your head on a rail.

Regaining consciousness, you kick the sack in frustration….and see a profusion of €100 notes spill out. Once out of the tunnel at last, you count up the money and realise you are rich beyond your wildest dreams. But on the way back to your village, Greece defaults, 16 Spanish banks collapse, Mario Draghi commits suicide and Italy relaunches the lira. Walking into the local bank to deposit the money, you discover that your entire haul is now worth $7.68, and falling fast.

Despondent, you amble outside and carelessly bump into a load of groceries behind which is a female person you cannot see. Good breeding kicks in, and without knowing whether the lady is the back of a 90-year-old bus or Katie Meluah, you apologise in perfectly gallant tones, and pick up all the groceries. It turns out the woman is Amna Ilyas. She immediately declares her undying love for you.

The shock gives you a fatal heart attack.


It’s been that sort of day for me. At long last my UK State Health Insurance certificates arrived, thus allowing me to join the CPAM here in France and be awarded the coveted Carte Vitale. But in order to claim the prize, I needed to pitch up with my Birth Certificate. Supremely confident that I knew exactly where it was, I set off on a simple five-minute check of my files. It turned into a fruitless two-hour search for the proof of who I am.

However, along the way I unearthed a long-sought-after form proving that I am the owner of some UK National Savings certificates. Soon afterwards I discovered just how long-winded a process it would be (signatures in triplicate via snail-mail etc) to grasp whatever crumbs are still left in the account. Disgruntled, I went out in search of something nice to cook for the evening, and on the way spotted an electrical repair shop. I explained that I had this crappy Italian washing machine which had been rendered useless a few days after the guarantee ran out by the even crappier Chinese circuit board controlling the spin cycle. They agreed on the spot to turn up tomorrow afternoon and fix it.

Venturing further forth to Lidl, I discovered a near sell-by date marinaded wild boar cut reduced by 30%.

So it was with light heart that I began cutting the grass with my trusty tractor mower. But when I switched the engine to ‘cut’, it spluttered and belched out blue smoke. So I propped the machine up on stilts and saw the not uncommon twisted blade-belt syndrome. The oaths uttered for some time afterwards were of an historic blue colour, but in fixing the belt, my tortured fingers came upon an oddly light but hard plastic thing in the grass below. It turned out to be my favourite reading glasses, lost on a winter’s evening some months ago.

Much grass was cut, until the machine refused to climb a hill it would normally conquer with ease. The cause was a puncture to the offside rear tyre. It was 7.00 pm by this time – the end of a perfect clear warm Spring day – and so I went back inside in search of a wild boar recipe. This I found at Jamie Oliver’s cooking site. As with most things this chap suggests, it was easy and tasted absolutely terrific.

Tomorrow is another day, and there’s a very good chance my much-hammered heart and/or liver will give out during the night. But if not, then there is always Tonon et Fils to get me back on the grass again.