Mister Sunshine

trasimeneBright sunny morning here today. I checked the satellite view, and there was a broad river of cloud to the west, moving slowly north. To the east of it a further wing of cloud was also moving slowly north. High cirrus, I decided. It would provide a welcome filter to the otherwise intense sunlight when I reached the pub for my long slow pint.

I parked about 200 yards from the pub, and sauntered down to it in the sun. I ordered a beer and a plate of crispy pork on salad, and went to sit out in the garden. The high cirrus arrived on time just as I had completed the crispy pork and had opened a book and was starting on the long slow pint.

But beneath the cirrus there soon emerged some puffs of cumulus. The sun vanished behind them, but it remained very warm. I continued slowly drinking my pint as I read about Hannibal’s victories over the Romans at Lake Trasimene and Cannae.

I disregarded the first few drops of rain from the darkening cumulus overhead. but after a while it became impossible to ignore, and so I decamped to the awning outside the back door of the pub to finish my half-empty pint and roll another cigarette.

The rain got heavier. I began to hear thunder. Something bounced noisily of a roof and skittered across the floor. A lump of hail. Rainwater pipes began discharging water explosively all around me.

Next the awning began to rapidly fill with water, and the pub landlady appeared carrying a pole and said she’d have to empty it. It had in fact already begun to empty itself down the wall onto the bag holding the book on the Carthaginian war.

Clutching my soaking bag and my unfinished pint, I stood in the doorway as the landlady prodded the awning to make the water spill out of the sides, gushing over the floor. I doused my cigarette and retreated inside the pub.

In the pub I’m known as Mister Sunshine, because I only ever arrive when it’s sunny. And as the thunder and lightning played overhead, and the rain and hail pelted down, I could palpably feel that reputation ebbing away. It will only be an ironical designation from now on, made with a frosty look and a sardonic smile.

I eventually finished my pint at the bar, and reached into my bag for the umbrella in the bottom. It took a while to find it under all the envelopes and bags and receipts. It hadn’t been used for years, and when I opened it I found that numerous receipts had somehow managed to get into the folds of the umbrella. They all fell out onto the floor when I began gingerly opening it.

The rain hadn’t let up when I finally stepped out onto the street, after picking up all the receipts from the floor. But there was a butcher shop next to the pub with an awning in front of it. So I stood under the awning, looking at the array of meats behind the window.

I hadn’t planned on buying any meat, but I thought I might as well, now that I was there. With luck the rain would have eased by the time I came back out. So I stepped inside and took my time ordering. First some minced beef. And then some rather exotic cold meat. And then some venison and wild boar terrine. And then some Stilton cheese. Yes, butchers round here also sell cheese.

But when I finally emerged, heavily laden with meat and cheese, it was still raining hard, and the thunder and lightning hadn’t diminished. I set out for the car 200 yards up the road, slightly worried whether my metal umbrella would act as a lightning conductor. There’d be an obituary in the local paper next week: Meat Man Struck By Lightning.

The road had become a little flooded with the deluge, and the passing cars were spraying the pavement beside it with water. I found myself looking for the bigger puddles in the road, and waiting for the cars to pass them before I scuttled past.

This wasn’t easy, because the uneven pavement beside the road had also filled up with large puddles, and I had to navigate my way round these in my thin blue leather shoes, in addition to dodging the spray from the cars as they drove through the puddles in the road.

I stopped briefly outside a shop selling towels and cushions, but I didn’t really want to end up carrying a bunch of unwanted towels and cushions in addition to the burden of meat and cheese I’d already acquired.

When I finally reached the car, which stood in a pool of water completely surrounding it, the rain began to ease. I couldn’t reach the driver door, but I could open the passenger door. So I climbed in the passenger side, and over the gear stick and handbrake.

My long slow pint had turned into a veritable battle of Lake Trasimene. And my bag was soaked. And I’d acquired a load of meat and cheese I hadn’t really wanted.  And my reputation was in tatters.

And all of it was the fault of Tobacco Control, I thought, as I started the car. Nobody else. Because but for them I’d have been able to sit inside the warm, dry pub with my pint and my cigarette, and would have barely noticed the storm outside.


And it’s venison and wild boar terrine for dinner tonight. And minced beef in Stilton cheese. And not just tonight, but quite likely for the next week or two.

About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to Mister Sunshine

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    Yes, being exiled outdoors to smoke in the rain is one of tobacco control’s most evil moments. Now they are trying to take even that away with outdoor patio bans.

    • Some French bloke says:

      being exiled outdoors to smoke in the rain is one of tobacco control’s most evil moments … but, when and if the evidence is at last impartially reviewed by the so-called scientific community, and the bulk of the raise in neurodegenerative conditions in recent decades is finally pinned down to smoking cessation (to say nothing of Tobacco Control’s scandalously warped view of the aetiology of lung cancer), some serious shit is bound to hit the fan in a big way, and the consequences of he SHS scare will appear as collateral damage in comparison!

  2. jaxthefirst says:

    “Because but for them I’d have been able to sit inside the warm, dry pub with my pint and my cigarette”

    And, of course, whilst you were waiting for the rain to pass, you’d maybe have had another swift half, or maybe a cup of coffee to finish off your lunch, wouldn’t you? But instead you left and braved the weather. How long can Tobacco Control keep up this pretence that the ban has had “no impact on the pub trade,” I wonder? Perhaps, when they gleefully say that “bans are good for business” they’re talking about butchers’ shops!

    • Frank Davis says:

      you’d maybe have had another swift half

      Exactly! The thought did cross my mind, but I couldn’t endure the thought of drinking inside a pub without a cigarette. It would have been just like sitting inside a pub without a beer.

      So yes, it was better to brave the weather than to remain in the pub.

  3. slugbop007 says:

    Perhaps Hillary should take up smoking? Studies show that nicotine is good for people suffering from Parkinson’s. Maybe Bill could let her have some of his cigars? slugbop007

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Just maybe we are seeing some of the could clear up? Its just been reported that a court in Holland has rejected a total ban on smoking rooms in bars. Check out Court rules cafes and bars can set up smoking rooms” at DutchNews.nlhttp://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/09/court-rules-cafes-can-set-up-smoking-rooms/ (of course the site’s editorial policy appears antismoking and most of its commenters are firmly in the antismoker camp).

      • smokingscot says:

        Excellent news SL. I note they intend to lodge an appeal. (So another year).

        Had a look at this in December last year and highlighted one of the problems their “Clean Air” faces:


        Were this the UK then Clean Air would have meandered into the House of Lords, had a wee chat to any of the Lords or Ladies or Dames who were Doctors or were sponsored by the medical profession and one or more of them would have petitioned on their behalf to have the whole thing fronted by a tame MP.

        But Clean Air Netherlands doesn’t have that comfortable, back door, off-the-record connection with the establishment; they have to convince a court of the validity of their claims, where lying under oath is a criminal offense. And even if they and their “experts” manage to pull it off, they still have to get it passed into law – and that means getting past many Dutch MPs who see through them and despise what they’re trying to do to the Dutch people.


        Seems when it came down the wire they simply do not have a sufficiently convincing case, certainly not with a jury sworn to be impartial.

        Should you wish, the whole lot’s here:


        • Smoking Lamp says:

          Thanks for the additional. You are right, they will be back. But at least a court has stopped their forward movement for a bit. The lull allows pro-choice advocates to gather some steam. it also allows more time for the antismoking lies tone exposed.

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