As you may recall, I had a thoroughly splendid time in Uzbekistan a month or so ago. I brought home some terrific memories, some rather splendid souvenirs and, it seems, a rather virulent stomach upset.
There really is no better way to spend a seven hour flight than with a stomach bug, especially when you’re sitting in a window seat and the people between you and the aisle are sound asleep. A thoroughly enjoyable flight, that one. Alas it seems I’ve still not shaken the flipping thing off, hence I had to miss scheduled bookshop appearances in Bury St Edmunds and Warwick last week. Hopefully I’ll be able to rearrange them soon, as I was looking forward to them.
Trouper that I am, however, I am struggling back to work, and with BBC Holiday programme films in Denmark and Germany to do this month I am living proof that the ego can overcome any ailment.
It’s been a cracking weekend of sport. Well, for me anyway. Charlton have somehow managed to chalk up four wins in their first four games, a feat that leaves us second in the Premiership table. Being an eternal pessimist, I am now thinking “great, 28 more points and we’re safe from relegation”, but then I did start supporting Charlton in 1979 when we were quite possibly the worst team in the country. An overwhelming feeling of doom has, usually accurately, hung over my support of the Addicks ever since.
This afternoon the mighty Cork chalked up their record-breaking thirtieth All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship thanks to a thrilling 1-21, 1-16 win over a plucky Galway side at Croke Park. Cork aren’t very popular in the hurling firmament as they’re seen as a bit cocky, so it was a weird experience for me as a Charlton supporter to be in my local Irish hostelry in my Cork shirt and be in the minority as everyone was backing the underdog.
I’m off to Denmark at the crack of dawn tomorrow, with an impeccable sense of timing that means I’ll miss the climax of the Ashes. One of the advantages of working from home is that you can have the cricket on all day, which is exactly what I’ve been doing all summer, so trust me to miss the flipping crucial day.
Regular readers may recall that Stamping Grounds is about to be reissued with a snazzy new cover and an extra chapter that brings the story to date. You can pre-order it from Amazon and check out the snazzy new cover right here. Hats off to Liechtenstein for wiping the floor with Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifier last week, their first ever home World Cup victory. Hurrah!