Community Spirit – Episode 26

NATE had a lull in serving drinks whilst Frank did the first round of questions. By this time, the smell from the kitchen was overwhelming and Nate went back to see how Jeannie was getting on.

He found her sipping water by the open back door. She looked miles away and Nate watched her for a few seconds before coughing quietly.

She looked over and smiled.

“It’s beautiful here,” she said, nodding at the sky turning from yellow to orange as the sun dipped behind the incline of the field behind the pub.

“You do know you live about two hundred yards away?” Nate smiled, joining her by the door. He stood close enough to touch but kept his distance.

“I know, but I don’t have a view like this. I see other houses at the front, and a big line of conifers at the back.” She sighed. “It feels like somewhere completely different here; somewhere peaceful and calm.”

Nate laughed, stepping away from the door.

“I admire your cool, but in ten minutes about forty people are going to be looking to you for their supper. It won’t be very

calm then.” He looked around the clean and ordered kitchen. “Everything under control?”

It was her turn to laugh.

“If you’re wondering where the food is, the curries are keeping warm in the ovens, and the accompaniments are plated and ready to go. So as long as you’ve taken care of the cutlery everything should be fine.”

Nate smiled.

“Has anyone ever told you you’re fantastic?”

Jeannie shrugged and threw her water in the sink.

“Not for a long time,” she said. “Now, go along with you before I go all Gordon Ramsay and start shouting at you for cluttering up my kitchen.”

“And the winners, by one point, are . . .” Frank paused just long enough to elicit some groans and a couple of good-natured jeers
“. . . the Goosie Ganders!”

The table with Debbie and Fergus’s team erupted into loud cheers, whilst the rest of the pub clapped politely. The major, captain of the Mucklebury Armoury, and Arthur, leader of Bowled Over, exchanged looks.

Debbie stepped forward to claim their prize – a bottle of champagne and a certificate. She waved both in the air before kissing each of her team as the rest of the crowd looked on. She took rather too long as the centre of attention.

“To the Goose and Gander, the best pub in Much Mucklebury!” she cried as her team cheered over the stony silence.

They left soon after, but the other teams stayed and enjoyed themselves. After clearing up in the kitchen, Jeannie came and helped Nate behind the bar.

The major and Arthur were discussing the Goosie Ganders’ win.

“Highly suspect, if you ask me,” Arthur commented.

“Man couldn’t walk along a straight line if you asked him,” the major put in.


Alison Cook