Yup. Postman in the Village got so fed up with a terrier nipping his ankles every morning, he picked it up and bit it. Owner wasn't too pleased, but everyone else is. Evil eye, that dog.
Fire engine went through the Village square yesterday and nearly gave old Bill sitting minding his own business on the bench a funny turn. Bill's 73 and looks 90. He hasn't seen a fire engine since 1979 when a barn caught fire in the middle of the village. Bill drank his way through three farms but his wife and kids still love him. He's lame and blind, and his son carts him around the village in a trailer attached to an old Massey Ferguson tractor. Bill sits there in an armchair, waving like royalty and blinking. Can't see a thing, he's nearly blind.
Blind or not, he still knows exactly where my backside is when he's in the pub and wants to pinch it. "If I were a younger man......." he says. Not if I have legs you wouldn't, Bill my old lad, I think. But I don't say it I kiss him on his old cheek, soft and free of stubble. I expect the alcohol killed the hairs. I pat his head with affection. He's bald as a coot too.
The Village is fast asleep in the hot summer sun today. The only noises are bees and the faraway murmurs between two tilers working on a roof on the road below. Even the cockerel who is bed and breakfasting in our old chicken shed is silent, stretched out on the grass in the orchard next to his sleeping lady.
There's no other sound. No car, no train, no plane. Nothing. You can almost hear the beans growing in the vegetable patch. How much is that worth, I wonder. Millions to me.
One of the Village's two pubs changes hands today. Chris and Jane have gone and will play golf until they drop. Julia and Kevin were owners of the village shop. No longer. It's sold and they have upped sticks and moved 30 yards across the Square into the pub. They must be exhausted. They barely moved a muscle between them in the shop for three years so to walk that far is risky indeed.
They roused themselves for their first major task. The deep fat chip fryer was rescued from its dumping ground in the garage and reinstalled in the kitchen. It bodes ill for the pub's regulars. I fear for the future of the fruit and veg man who delivers on Tuesdays and Fridays. He's just too healthy and he sells Green.
The Village summer party is tomorrow in The Old Rectory, a glorious pink painted Georgian vicarage which sits comfortably among grazing sheep in a wooded valley. The sun will shine, the lamb will roast, the wine will flow. I will not be there. I am not welcome. Quite rightly. But that's a tale for some other time.
And tonight, the first reading of the play, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, in the village hall. It is the first step on a major journey which will take us to some strange places by performance time at Christmas. I am at the tiller of this lumbering boat, nervous but optimistic. I'm wearing shorts and a sou'wester, a sort of belts and braces approach. It's a big ocean out there, and we've got to cross it now whether we like it or not.
By the way, I get sea sick.