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A family visit


One day, I had a visit from the local constabulary. A couple of WPCs called by. The weather was awful, as usual, so I invited them in. One did, the other chose to wait outside. We had a little chat. I was asked how long I intended to stay. I explained the situation and pointed out that practically the entire village knew about me and many had visited at one point or another. I was then told that they had had a telephone call about me. “From whom?”, I asked.


“The parish councillor.” I was told.


“Who’s he?”, I asked.


“Roger Dalton.”


I said that I didn’t know why. She didn’t know, either. I was asked if I was okay, whether I needed anything, etc. The constable said that I was on private land, anyway and asked whether the farmer knew. I said that I presumed so, pointing out that the field had recently been sprayed. After a little idle chatter, the constables bade me farewell and went on their way.


I mentioned this Roger Dalton bloke to everyone that I conversed with over the next few days. Not a single person had anything good to say about their counsellor. It became very evident that he was probably the most despised person in the village. I asked all, “How is it, then, that he has been voted in at all?” The two main reasons given were, a, he gets voted in by pensioners who have been deceived by him and, b, he bribes his way in. Whatever the reason, it’s up to the villagers to do something about it if he is really that unliked.


It had been my intention to get to my mum’s in time for her 86th. birthday. But, circumstances conspired otherwise. My sister, Lindsay, then suggested that she would bring our mum to me. She proposed an estimated hour of arrival on the day of mum’s birthday. I then walked along to the Butcher’s Block and booked a table. I then asked Izzy if she would be so kind as to allow me the use of a shower. Izzy, of course, consented. In fact, I ended up having a bath! Luxury! She also whacked the laundry on, too!


For the first time in a while, I got to wear decent clothes, rather than work clothes. I even got my shoes out and polished them!


On the day, Lindsay, as it turned out, had taken a detour from the motorway in anticipation of a hold up, which unbeknownst to her was way past the point where she would leave the motorway to get to me. I didn’t really understand why the detour appeared to be so time consuming. I had become increasingly concerned with the delay, especially as I was unable to get through to mum’s mobile telephone. They turned up a minute or two short of the booked time for the table.


The Butcher’s Block is a nice place. However, that day, it was particularly noisy. There was a large family group dining there. We couldn’t hear each other to converse!


The meal was cooked perfectly. However, I wasn’t impressed. To me, it looked more like a work of art rather than a meal! The meat, lamb, had for some reason been cut into a round shape and sliced. Between the slices, a leaf of cabbage had been placed. A carrot had been placed on top of a roasted potato. The potato had for some reason been cut into the shape of a brick. A rich gravy covered the presentation. It looked ridiculous and was certainly not a balanced meal; all meat and no vegetables, basically. Mum really enjoyed her meal and Lindsay said that it was the normal way to present meals these days.


By the time we got to the sweet, the din had subsided enough to be able converse. We could even hear the music in the background. We had a different sweet each. Then coffee. I didn’t see the final bill, Lindsay paid for it. It wasn’t cheap, that much I do know.


A few days later, I happened to meet Simon, the landlord. I was walking by on the way home from the pub. The window of the Butcher's Block opened and some-one called out my name. It was Simon. After a little chat, I was invited in. I sat down with a pint. Before long we got talking about the meal we had had. Being a person who is honest, I related pretty much exactly what I stated to you above. Simon was not offended. He took on board my comment and understood my argument. He said that perhaps I would have enjoyed the roast more and offered me the chance to do so.


On the Sunday, I popped along to the Butcher's Block and had a wonderful roast beef dinner. Perfectly cooked again.


The other Simon, the bread man, was also there. He bought me a pint to go with the roast. He then shot off home, then came back with a 'slab' of belly pork, which he graciously gave me. That was a good meal, too.


Kindly, the kitchen staff filled my water butt. I then wheelbarrowed the butt home, totally sated.


I have frequented the Butcher's Block a number of times since. It's a lovely place, with really friendly staff. I am always greeted by my name and welcomed. It was very remiss of me to have not tried it out sooner.


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