“There’s quite a bit of it, admittedly,” says Short Tony.
He unlocks the back of his chicken-transporter truck and we gaze at the beef that towers within.
“Yes,” I agree.
Short Tony and Len the Fish have been at the butcher’s since early morning, sorting out the Community Cow. I take a step back and look at his tired and careworn frame. He carries the unmistakable air of a man who is tired of beef.
We stand for a while, contemplating the enormity of the beef mountain. To my layman’s eye, Len the Fish has done an excellent job of the butchery, in that it is dead, has been sliced up into bits, and put into bags. Short Tony begins listlessly sifting through the cuts. I, also, can summon no enthusiasm for the task. We have been using up stuff from the freezer for three weeks now, and I haven’t consumed a vegetable since the last of the peas.
“When is Len the Fish coming to collect his third?” I ask.
It transpires that Len the Fish has already collected his third.
We start to divvy up the beef. Clearly it is too much to carry back to the Cottage, so I fetch a wheelbarrow. I cheer up as I load. At least we have saved lots of money by buying beef by the cow, and if there is too much for me to store then I will be able to keep it in Short Tony’s new chest freezer, which he has had to buy as an emergency purchase in order to accommodate the money-saving meat.
“I will bring any back that I can’t fit in,” I tell him, disappearing via the secret path that leads between our houses.
I load the beef into our freezer. There is some left over, so I take that back to Short Tony’s, using the wheelbarrow.
Later I speak to the LTLP.
“What’s for dinner?” she asks.