Donald Walker: If only Scotland had managed to win

Choose Fife: Diarist & bon viveur.

Choose Fife: Diarist & bon viveur.

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REGULAR readers of the Paris Diary may have noticed a theme. Possibly a bias.

Part 1 featured Kirkcaldy RFC legend Eck Carruthers, absent from this trip for the first time since 1983. Then we had a brief encounter with Ian Rankin, who doubles as the SRU president and a farmer in the Kingdom, at L’Odeon. And this entire stream of meandering nonsense has been penned by a Langtonian.

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Yes folks, as Grant Stott would say, “That’s Fife”. And how close we came to the perfect climax to this trip when Scotland scored the only try of the match at Stade de France – a fantastic move touched down, of course, by the splendidly named Dougie Fife.

In the wild celebrations among Scotland fans in the upper tier of the stadium, caution was thrown to the (freezing) wind when off came the Diarist’s jumper to reveal the “it-was-surely-meant-to-be” slogan on his T-shirt: I love Fife.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one to hold this sentiment. The guys in the row behind were from Fife, proudly displaying the badge on their rugby shirts which featured the Forth Bridge and a pint of beer. Group photos were taken, with hopes high that this moment would be the story of the match.

Alas, it was not to be. Although it is a new experience to score more tries than France in Paris and still lose, the feeling of disappointment at an opportunity missed was painfully familiar among our group. That’s life. That’s Fife.

Then came another familiar experience – spending the evening being approached by locals who are “sorry your team lost” (aye, right). It required a strong mental attitude to survive this subtle psychological torture. This year, however, there was real consolation in L’Ecluse, a charming establishment by the Seine. A lovely lady paid for a huge bottle of claret for us, to help us drown our sorrows because she was sorry that our team had lost. Now that’s the kind of patronising gesture we can live with. She was gone before anyone was quick enough to serenade her with one of the favoured ditties of the weekend, “Does yer maw drink wine, does she drink it all the time” by Jolly Boy John of Burnistoun fame. Shame. She would have loved it.

By yesterday morning, it was that time again – scrambling around to buy gifts for wives and children. Top prize for panic buying went to the father of a four-year-old boy who was stopped in the nick of time from buying a trinket which turned out to be an ashtray.

A quick coffee was taken at the airport Starbucks, where the policy of writing the buyer’s name on the cup still needs some refining, with Ewan marked down as “Yoenne”. Mind you, it’s an improvement on two years ago, when “Donald” translated as “Tonote”.

On the flight home, there was talk of Paris 2017. For some of us, the mind remains willing, but it also tricks us into believing we are all still 25. At this rate, one of us might need a mobility scooter in two years’ time, and another of our number was on the receiving end of a sobering retort on Saturday evening when told by a local: “You are old enough to be my father.”

Until the next time, mes amis. Au revoir and out.

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