I went down the local pub at 5 pm on Christmas Eve. There was me, Babs the landlady and six six-feet plus tall "lads" in their twenties talking about various violent incidents they had been involved in. They had me and Babs laughing at on the face of it not very funny incidents. They had particular respect for a "Rasta" in Oldham.
I went outside for a smoke as they were leaving. The driver amongst them opened the boot and took out a baseball bat and placed it next to him in the front seat. "What d'you need that for?" I innocently asked. "You never know" was the reply.
All through Eid, Christmas and New Year I hear ... sirens.
We all go down to Asda on the Eid. A big mistake. Chocka. Most of the taxi-drivers here are Muslim so most of them were "off" and we had to wait 45 minutes in the cold for a taxi back home.
The pub opens mid-day and I am the first customer so chat with Dennis (the landlord) about the other day's conversation with Babs - "D'ju ever have any trouble? Y'know underage drinking, drugs or violence?" "Nah ...anyway I keep a rounders bat under the bar ... it's made from balsa wood!"
Many old British pubs have a "Smoking Room" signed in stained glass above the door. Our local is now making good use of this. Two women from the Council came round soon after the smoking in public places ban was implemented in July. They haven't been back. Now trusted regulars go to the Smoking Room, not an ashtray in sight, replaced by no-smoking/know-your-alcohol-limit beer-mats, so we drop our butts into a bucket that can be whisked away at a moment's notice.
At 1 am on the Monday before New Year Kezia has a temperature. Telephone the hospital. "Bring her in". They send an ambulance. An hour later the "guys in green" turn up - an easy job for them ... no vomit, no drunkeness, no knocking the door down ... they are grateful for an easy job. I know it as well and joke with them. She efficiently enquires the situation and I efficiently brief her. He knows Tom Reynold's Blood, Sweat and Tea - we are all grateful.
Kezia and Nanda are back at 3 am - Kezia's blood counts are good. Thank deity.