(The Original)

Amateur Scribe

Saumur 09 - Text Commentary

(With all due respect to Ben Dirs...)

Friday

13:30 – Welcome to Tours airport. Beautiful day here. I haven’t been as excited about doing text commentary on a Money Programme tour since the heady days of Watchett, 1995 when Chris Marshall asked for that infamous “Large Baileys” and it all “got a bit big on him”. Luckily, this team have matured somewhat in the ensuing years – can’t see another vomiting episode from this bunch of pros.

saumur 09 team

Gimpy requires a few lessons on photographic light and shade...

15.07 – We’re off and, oh – a streaky drive from Skip as he revisits the toll booth on the Tours turnpike not once but twice. Looking at the replay, it appears Troy’s Sat Nav skills have let him down a bit. One has to say that’s poor form from a tour rookie who should really just be sitting back and soaking up the atmosphere – much like his colleague Goochie who regards the whole airport-hotel transit debacle with the bemused expression of a callow fetish-enthusiast who has just had his gob stuffed with his very first billiard ball.

16.13 – Money Programme getting into their rhythm here – steadily picking up the ones and twos… of premium grand pressions from the jubilant proprietor of the Café de la Place. It looks like they could rack up a decent total here – although P Marshall blots the copybook with his persistent requests for “boutille de eau, s’il vu plait… tap…TAP!” Doesn’t look like he’s going to trouble the scorers much this evening.

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"Wish I could be with you lads, but the wife has selfishly gone into labour. Besides – if all the opposition’s jail-bait daughters are popping sprogs, I’ll have nobody to hoon round the town with in my Audi convertible."
Tim Marshall via text.

18.57 – Ooooh! Dangerous tactics from Goochie! Daddio’s nagging line-and-length around the topic of whips and leather trousers produces the first indiscretion of the innings, as the young pup rocks out incriminating mobile-phone photos of him grinning nervously in a “torture garden” with a French paramour. Plenty of sledging from the close-in fielders, with “Way to go, Gimpy!” being the general gist of the comments picked up by stump-mic.

20.36 – We’re in familiar territory now at the Grand Bleu with the Money Programme middle order folding like a deck of cards after the traditional crime of “peaking too early”. Refuelling after an afternoon session of heavy scoring is vital, though Gatorade Sport is probably preferable to several flagons of distinctly adequate (and curiously chocolate-tasting) red wine. Mike and Johnny try to inject some class by ordering a pricey Chablis – but frankly we might as well be downing Toilet Duck at this stage for all our taste buds can tell.

"Why do English tourists always make a bleeding racket while I’m trying to enjoy a romantic evening with the wife? My granny can take her ale better than these louts and she’s been dead since 1957. Luckily the missus can’t hear anything as she had her ears heavily bandaged this afternoon after stepping out of line while we were discussing Alan Knott’s gloveman-ship and I happened to have a tyre-iron in my hand." G. Boycott – on Test Match Special 

saumur 09 Boycs
saumur 09 g-train

All aboard the G-Train

01.00 – Wickets falling at regular intervals now. Gordo, still jet-lagged from his heroics in Adelaide, misses a straight one and walks without looking back to survey his shattered timbers, while… GONE! Gimpy is caught by the kebab house trying to engage passers-by in discussions about the Marquis de Sade. Only Troy (equally adept with snooker cue and cricket bat) and Skip miraculously end the innings not out (unconscious by the river) and planning a romantic stroll round a chateau early next morning. Everybody else has passed out…

01.34 - …Except Big Dave, who is caught well short of his ground in a late-night dash for the pavilion, and can only hurl his guts up all over the popping crease (or, more accurately, his only pair of decent shorts and several other treasured personal possessions. And our carpet.)

Sunday

11.30 – More like it. Bright start from the Money Programme, who look up for it from the get-go as they take over the outside space at the Brussels, giving the owner with the ridiculous spectacles much to ponder as he comes in off the long run with some lunch menus. Nobody fancies the hock of ham, but several strong lagers are sucked down with the tartiflette, with only Skip going for something white and fizzy, the enormous girl.

2pm – 6pm – More actual cricket, would you believe. Tom retires from batting for the 37th time after an anaemic prod to cover second ball. Don’t know what happened after that and I don’t care. I hate you all

saumur 09 skip champers

20.21 – After 11 years of reasonably priced accommodation services and countless nights spent desperately scrambling between channels 10 and 11 after the French porn authorities switched the smut, the Money Programme CC finally deign to dine at the Cristal Hotel. And what a shout that is – Hawkeye shows a perfect inswinging escargot to Daddio’s gullet, while the rest of us feast upon tender pave de boeuf, spectacular profiteroles and some seriously decent local plonk. Probably a good thing that Peter has left by this stage, as the bill would probably have made him expire from cardiac arrest before he’d clapped eyes on his first grandson.

22.35 – Surely a record: a second Liverpool-less night on the bounce (a stat that would have no doubt sent Bill Frindall scrabbling for his linear scorebooks of previous tours. If he wasn’t dead.). Instead, we take on the Midsummer Music festival, and record another Saumur first – as Troy is nearly decapitated by a crowd-surfing thrash metal enthusiast.

23.48 - With specialist fielder Pete Clarke and chums on as twelfth man for the departed Marshall Senior, thoughts inevitably turn to a last hurrah, and a seedily sign-posted dive bar tucked away in a tawdry spot some distance from the main drag looks to be a suitable location for Goochie to practice his chat-up lines on some ladies of easy virtue. Unfortunately, after sauntering past security it becomes abundantly clear that is not, in fact, a strip joint – but IS … another fucking pool bar.

Monday

Well that’s it folks – 12 Saumurian tours down – what price a Serbian odyssey in 2010…

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