The Retirement Game

The Retirement Game

Janet Wynne Evans contemplates the Rugby World Cup through a prism of pinot noir

Something I often hear from friends who have escaped from the workplace is that the minute they put down the tools of their trade to pursue other interests, they very quickly begin to wonder how on earth they ever found the time to go to work.

'I can’t imagine what the husband, now officially relieved of his abacus, did all day until the Rugby World Cup kicked in'

That said, I can’t imagine what the husband, now officially relieved of his abacus, did all day until the Rugby World Cup kicked in. Suffice it to say that it has kept him far busier than he ever was when saving the British economy and uncooking books. So much to read, digest, process and, ultimately watch! As for me, with both England and Wales drawn, with Australia, in the so-called Pool of Death, a certain sense of entitlement from the host nation and memories of my team’s tragic exit from the last one still raw (ably captured here by my fellow-member and regular illustrator John Richards) it’s the stuff of divorce. And then there’s the Six Nations!

Between the last day of his gainful employment and the first whistle-blast of the World Cup, I did manage to negotiate from my newly free-range spouse the promise of the occasional hot dinner after a hard day at t’Moulin-à-Vent. Rugby is by no means the only game he embraces with passion: though he has hung up his boots, he is still ahead of the pack when it comes to the furred and feathered variety, skilfully processing scary things I would normally leave to the butcher and turning them into what we call pinot noir absorbers.

For a couple in its fourth decade of incompatibility, we are at least united in the hope that our last glass on earth will be a really good red Burgundy. However, when it comes to pinot noir, there are, increasingly, other terrific options. Just look at World Cup Pools in Groups A (Australia), B (South Africa and USA), C (New Zealand) and in D, a veritable embarras de richesse from Canada, Italy and Romania. At the time of writing, it remained to be seen if the home of the team tipped to lift the Webb Ellis trophy yet again is stopped in its tracks by the home of Burgundy. It has happened before!

Yes, the season is upon us, in every sense of the word and I hope we have laid in plenty of the game pie below for the inevitable TV dinner. It can be eaten joyously, as we enjoy as neutrals an odds-defying cabaret like the one mentioned in the last paragraph, or in silence as one of us sends the other to Coventry for a disputed try, imagined forward pass or harsh bit of discipline that brings out the bad loser in both of us.<.p>

If you can’t play the game, you can, at least, eat it.

November 2015

> View Janet's recipe for 'play-the-game pie'