Community Spirit – Episode 04

HALF an hour later, Arthur and Frank had finished their drinks and Nate had heard all about the most recent manager and his surly attitude.

The customers had drifted away, then the bar staff, as there was no need to employ anyone to serve.

“It makes me sad to see the place brought so low,” Arthur commented. “Not so long ago the Goose and Gander played second fiddle to the Mucklebury Arms. Then it was bought out and the new brewery did it up. This place seems to have stood still ever since.”

“Forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead,” Frank declared.

Arthur nodded.

“Very wise,” Nate replied.

“What this place needs,” Arthur noted, “is a woman’s touch.”

They both looked at Nate.

“Ah.” Nate laughed. “That will be a bit tricky, I’m afraid. It’s just me and my daughter. She’s only fifteen and far more interested in music and the internet than running an old pub.”

“Not to worry,” Arthur said, looking uncomfortable. “Just a thought.”

“It’s fine, Arthur,” Nate assured him. “It’s been a while. My wife and I separated two years ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Frank replied. “I hope you enjoy your time here. It would be great to see the place brought back to life.”

Jeannie Dunn waited inside the village shop. In front of her a grey-haired man in a worn suit was turning out every pocket of his trousers and jacket to find the change for a packet of Old Holborn.

After an age, Jeannie was in front of Mrs Cooper.

“Bless him,” Jeannie said. “He was really struggling to find the money. I’d have helped out if it were anything but tobacco.”

“The only thing he struggles with is breaking into a note,” Mrs Cooper confided, counting his coins into the till. “You’re a kind girl, Jeannie, but you keep your money for yourself and that daughter of yours.”

“I’d like to settle my account,” Jeannie said in a soft voice.


Alison Cook