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I’m a miserable old git. I know I am because the wife and mistress often tell me so. I’m bored you see. Not with her of course, the last 24 years have been very happy ones, but I’m in France and on holiday and I’m trying to relax. Unfortunately like many men I find trying to relax the most unrelaxing thing in the world. Indeed, I am really only really relaxed when very busy and so there is very little chance of my relaxing anytime in the near future. The only problem with this is that loved ones around me cannot relax when I am relaxed which then makes me quite unrelaxed in return.

Before I go further I have to say that the ILE de RE is a truly lovely part of France to relax in (it was mostly controlled by the English during the 100 years war but perhaps keep that to yourself, ie., don’t mention the 100 year war!). ‘A perfect place for a perfect relaxing holiday assuming you can let everything go and just relax .

Still with me? Relaxed? Fallen asleep yet? I will get to the point, hopefully soon……

Anyway here I am sitting with light lunch & wine glass at a table overlooking the historic harbour of Saint-Martin and reading a book “ Blood Cries Afar – The Forgotten Invasion of England 1216” by Sean McGlynn ( brilliant read). The wife & mistress having decided to take the fight to the local haute-couture boutiques using her credit card. Notice I write ‘her’ credit card ‘cos I’m also a mean old git.

The book? So what – it takes all sorts and when did I ever criticise your holiday reading? Just relax!

On the very first paragraph of the first page (Acknowledgments), I read two quotations regarding the nature of Fate, one by Bismarck and the other a flash of pure brilliance by P.G.Woodhouse who described Fate lurking around the corner with a piece of lead-piping in its hand. I take another sip, put the book down and start to think deeply about this concept because that’s exactly right. Fate is a mugger waiting just around the next corner ready to beat you up and rob you just when you least expect it. The story of everyone’s life the world over, especially mine! Now thinking deeply about this in the sun with the wine, I’m just starting to relax.

I think how did I get here? Why am I now a bored semi-retired antique dealer sitting in the sun? I know I didn’t just chuck my rattle out of my cot shouting “ Yippee, I’m now going to flog lots of old furniture for a living”. I really wanted to be a fighter pilot flying Hawker Hunter jets ( which rather dates me). Thinking about it I still would if I could. However, ‘twas not to be only because that master criminal Mr Fate came up behind me with his lead-pipe and beat me about the head and robbed me cruelly, not once, not twice, but lots of different times over the years leaving me the man I now am - an unrelaxed, miserable, mean old git flogging a bit of antique furniture from time to time and getting sunburn.

Memo to self : must suggest to Elliot that he does a quick poll of other dealers reading AAD to see if they also got mugged by Mr Fate along the way. I’ll bet good odds that most where.

It went through my mind to send an email to myself saying come home now because the cats on fire but I rejected the idea because (a) we don’t have a cat, (b) that’s not fair to the boss because she’s enjoying a much needed rest, and (c) it might just give Mr Fate an idea. So, taking yet another sip from the glass I’ll finish with…..