Picture credit – Hannah Tobin.
Tales from the Strangled Ferret.
The Tales from the Strangled Ferret was started when the referendum to leave the European Union or not was first announced in May 2016. The tales carried on through this turbulent episode of Britain’s history until the regular drinkers were safely ensconced in their new pub. Oh, and the result of the referendum was announced.
There was then a lull until the General Election was called in April 2017. This seemed to be a good time to pull back the new curtains in the ‘Ferret and see what was going on inside.
Previously… In Tales from the Strangled Ferret.
Turgid Ales have taken over Wattknees Brewery and planned to close The Bald Badger, one of the two pubs in the village in the interests of increased efficiency. This had been successfully opposed by the villagers who persuaded Turgid that they would only accept the closure of the Bald Badger if Turgid handed over the freehold of the Strangled Ferret at a reasonable price to the community who would develop it as a community pub with a village hall and post office. This conversion would be managed by the village and Turgid would retain the right to the name until the ‘Badger’ was closed. The pub would temporarily named as The Three Crowns’ until it was ready for reopening, when it would revert to its original name and the ‘Bald Badger’ would be closed. It was agreed that Turgid would supply all the beer on condition that it was supplied from Wattknees Brewery with an over rider discount because of the increased beer sales through the one pub. All the regulars didn’t want to accept some inferior outside beer.
Ben had died, poisoned by the new chiral lemons from Israel. The coroner at Ben’s inquest had made several recommendations on the design of lemon slicing stations in pubs – with mandatory extraction systems – and that high left chirality lemons should not be imported into the UK until a breeding program had reduced the chirality to less than 5%.
Lame had got married after his suicidal episode and was now happy settling into married life with Janet on her dairy farm with 76 Friesians. They plan to move into Lame’s cottage once it has been modified and brought up to modern standards.
Jack has taken over the running of the pub conversion project with George now working as the Project Manager. George has surprised everyone as he has turned out to be a star project manager. He has brought the project in with its completion date 10 days ahead of the planned critical path. He has saved money by signing off the contractors early and so has completed the project way under budget.
Ben’s funeral was conducted with his Humanistic wishes kept in mind and Colin Bertram learned how to operate the lemon slicing system with no mishap.
The ‘two lemons bar’ was agreed to be less than tactful so it was renamed ‘The Bald Badgers Bar’ or ‘3B’ as a memorial to the old pub that was in the process of being knocked down to make space for a new supermarket, part of the Tasco chain.
The Strangled Ferret Season 2. Episode 1.
The characters reassemble in the 3B. They meet Mrs Janet Faulkes. Colin struggles with the new, pub – legal lemon slicer. They hear about, but refuse to discuss until the next episode, the forthcoming general election.
The regulars are gathered in Ben’s Bar when the news of a snap election came through…
‘Hello Jack,’ said Colin from his position, hunched over the lemon slicing apparatus where he was struggling with the recalcitrant fume extractor fan.
‘Hi Colin, how are things going?’
‘I think everything is going well except for the extraction system on the lemon slicer. The problem is that the extraction is linked with the slicer itself so if the extraction isn’t running then the slicer itself won’t work. I know it is built like that for safety reasons after Ben’s terrible end, but it is a real nuisance.’
‘Shall I get George to have a look at it?’ asked Jack.
‘Do you think he will be able to fix it?’
‘Well he is an ex tractor fan after all,’ said Jack, ‘in fact he is still very fond of his John Deere.’
‘Huh? Well yes, I have seen his new tractor parked in his special wide space in the car park. There’s no harm in him taking a look I suppose.’
‘OK, he’ll be in later when he finishes off in the project office. He’s just designing the garden and car park layout at the moment. He was going to specify it laid to grass on each side of the pub, but he thought that would look a little four lawn so he is going to have a car park on two sides, a lawn on the North side and flower beds set in the lawns sloping down to the river with picnic tables for families in the summer.
‘How’s he getting on with being the project manager?’ asked Colin.
‘He’s surprised everyone as no one expected him to be this good. I think he has even amazed himself. He is now keen to get qualified so he is taking the PRINCE 2 on- line course and then he wants to take on another project. He is starting with the Foundation course and then plans to go on to the Practitioner course after that.’
‘Wow, is he really serious?’
‘He certainly is, or he wouldn’t be spending all that money. You know George, he wouldn’t spend a pound if a penny would do the job. Look who’s here, it’s Mr and Mrs Faulks – Hatt.’
‘Hi Lame and Janet, congratulations on your marriage and welcome to the Strangled Ferret. What’ll you have a drink – on the house, of course to welcome you to the Strangled Ferret?’
‘Hello, this is Jack and Colin and this is my wife Janet.’ introduced Lame, ‘err, a couple of pints of Old Mouldy please.’
‘Where are you going to live?’ asked Colin.
‘We’re are living on Janet’s farm at the moment but it get’s a little crowded with 76 cows so we plan to extend and modernise my cottage and then move in there – do you know of any good project managers that could take care of that for us?’
‘As it happens, I certainly do,’ said Jack. ‘George has done a great job converting the ‘Ferret as you can see. He would be ideal for the job.’
‘Do you mean George that drinks in here, he always seemed a little slow to me.’
‘That’s just an act he puts on – he pretends to be the local yokel. He gets to hear more than he should and pulls quite a few free pints that way.’
‘OK, we’ll have a word with him. Will he be in tonight?’
‘Yes, any time now – he’s just finishing off a bit of work in the FPO. Sorry, that’s what we’ve got used to calling the ‘Ferret Project Office – it’s just a TLA really.’
‘What’s a TLA?’ asked Colin, a little unwisely.
‘A Three Letter Abbreviation,’ said Jack.
The door opened in George walked in – right on cue. ‘Hi George, we were just talking about you,’ said Jack. He introduced everyone and then asked George if he had finished work for the day.
‘Yes, I just had to finish off the design for the bakery.’
‘Wow, that was quick, did it take you all day? asked Janet.
‘No, it was just flour arranging really, just like the pub garden.’ said George.
‘I’ve heard from Jack here, that you have been a great project manager for the ‘ferret conversion so I was wondering if you would take on the job of extending and renovating my cottage so that Janet and myself can live there.’
‘ Well, yes, I’d like to but I have my farm to run as well and it has been a bit of a strain doing the two jobs.’
‘How about you send your milkers over to me for the duration of the project?’ suggested Janet. ‘I could see to the milking, feeding and looking after them and I’m sure they would get on well with my herd.’
‘That sounds like a good idea, I expect you will be busy out on the stump for the election, Lame,’ said George.
‘Not likely, I’ve had enough of all that nonsense. When the cottage is finished I plan to concentrate on being a good husband, gardener and gentleman farmer while volunteering for some local groups,’ protested Lame.
‘So at last you’ll be doing something useful,’ said a tactful George. Who are you going to vote for then?’
‘I think that knowledge should be firmly placed in episode 2 don’t you. Let’s all have a drink and forget about the election for now. I’m sure we will be hearing more than enough about it over the next few weeks, don’t you? Cheers.’
The bar went quiet as they all thought about the political onslaught they would soon be facing – while staring gloomily into the depth of their glasses of Old Mouldy.
© Richard Kefford 2017 Eorðdraca
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