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What a difference (nearly) four years makes…
Earlier this week I had the welcome opportunity to catch up with a long-time travel retail pal, Clive Carpenter, formerly of Hennessy and Camus Cognac fame, who now runs a thriving golf website business (www.GolfToday.co.uk), as well as dabbling in the drinks sector.
Our shared love of golf, satire, the wines & spirits industry and exceedingly bad puns means we are in regular touch, yet I had not actually seen Clive since an infamous lunch we had at an Italian restaurant in Ealing Broadway, London back on 13 January 2011. But being a Carpenter he finally managed to nail me down.
On that occasion I had precisely one week left of my chemotherapy treatment that followed a gastrectomy (stomach removal) on October 2010. As the photo below shows, the treatment hadn’t left a lot of me intact and what did remain didn’t feel very good. It was a very low time.
Despite what ensued, I recall almost every detail of that lunch to this day. I had the rabbit (like my feelings of the time, in a stew), or let’s say I picked at the rabbit as food and the crazed whirlpool of chemo-induced nausea were not close companions. We did, though, partake of a rather good Chianti Classico, which did its best to dull the agony, especially on the second bottle. I am not sure what my dear Oncologist would have made of the blend of grape and drugs (I called it Chemo Classico) but it doesn’t seem to have hindered my progress too much, I’m pleased to say. (Speaking of my choice of dish, I am reminded of an exceedingly bad joke albeit one with much personal relevance: What do you call 99 male rabbits stepping backwards? A: A receding hare line.)
In the photo (below) I published in my Blog the next day, the ghost-white female statue alongside me appeared to have more colour and certainly more life than me, while my skeletal looks elicited precious little sympathy from Clive who simply complained that I made him look fat.
[January 13 2011: Clive Carpenter, Martin Moodie, mystery stony-faced woman]
On our reunion this week in Queensway, West London, the choice of food and wine was once again Italian, although in the latter’s case we changed colour, opting for a workmanlike at best Trebbiano from a distinctly mediocre list. After a light snack (I took the Calamari starter as it only cost a couple of squid), determined to illustrate how much I have moved on since then and to emphasise the fact that neither Clive nor I has aged one jot, we decided to recreate the picture.
As with the wine though, we had to mix things up a bit. This time, with not a statue in sight, we opted to bring our charming waitress into shot (more properly attired you will note than our original female companion). The end result certainly underlines the difference between sickness and health. It also underlines the fact that I need to lose weight. Only this time I’ll do it the natural way.
[November 11, 2014: Clive Carpenter, Martin Moodie, mystery smiling waitress]