The plan was to go out for a quiet New Years Eve drink, and until we hit the final pub, that’s exactly what we did do.
We’d stopped at a few places but for one reason or another we couldn’t settle and had moved on.
Eventually we stopped at a pub that we’d both seen on more than one occasion but had never actually been into, so we thought we’d give it a try, and boy were we in for a surprise.
When we walked through the door it was like hitting a time warp; the wallpaper was from the 1970’s, the bar from the 1920’s, the carpet from the 1950 and the locals from the loony bin.
Right from the off I knew this was going to be my cup of tea. The bar was populated by every pub cliché you could imagine. There was the late middle aged guy with his shirt hanging out; (having given up its previous role of ‘beer-belly-hammock’) he was accompanied by the couple from the cave on the village outskirts. Both were of hugely disproportionate proportions and had that greasy haired look that didn’t come from a bottle. To my right was the silent guy who everyone spoke to but whom he resolutely ignored as he poured over the sport and TV section of his paper. Next to him was the village oracle---the knower of all village gossip.
I turned and smiled to Karen who had a sinking feeling when she realised that I’d met my kind of people.
We sat down while I settled into a personal favourite past time of mine: people watching.
After a few moments, a young girl of about nineteen or twenty came in with her lost –little- lamb of a boyfriend, who appeared to have brought himself a black shirt in an attempt to make himself look hard; sadly the national health specs had killed the look. Not that it mattered as all eyes were on her and for good reason, for she had the most gargantuan set of breasts I have ever seen; and even though she was quite obviously a local, the locals hadn’t quite gotten used to the spectacle as they all turned round and ogled the poor girl. Even Mr TV guide looked up briefly before busying himself, once again with the 2:30 at Kempton.
She sat down just as the jukebox (yes the pub actually had one) suddenly blasted into life. It was one of those songs that started and ended on abrupt notes --- no lead in and slow fade out as is the norm with most songs. And it was this that caught the locals out, or to be more precise, caught one of the locals out.
Because the music was so loud, voices had to be raised to compensate. But when the music stopped with all the abruptness of a whip crack, the bar oracles voice was still set two decibels higher than that of the record, and sailed across the room for all to hear, and the fateful words he was left uttering were: “...the size of her tits!”
Next, the beer belly decided to treat us all to an impromptu dance with what I can only assume was an invisible partner. As he sang sweet incomprehensibles into her invisible ear he pin-balled off locals and tables alike before ending up in the middle of the room to rapturous applause. He took a bow, shoved his hands down his trousers and started playing with himself until the greased up cave man stuck a pint in his hand, presumably to give it something to do.
But the award for the line of the night went to the barman. When I was up getting a drink he was talking about Elvis. Not the pop star, but a local. When I asked who this Elvis was he said ‘oh he’s the village idiot’. I looked at him with eyes that obviously needed a little more than that to go on and he said, and I quote:
“We haven’t had a village idiot since the last one moved away so we had to ship Elvis in --- but he’s only on loan”
I looked at him open mouthed, he handed me my pint and said, “Welcome to the countryside Mister, that’ll be £4.76 please.”