Back in the real world

Weary, both from the walk, and a long wait at Bilbao, I was ready for a lie-down.

As I emerged into the arrivals hall at Heathrow, I was met by the four ladies in the picture and their banner. The grown ups are Kate and my wife Margaret. The wee ones are Kate’s daughter Jessica and her friend Ivy.

For Barbarians – Kate was known to us all as Bob (merci, Rowan Atkinson), and is part of the Dexter-Smith clan. The banner, it must be said, is a work of art, entirely completed by Jessica and Ivy and now a prized-possession.

What a fantastic surprise! A huge thank you.

img_0676

The camino.

What can I say?

It will come as no great shock to you that I can, in fact, say quite a lot.

Add in the reflections on the Tight Head and the Talonneur, and it might run to a book…

That’s the plan. I am going to put together a short e-book, which will go on sale through Amazon. All royalties from the sales will go to Our Lady’s Hospice.

The book will not be expensive, nor will it be War and Peace. It will however be funny. Believe me when I say, that in a month of Sundays, I could not have dreamed up some of the stuff that happened. I am hoping to bully my extremely talented and busy writing-buddy Amanda Fleet into editing it for us, which will increase the quality ten-fold.

This is where you come in.

Can you persuade/cajole/bully/beat your friends into buying a copy?

We really appreciate that many of you have already donated and we are grateful for your generosity.

Naturally – I will publish some posts here. The Duck took some stunning pictures for a start, but as he says,

“Buy the book. It’s the real stuff.”

Entente Cordiale

It’s National Poetry day here in the UK and the Tight-head has come across all lyrical.

entente_cordiale_dancing

‘Agincourt, Waterloo and all the rest; not to be trusted, the French. Garlic-eating, cheese-munching surrender-monkeys, The French.’
Germain, Jean Christophe, Franck and Laurent are French and yet, THEY are the ones walking with us: Curious lot, The French.
Terry was irascible, difficult-to-know, hated fakes, kicked people in the shins and yet he seemed to love The French.
He loved visiting France, especially Bayonne, going into the mountains, drinking, eating and sharing his pleasure with The French.
They have a lot to answer for, The French.
I don’t know much, but I think I like The French.
Even though they are French.

Stuart Smith – 6th October 2016

I have no idea what has come across our wafer-thin friend, but I feel certain that ‘The French’ will beat it out of him by suppertime on Sunday.

Thank you once again to all of those who have donated. Should you need any love poetry to woo the apple of your eye, Stuart is writing to order in return for donations…

Ultreia!

Team Apparel

Once again, a word from the Tight Head, or perhaps ‘Pin-head’ might be more appropriate? Is it me or is his head now too big for his body? I, of course, still have the inverse problem…

t-shirts

As is well-known, behind every ‘good’ man, stands, well in this case, three, good women; Lil, Terry’s wife, the long-suffering Ger and Brid Buchan (wife of Raymond Ultra Marathon runner and pacemaker in the ‘Are we there yet?’ training walk of Howth hill).

Lil and Brid came to drop off these wonderful T Shirts courtesy of Maria from Off the Wall Promotions. The modelling was done by yours truly, and has already attracted some unkind comments from my fellow front-row colleagues; intimating that my physique may be more suited to open side flanker or, heresy of heresies – the back line…

ss-tshirt-upright
Despite the fact that all props and hookers have thick skins, honestly, a scrum-half? Really, was that absolutely necessary Mr Lennon?

I look forward to these shirts becoming an emblem of all we intend to give back in the name of a good man over these next few years. Of course, I fully expect them to turn up in pubs and restaurants in Ireland, France, Spain and England for the foreseeable future, witness to great deeds of middle-aged daring-do.

If you have already donated, thanks from the bottom of our hearts. Please feel absolutely free to do so again. 🙂

If not, time to get the wallet out and bang us over a few quid.

A Memory of Terry

prague-babas-001

Once again, the tight head has some words of wisdom for you all.

‘What are you going to do for your stag weekend Stu?’ Bishop mused.

‘Oh, I don’t know, few pints with the lads, bit of dinner; the usual.’ I replied.

Two weeks later, I found that the PBRFC machinery had cranked into gear and the ‘Cork Tour’ had, in fact, become my stag weekend.

As a member of the three judges, otherwise known as the ‘Three Wise Men’, I felt I was pretty safe with regards to the Kangaroo court. I hadn’t counted on the machiavellian abilities of one T. Anderson.

As you will note from this picture, I am wearing an orange bed sheet, a Fez, a green apron and a pair of pantaloons to preserve my modesty.

At the time of the photo I had been so attired for 48 hours, and as you may note, was really looking forward to the next 24.

How did I get to such a pretty pass I hear you whisper? A man of my implacable will, exalted judging credentials…

‘Smithee, enough of this Wise Old T@@t stuff, you are the tour Fag.’

Slave for the weekend; get the beers, serve them, wake everyone up, get them hither and thither, drink any spare fines. (This, at least, I was modestly good at.)

Vintage Anderson, and all this from a man wearing a wide brimmed floral hat and carrying a purloined road sign.

If you were in this photo and have donated, Merci Chef, if not, then I advise you to do so lickety spit, otherwise Me, the Fez and the orange sheet may gatecrash a dinner party of yours soon.

And that would be, to use a Bishopism, not nice…