Friday, 11 October 2013

The Graveyard Of Ale

My memory says that it was an evening much like this one.

Plenty of sun. But cold enough to still need a scarf, jacket on.

A maze of streets.

I can't, from this place in time, navigate them now.

The long road at the edge of town.

Big houses with driveways and carriage lamps. Cars shaped like space shuttles.

A church at the end of the road. St. Lawrence's.

Heavy set boy we all called Kay. He had a taste for Sven Hassle novels and The Damned.

He also had a scam.

Kay's uncle looked after the churchyard.

His idea was that we'd cut the grass for his uncle. 

In return, we'd earn enough money to buy a gallon of ale.


The Bull Inn. Whitewashed, old-style pub with no pretensions. The place where working men drank. Two pints on a Friday night. A game of darts. Catch up on the local news. That was it.

The Bull was the place to go.

Provided that you were quiet and stayed out in the back where the pool table was so that you could make yourself scarce if the police showed up.

Which they never did.

Neither of us had yet plucked up courage to go in, but this was the place that Kay thought we could drink our gallon of ale.

I can see us now, gliding around the graveyard, scalping and burning the grass. There was one grave that had a life-size angel on top. The grave was locked away behind wrought iron gates.

I don't know why such a security measure was necessary. Who was planning to go in there?

Or come out?

I can see us wearing ridiculous clothes, although at the time I thought that I looked like an amalgam of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Mick Jagger, waiting in an alley on a dusky evening. 

Kay, cool.

Me trembling with nerves at the prospect, audacity of our plan.

It's taken me thirty years to get around to drinking that gallon of ale.

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