For some reason the previous blog lost its tail end, so I have decided to add a Part 2 to it. To complete the last sentence, "designated drivers" has become the way to go for the locals now. A fact that saddens me when I think that, instead of being able to stroll down to the local of a Saturday night for a pint, they migrate to the next town and someone drops them off and collects them.
Dan was a sort of local handyman. He was 6'4" and devastatingly George Clooney-like with ravens wing black hair, eyes of violet blue and no idea how good looking he was. When I was eight, Dan was twenty five and any girl over sixteen had an eye to this gorgeous man. He was incredibly shy. I adored him from the age of seven, when he rescued me from an oak tree in a neighbours garden. I had taken refuge from her puck goat, as nasty a piece of work with huge horns and mean diabolical eyes. Dan, coming up home from the pub at lunchtime, strode past said goat, horns and all, and calmly lifted me down and carried me to a safe distance. Therein was Dans problem. The pub. He was its best customer.
For many years I would walk up the road with him on my return from school, or work and we would chat about the local bird life. Dan could name any bird and this gentle giant had another string to his bow. On the rare occasions when he gave up drink, for Lent, the month of the Holy Souls [November] two weeks before and after his mothers birthday, Dan could make the most fabulous furniture, complete with intricate carving. He could take a piece of plywood and by the time he was finished it would take an expert to tell the difference between Chippendale and his work. Dan made few pieces, and those still in existence, are treasured.
Ten years ago Dan was found frozen to death in a bus shelter. The drink had finally gotten him. He had lost everything, his looks, his talent for woodwork, his home. After his Mother died when he was 52, he had stayed off the drink for fifteen months, as he proudly told everyone. However, the demon drink is a hard mistress and she called him to her like a Siren of old. He lost his house because he couldn't pay his rent, and the Council in those days took very little heed of where people wound up. He had tried rehab, but fell off the wagon. Dan was too shy to really communicate, but he had more friends here than he realised. There wasn't a dry eye in the village over him. Most interestingly enough those that wept for him all could trace their ancestry back in this village, as I can. Only the "in-comers" sneered in contempt. What did they know of this kindly man who never harmed anyone, and who quietly did more good deeds around the place, whether under the influence of alcohol or not.
Part 3 to come...The Great Snowball challenge.