Evening all

December 30, 2012

looks like the bubble perm is starting to grow out

looks like the bubble perm is starting to grow out

As a student and before we were settled with partners, children, dogs and cats and the like, at this time of year my sister and I would travel home to Wales for the Christmas break. We spent our adolescence in a small market town from which very few escape. Very few actually want to; they enjoy the security that such a small community offers and don’t feel stifled by the restricted genetic pool available. And they have an amazing way of keeping you grounded. So that you don’t get any ideas above your station. Or have aspiration.

So it is that I may have been living away for a number of years and not actually been in to the local pub for perhaps two or three years and I walk in. Same people at the bar. Same cribbage and darts being played. Same safe feel as ever. Time has stood still in this part of the world where long hair and leather jackets were always cool. Don’t imagine for one moment this is a homecoming. Or a return to the fold. God forbid that anyone would show the slightest interest in what I had been doing. No. Someone I had known since I was about 12 was leaning on the bar and just turned his head in acknowledgement. “Alright then?” he enquired. And I blinked in confirmation. That was it. He never asked about my life beyond the hills and I never told him. We moved on to talk of the here and now and impending Christmas revelries.

I’d had great times in that particular pub. In those days licensing hours meant technically the pub shut at 11, but country life meant there were routine lock-ins. This was OK as long as no drinks were ‘sold’, as the landlords could simply be hosting a private gathering. And quite often a policeman would be enjoying the lock-in as much as everyone else. Singing, dancing, standing on tables. All good fun and the nearest thing to clubbing in 1970s mid Wales. But there were also sly coppers who would do anything to catch the drink drivers. And of course I would never condone drink driving, but it can be hard in the country when there is no public transport and no cabs. And in those days the attidtude was different.

So at about 4 in the morning my sister and I fall out of the Red Lion and we go towards the clock tower where her Marina is parked. I never drank and drove (hadn’t got a car most of the time!), but my sister did occasionally. In those kind of places there’s no one else on the roads so it is literally your own life you dice with. But anyway, this was another era.

We got to the car and she tried to start it. It made a groan as the engine tried to turn over, but it wouldn’t start. She tried again. No luck. We got out of the car and started to turn in to the freezing wind to walk the couple of miles back to our parents. When Ever Ready, one of the local coppers, appeared. “Having trouble girls?” “Well, doesn’t matter,” we spluttered, “we’re just off home. We’ll sort it out tomorrow.” Desperately trying to speak without breathing fumes all over him. “Were you in the Lion?” he asked, and we kind of mumbled and tried not to answer. “Only I saw it parked here around 9pm and you’d left the lights on. I’ve been looking out for you.” We were mortified. He now knew we’d been drinking for at least seven hours. Things weren’t looking good.

“I’ll give you a push start down the hill” he offered. “No, it’s fine, thanks. It doesn’t matter.” We knew only too well the tales  of people who had been done for being drunk in charge of a car whilst just sitting at the steering wheel, let alone driving it. We didn’t want to risk this weasly git trapping us in to driving the car whilst under the influence. But he was insistent. “Don’t be silly girls. We’ll jump start it.”

My sister immediately turned to me and said she had no idea how to do it. I said that you have it in gear and your foot on the clutch which you then lift off as the car builds speed and hope that it catches. She said I’d have to do it. So before I know it I am in the driver’s seat and the copper is pushing us down the hill. I deliberately mistimed the jump start attempts so the car wouldn’t start. He persisited in trying again. But after three attempts I pulled up at the bottom of the hill and we all agreed it was hopeless.

Relieved not to have the cuffs put on me and thinking we had outsmarted this copper who was obviously out to get us, we got out of the car to start the trek home. Whereupon Ever Ready said, “You can’t walk on a night like this girls, wait here and I’ll get the car and give you a ride home.”

I felt terrible. I had been so convinced he just wanted our scalps that it never occurred to me that he was just a nice lad trying to help us get home safely. Think I’d lived in the big city too long.

Best wishes for the festive season folks xx

talk me through your thinking sis

talk me through your thinking sis


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