THE TALKATIVE BUTCHER FROM THE WEST

By Mike Steeden (link blog)

LAKE AT STOURHEAD LANDSCAPE GARDEN

We’ve only just returned from an ‘Indian Summer’ holiday along with the canine timebomb puppy going by the name of Rosie…we do love her by the way…hence I’ve not been around on WP for a shortish while. Regrettably said break was not to my beloved France instead an English shire called Wiltshire our destination…retched Brexit and the irksome corona virus made travel around foreign climes far too complicated for an old fool such as me. Our specific venue a charming cottage in a town called Mere where the pace of life in England’s south west is as slow as snail on opium. I’d previously lived in a similar West Country town, Dartmouth, Devon some years back hence I’d seen it all before. On the good side one does get to unwind in such laid back communities and the scenery is, in its typical countryside English way, delightful. What was a nuisance at first, namely an internet connection that was as much use as a fart in a thunderstorm soon became a blessing. I eventually found relaxation devoid of a living computer’s canny pressure.‘Tis a long time since I’ve had no access to the dreaded ‘net’.

The smiling, indeed some with an eternal grin, locals tend to talk…a lot…for the main about the values of irrelevant distant wasp nests, recent deaths, withered arms and unfortunate critical injuries that can last for months or years.  An example. I had been sent out to the local butcher’s shop, an ancient establishment, the simpering butcher himself cursed with the ability to talk the hind leg off a donkey…then some…let alone that of his verbose customers. In this instant my visitation a worst vegetarian’s nightmare, namely pork chops. There were only the two patrons, me and a well-built talkative native. While I stood there like a drying prune, once their 17 minutes 43 second pointless conversation apropos vascular ischemia of the toes, dumb ferrets, smart bumble bees and dwindling supplies of turnips was done with, the customer’s sack of various meats long since bagged, the purchaser announced, “I’ve just remembered I need the toilet so I best pop out and pop back later, besides my wife is still sat in the car,” at which he departed. My inbred PI train of thought within concluded he must have considered a visit to the loo prior to entering the bloody shop so why not enter with an empty bladder? As to mentioning his wife banged up in his motor, infinity only knows. I had no answer to that, moreover, 25 minutes 47 seconds of what’s left of my time on earth I’ll never get back had passed.

At last it was my turn. The butcher did his level best to talk at length with me, only giving up the idea when it had become crystal clear small talk was not my forte. Out came a massive chunk of pork. “A beauty this is. From which end of the meat would you like me to cut?” My reply, “Both ends look the same to me.” “They are the same” his quizzical riposte. What an utterly witless question. Rather than spitting out a four letter word follwed by ‘sake’ I answered, “Whatever.” Returning to base having imparted my tale to dear Shirl she replied, “You really are a miserable old sod.” Such is life. Later that day, in hindsight, I admit to laughing a tad. 

Anyhow, herewith a few snaps revealing Wiltshire’s undeniable beauty as well as our time there. I live in hope that said snaps don’t bore you ridged…aka ‘cakes, cats and kids’ Facebook style…if so my sincere apologies.  

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