The fire whooshes away in the ingle-nook.

“To be honest,” concludes Short Tony, “I was embarrassed for him. I mean – it says something that I wet myself and was sick over Keith’s car, and still wasn’t the person who emerged with the least dignity.”

We nod in appalled recollection of an evening many months ago. I sink back into the sofa. The impromptu re-opening of the Short Man, the pub in Short Tony’s dining room, has been a measurable success. Short Tony pours me more wine, which I will later fling over his carpet via the wrong end of a pool cue.

We have neglected this aspect of our culture recently. The Short Man opened when the Village Pub was closed for a period of time; we used it regularly, being proud to be such a part of a locals’ establishment. But – on my part – babies, family life and bowls intervened; others drifted away similarly; the snooker table lay unused and the dartboard grew cobwebs.

Now, to my great joy, I find that the baby monitor thing just has enough range to reach the lounge bar area.

It is time to resurrect my social life.

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