Brown hares boxing
© Russell Savory
I have been a regular at our local pub for twenty nine years. In that time I have hardly ever seen any trouble. Mostly people get on nicely - enjoying their chosen tipples while they socialise and relax. Essentially, it's what pubs are for.
Habitually, I rock down there late on a Thursday night for three or four pints of Tetley's bitter and a chinwag with Bert and Steve and sometimes Danny. We are peace-loving friendly fellows united by our distaste for dog dirt, litter, Donald Trump, waste plastic, televisions in pubs, braggards and Brexit. When we leave we have put the world to rights again and we say good night.
No trouble. However, this Thursday night there was trouble, involving a young Irish barman who has been working at the pub for the past eighteen months. Let's call him Patrick.
Patrick is six feet four and a rugby player. For a few months he had a sweet and attractive girlfriend who was almost a foot shorter than him. Around ten thirty on Thursday night she came back to the pub and asked Patrick if it would be okay for her to bring her new boyfriend in for a couple of drinks.
Patrick agreed with a charming smile. Clearly he had remained quite smitten.
All was fine for the first ten minutes but then the new boyfriend got up to visit the lavatory. This involved passing the doorway that leads behind the bar. It was a bad move because at that very moment, his face red with rage, Patrick burst from behind the bar and assaulted the new boyfriend, his fists flailing like the sails of a windmill in a gale.
Luckily, three other blokes leapt in to separate the combatants and the new boyfriend was bustled outside. Meantime the sweet girlfriend who had got up to see what the hell was going on was also attacked by Patrick and again people had to step in. I guess that young lass will never again be physically attacked by a six foot four Irish rugby player. It was not nice to see.
In 1697, the English poet William Congreve wrote:
Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd.
He had clearly never encountered an enraged Irish barman who'd been dumped by a pretty English maiden.
I have not been back in the pub since that trouble but I would say this in conclusion. If my son Ian had been that new boyfriend I would have been straight on to the police urging them to arrest Patrick for common assault. After all, youthful love affairs come and go. And if I had been the pub's current manager/landlord I would have sacked Patrick on the spot but I am guessing he will be back behind the bar when I next pop in - on Sunday evening. After all, it's a mad world.