“Are you sure you don’t want any money for it?”

Len the Fish shook his head firmly. “Naah… don’t be stupid.”

Accepting joints off men in pubs is not something I do that often. But it was a Sunday lunchtime, and Len the Fish is a kind and generous man, and I was not about to turn him down.

“Get him a pint,” I mouthed at the Well-Spoken Barman, who had read my mind with his secret barman powers. I munched on a bit of pork crackling from the bowl on the bar, peckish already.

“Thanks. I’ve had a bit of a rubbish morning, actually,” I revealed.

Having spent much of the early hours waiting around to meet the cricket team in order to do a bit of groundwork, I’d thrown a strop and called one of them asking where the fuck they were. Slipping dramatically on a discarded banana skin; accidentally getting handcuffed to somebody you don’t like; forgetting that the clocks change – they’re all staples of comedy that never actually happen to anybody. Except, it appears, me. Apart from the banana skin/handcuff thing. So far.

“When are you going to have that then?” he asked, making appreciative ‘this is nice beer’ faces.

“Not today. Tuesday night, I think. It’ll last us a couple of days.” I was acutely aware that my dinner-cooking responsibilities had suffered recently. A roast topside with all the trimmings, or even just a few trimmings, might remedy that.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t take the half a cow off you in the end,” I said. “It’s just that we’re running the freezer down now, for when we move away, out of the Village at the end of the month.”

I had a dim and nagging doubt at the back of my mind that there were some people I’d meant to mention this to.

“Ahh, don’t worry,” he reassured. “You’ll still be able to pop in here occasionally, won’t you?”

“Oh I’m sure I will.”

“Your table’s ready, Jonny.” The Unfeasibly Tall Barman had appeared from nowhere, like the shopkeeper in the Mr Benn cartoons.

The LTLP and I walked through to the restaurant. I kept a sharp eye out for discarded fruit peelings on the floor.

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