D-Day All over Again

Thursday 5th August 2021

At last we were released for travel to Normandy for the usual Norman fastness at Laura Malcolm and Matt Driver’s Norman fastness. Racked with strain in the Eurotunnel, I had the thought ‘What if France is put on the Red List?’ mainly as a way of preventing that thing from happening. But the second I gained Normandy, rumours were flying: France to be put on the Red List. If only I hadn’t thought it, maybe it wouldn’t have happened. I spent the first night writhing, engulfed by the prison-hotel prospect especially the pellets left outside the room supposed to be food, even though you’re paying for it. It was as if one’s whole life had turned against one, when you think of all the struggle I’ve had to get into the best hotels. Little comfort that after 14 days confinement one would still be alive. By morning, the Red List was receding, the threat stoked by the so-called media needing clicks, perhaps. Although the story originated in the dear precious Graph which has been such a consolation in this agony.

After that, mere 5-day quarantine and 5 costly tests was as nothing. Damnation, we were going to forge ahead with Normandy, as in ’44, hurling out of the way the Panzer divisions and all other filth. Beamish O’Halloran and Moira McMatron arrived. They’d received the threats at Portsmouth and could have turned back. But no, they went bravely on, having none of it.

Matt Driver went out in the daytime, to a devastatingly anonymous hotel on the outskirts of the nearby town, barely any stars at all. The idea was to get better wifi in order to carry on his thrusting as a world taste-shaper and purchasing-patterns controller. But a man alone in a hotel room in an establishment run by a woman with no apparent husband to keep intruders at bay… you can imagine the ribaldry. Meanwhile Laura Malcolm menu-ed to new heights with a courgette spaghetti carbonara and pork cutlets (yes, in July! So bold) with her mustard and cornichon sauce. But one morning I looked out of the window and Laura Malcolm was passing through a gate without opening it. She was disembodied. It was literally a miracle. What can this mean? Perhaps she’s got the idea of becoming a Saint from nearby St Therese of Lisieux.

We drove to Abbaye Bec at Bec-Hellouin. In the car, Moira McMatron came over queer. It was ferociously hot. We feared Covid-19 induced by nausea or nausea bringing on Covid-19. But, as it turned out, what Moira McMatron needed was ice cream for tea which quite drove away her Covid-19. Abbaye Bec was enchanting, incredibly secular and scented entirely from one flowering lime tree. The monk serving in the shop was absolutely maddening.

Another time Laura tormented poor Moira about her pugs, how their eyes not only bulged but actually came out and their highly-bred respiratory struggle she imitated without mercy. Moira’s got a new pug, with longer legs than usual. Tremendous price.  He’s really very charming but Laura is not giving in. Rollup de MalBouys and his wife, Hall, dined. He’s descended from particularly boundary-free knights who came over with the Conqueror and some centuries later acquired a Van Eyck. So now he’s back from whence he came, as it were, resident in Normandy. Needless to say, Rollup is the only living person to have had three vaccinations. ‘Nobody likes Hall,’ he said casually. It’s quite an unusual remark to make about your wife when in company. Not true either. I adore Hall. ‘I just say what I think,’ she said. Exactly. The next day she texted to condemn all the rubbish Rollup talked. ‘Too much about old families,’ she said. That was my doing. Rollup and I have much in common, a loathing of inheritance tax in particular. Rollup speaks in blasts. One can never get to the bottom of things because by the time one canon has been let off, it’s too late. But somehow the Van Eyck has gone. Quite where it was in the first place I can never grasp. Speaking of ‘letting off’, Beamish was quite astonished by Rollup’s fart gas, and the way it was carefully directed, first one way and then the other so everyone had their turn in the firing line. Only fair.  Rollup was awfully cross about his outfit and in one of his blasts condemned his own bare legs. Which were quite good in fact and very brown. Mainly the talk was of the sex lives of the married French, which are quite different those of the married British. Laura and Matt had just had a French couple to stay, plus his best friend with whom she had had an affair. All forgotten about now.

The next day Beamish explained his method of hiring a car in younger days.  You order the cheapest in advance, which would be a Ka, known not to come in black. Then at the desk you say, ‘The thing is, it’ll be a funeral I’ll be going to. My nanna’s old bridesmaid. She’s sadly passed. Now would you by any chance have a Ka in black?’ Result: immediate free upgrade to superior funeral car. One time he was eager to demonstrate to a friend the brilliance of this ploy but, can you believe it, suddenly there was a Ka in black. It wouldn’t have been very convincing to say, ‘Oh, I made a mistake. It’s a wedding we’ll be going to, come to think of it.’

When Beamish was on the Express, the editor, a greatness who once did the TV commentary for Royal Ascot and said, ‘Royalty are marvellous. They never crease or stain,’ wanted her staff to promote the paper on a Saturday night LBC radio show. Not a friendly time, as you can imagine, especially for the hard-working newspaper person. The journos decided on a competition: who could be the most drunk on air? The aim was to get kicked off it for good, which was achieved.

L'Abbaye Bec at Bec Hellouin. Great Spiked Entrance

L’Abbaye Bec at Bec Hellouin. Great Spiked Entrance

L'Abbaye Bec: Secular and Scented with Lime from a Tree

L’Abbaye Bec: Secular and Scented with Lime from a Tree

L'Abbaye Bec: Actual Church seemed to be been Disposed of

L’Abbaye Bec: Actual Church seemed to be been Disposed of

L'Abbaye Bec: A Range for Monkish Accommodation Perhaps

L’Abbaye Bec: A Range for Monkish Accommodation Perhaps

 

Posted Saturday, August 7, 2021 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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