Touring the Bourdeaux region of France recently chasing wines that were good but inexpensive, or not too bad and not too expensive. This proved to be an impossible task: the cheap ones are pure poison and you have to pay way more than I consider reasonable for anything I consider drinkable. Still it was nice to visit Saint Julien and Paulliac and to travel through the famous chateaux like Lynch-Bages, Leoville-Las-Cases and all the other shining stars of the Haut-Medoc.
But this is not the point of my story. As I was doing my leisurely thing with the girls, I was struck down with a spectacular chest infection, complete with acute sinusitis, strep throat, and a host of streaming purulent side effects. I didn't sleep for 5 days and ensured that anyone in a room with me didn't either as I coughed, snorted, snuffled and moaned. Every hour or so I would repair to the bathroom to do maintenance on my poor afflicted snout. I had intended to visit my French-based daughter and her family who were on holiday 40 miles down the coast of Bordeaux - near the Dune du Pyla. Instead I took to the bed in a hotel outside Bourdeaux and she decided to come to me instead. The hotel was set in extensive grounds, with a veritable forest surrounding it - bear this fact in mind. The morning of their visit I arose from my sweaty couch to visit the girls who were working on their tans by the swimming pool. I assured them I was still alive and then retired to the seclusion of the woods to make a private phone call. Ok I was ringing Paddy Power to back a rare Roger Charlton runner at Deauville (Definightly in a Group 3). I found a friendly tree stump in the heart of the wooded area and performed my discreet transaction. i stayed a while in sylvan seclusion brooding on my plight then returned to my sick bed.
My daughter and her two lively sons and more restrained husband arrived a couple of hours later. I stayed abed until dinner when I joined them. They had been set loose in the grounds of the hotel for the afternoon and one of them returned to the adults by the pool with a set of car keys which he had found by an old tree stump in an obscure corner of the woods. These just happened to my car keys, which for reasons mysterious, I had been carrying around with me as I did my earlier business. I'd obviously laid them down by the tree stump as I engaged telephonically with Paddy Power. What are the odds? The kids could have stayed by the pool, the woods were extensive, I had no knowledge the keys were even missing.
Consider the implications of being in the middle of France in a laden car with no keys - or no code or alternative set available in Ireland. I assume I would have had to set up a joint AA/SAAB initiative with all the multifareous hassle and expense that entailed - and me a very sick man. Definightly came second at Deauville but maybe I had used up my luck already.