Country mouse – Mark Hedges

It has not been a good week for my sporting interests. I support England at everything, Arsenal at football, and I had high hopes for Hardy Eustace in the Champion Hurdle. All lost. To be truthful, England did beat Canada at cricket, but the team had earlier lost their minds and our respect in the bars of St Lucia. The England rugby team was no match for Wales, and even my second team, Ireland, contrived to lose the championship to France in the last minute.

The Six Nations was a delight for the madness of sport: Scotland beat Wales who beat England who beat France who beat Italy who beat Scotland. No wonder I went astray in my reading of the form book in choosing Hardy Eustace. The unexpected is the joy of sport. Food is another matter, however. When the news arrived that the English teams were nursing various degrees of hangover, I was in Venice eating breakfast on a hotel roof balcony overlooking St Mark’s Square. I had placed an American-sized portion on my plate and nipped back to grab some coffee. A minute later, when I came back, it was all gone. The other diners were giggling at my astonishment. A seagull

had gobbled the lot.