Dog and ferret club monthly meeting at the Pig’s Nose. Light evening. Lounge bar full of tourists, all eating. All you can hear is the clickety-clack of their knives and forks hitting the plates. I’m the first to arrive; then Gerald and Doris come through the door.
We chat. Doris tells me that since our last dog and ferret show she’s had a couple of minor strokes. I look horrified. But she tells me it’s OK, she’s “shrugged them off.” She rolls her shoulders to show me how easy it was.
When Gerry thinks Doris isn’t looking, he puts his mouth to my ear and says, “I’d like a quiet word with you later on.” Because he’s going deaf, his whisper is much more audible than he thinks it is. Doris shoots him a look.
When all the other members have turned up, we go with our drinks into the meeting room. First item on the agenda is the subject of the pit-bull terrier crossbreeds. Local lurchermen are crossing their dogs with pit-bull terriers to make them strong enough to knock over deer. We’ve been seeing a lot of these pit-bull-crossed lurchers at our shows recently. We take a vote on whether to ban them or not. Seven votes for, five against. We decide to ban them.
The other main issue is: who lost the measuring stick? We had a special measuring stick for measuring the lurchers, but it got lost. Actually, it was me who lost it. When the subject comes up, I excuse myself and take my glass back to the lounge bar for a refill.
While I am waiting to be served, Gerry appears at my elbow. He too has nipped out for a refill-and presumably to have that quiet word he was telling me about. He looks ill at ease, though.
“Jerry, I’m shagging this bird,” he says at last. “Tuesday nights. When Doris is at bingo.”
He wipes the palm of his hand nervously across the mouth. He’s misjudged the audibility of his whisper again and the whole pub is listening.
“She’s mustard, this woman-absolute bloody mustard. She’s a nurse, 41. Mad for it. Jacky, her name is.”
Transmission is briefly interrupted while Gerry orders a drink, and takes a big gulp.
“She’s quite nice-looking,” he continues, now with a creamy moustache. “Good little figure on her. And she’s clean and everything.”