Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

The healing power of champagne

‘Glass of bubbly, Marigold?’ I asked Catriona’s sister at a quarter to nine on the first morning of her visit

Our champagne transcendence lasted until about midday [Photo: pidjoe]

The day after Catriona was fitted with a plaster cast and crutches, her elder sister arrived from the UK for a rare visit. Marigold is also on crutches. Diabetes. Which left me as the only able-bodied member of the household, though an ethereal one.

I try daily ‘to run with determination the race that is set before me’ (Hebrews 12:1). Champagne helps. Our seasonal neighbour Professor Brian Cox has pointed me to a website specialising in getting the produce of small family-run champagne houses to your doorstep within 48 hours at a considerably cheaper price than the local supermarket and very decent it is too. I have a half-bottle at breakfast.

‘Glass of champagne, Marigold?’ I asked her at a quarter to nine on the first morning of her visit. ‘Why not?’ she said. ‘You’re only young once.’ One seldom encounters anyone as unintellectual as Marigold and she talks continuously. I like her enormously. I poured us out a glass each of Fermier Giles 2013 and settled back.

Catriona’s sister has been involved online with the remaining cast members of The High Chaparral

Marigold has plenty of excitement in her life, all of it online. Last year, for example, she fell in love with an impoverished young Nigerian masquerading as a prosperous Canadian businessman with a temporary cash-flow problem. Fortunately, before the money transfer went through, the scales had fallen from her eyes. ‘I saw red, I can tell you. I gave him what for.’ ‘What did you say to him?’ ‘Oh, I really told him. “Pardon me,” I said. “But aren’t you ashamed of your deceitfulness?”’ ‘And what did he say to that?’ ‘He passed me on to one of his friends. And this friend tried to get money out of me as well, for his education, he said. I’ve got to say he was a lovely lad and I might have sent him some.

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