Friday, 14 December 2007

Drink, pies and a dying friend

Listening to: Brand New Bass Guitar (Jamie T)
Thinking about: leaving the house
Questioning: the advisability of late-night steak pie (homemade though)
Weather: dull and grey

We didn't go to the leaving do (long story, sorry Dave), we didn't go anywhere near a vodka bar, we didn't eat curry or anything takeawayable.

So why do I feel so dreadful?

Reg had his pinny on last night, tatting around in the kitchen like Delia with a drink problem. Steak pie was prepared with all the veggies, but first we had some drinking to do.

We ended up in Reg's local. It used to be a decent pub yonks ago, but now it's a faceless part of a corporate chain. On Thursday and Friday nights it becomes a cattle market for desperate over-40s, so we fitted in nicely.

After a couple of jars, we decided to move on - just as a heavily made-up 60-year-old in a ra-ra skirt was preparing a bungee jump at Reg. She might have been looking at me, but if she was, she'd got a squint.

Half-a-mile down the road another former decent boozer is now a cold, uncomfortable 'gastro-pub', but we made the best of things, the chat ranging from the Daily Mail and its support for the Third Reich to first loves, virginity and so on.

Just as supping up time came, we ran into a very nice couple who Reg knows from the best pub in the world. I had to have the 'Orkney conversation'. That's the trouble when you do something a little out of the ordinary, everybody wants to know about it. The attention is good, but there are times when I feel like handing out a Press release.

Back at Pither Towers we agreed we should have spent the evening at the aforementioned 'best pub in the world', then got into a plateful of pie (this being midnight). Mrs Pither poured the wine (ah! that might explain things) and we chatted 'til late.

I've only just emerged (the Pithers having gone to work at the crack of dawn) and I'm writing this with my 'nephew' Padfoot lying by my feet. Regular readers of Grantham Newtown will know Pad is not a well boy at all and there seems to be little anyone can do. He's terribly thin and there's a look of acceptance in his eyes. I'm gutted for the lad.

Pad has, in his time, been a 'bit of a character'. When he could stand on his back legs alone he was as tall as me (sort of 6ft) and liked to put his front paws on my shoulders, barking loudly.

He also liked to hold Uncle Malc's hand. Standing there with you hand being held ever so delicately in the jaws of a huge, very hairy, jumpy Alsatian is quite an experience.

Still, he's warm and very well cared for and I'll give him a hug before I go. Sad, really sad.

* Reading this back, I realise some of it may confuse American readers. Maybe I should do a US/Canada version. In the mean-time, here are a few translations.

Pinny = apron. Tatting = doing small jobs of little consequence. Delia = Delia Smith, TV cook and (strangely) chairman of Norwich City Football (soccer) Club. Drink problem = what British people have to blot out the disappointment of losing an Empire and not being terribly good at sport. Yonks = when Reg was a lad. Boozer = pub. Virginity = a rarity in Wolverhampton.


Anonymous said...

I hate the thought of your losing Padfoot.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

So what do you know about sun rise over the woodyard in Bishops Castle??? I see you have been resident in the county town as well!!! Not ex Shropshire Star by any chance ...if so we will have met!!!!

fiwa said...

Pinny took me a minute, but I finally got it. And then I entertained myself for a bit, imagining the whole thing. ;)

Dogs are so comical. It's hard not to take these constant companions for granted, but I think about Pad and Reg and try not to with my own pup. I'm sure having you around for awhile has helped Reg feel better.

ziggi said...

why no photos!?!

Malc said...


Reg is being a brave little soldier, but, although he has had so many dogs, I think this one has got to him the most.


I lived in BC for ten years until 1998. I worked at the Express & Star. Just like the Shropshire Star, but with a funny accent.


Flowers with a frill around the edge. He looks soooo fetching in it!


Not sure if the world is ready for the Reg/Malc experience - not a pretty sight. Reg is a bit shy as well, but I'll see what I can do.

Dave said...

'Delia with a drink problem.'

This seems a little tortological, or is there some other kind of Delia?

I, like the view said...

reg shy? maybe I've got the wrong reg. . .

glad you had a good time and enjoy Shroppie with your kinder


Malc said...


"C'mon Norwich! Where are ya?" For my money THE greatest ever sporting moment. Followed by the Man City fans singing "You've been told off by your mum."


Well, not shy in the retiring sense, just in the not-wanting-to-say-cheese-for-the-camera kind of way. And thanks.

FirstNations said...

aha! there you are!
remember the gun essay? i found your offer a bit late going back over my comments. i'd LOVE to host your thoughts (sounds parasitic, but onward) get ahold of me here


baby letter 'o' there instead of a 'zero'.

snailbeachshepherdess said... you REALLY lived in BC??? I so want to live there but am meeting much opposition from the family who think I want my bumps felt!! Now when you were at the Chron did you have to troll along to the County Court to collect the list of divorces? Or go to the Crown Court and grovel with the clerk for full names addresses and ages of the crims?

Anonymous said...

I wish that I could have watched all of this like a fly on the wall!

Foilwoman said...

Virginity a rarity? I was quite sure you all were virgins.

Ginni Dee said...

Hi Malc,
I just posted on Reg's blog and I wanted to give you an American translation. I took a guess at which was you and which was Reg in his photo. I said you looked a bit more "meaty" than he did. Just so you know...meaty=hunky...hunky=muscular. I didn't want you to think I was being unkind to you. Not at all!!

I enjoyed reading about your escapades with your pal.

Ginni, in freezing Illinois, USA

Malc said...


Will get round to that as soon as I've had a chance to do a bit of proper research. I'll get back to you soon.


Castle is the finest place England has to offer (being almost not in England helps). Quite apart from the scenic delights, there's a really good vibe to the place. The locals, old hippies, bikers, in-comers all seem to get on fine. I love the place. And yes, I used to collect the divorce lists and occasionally cover Crown Court, but it was back in 1980-82.


No watching, you get down here and stand your round like the rest of us. Stand your round = buy the drinks BTW.


Hello there. Yes, I can confirm that I have done IT with a lady. . . and my first wife.


You were wrong, weren't you! I am the gorgeous, athletic one on the right (!), Pither is the troll on the left.

It's a bit parky here too. Parky = chilly = quite cold.

Ginni Dee said...

Wow, is my face is red! I got quite a blush out of being wrong, but I'm in good company. Most everyone thought you were the "meatier" one, since you have the rather extreme life of a hog farmer. That takes brute strength sometimes! I guess your strength lies in your svelteness! (Is that a word?)


Reg Pither said...

Great!! Now everyone thinks you're Clint Eastwood and I'm an extra from Texas Chainsaw Massacre! I knew I shouldn't have posted that bloody pic!!!!!!!!!!!