There was an incident the other night. A disturbance on Station Road, just before midnight.
A voice was repeating loudly “Yoicks, Hoicks, Tally Ho. Down with the hunting ban”.
Someone else was trying, without much success, to blow a hunting horn. Then there were honks, a noise like those old car horns with hand pumps make. (Anyone remember that old film, Genevieve?)
Since there is no street lighting where I live, I could not make out who they were. A few windows lit up as they went on down the road.
They were obviously coming back from the pub.
The next day we heard it was Norman Harris.
I like and admire Norman. Norman is a widower. His wife died years ago. Now he lives alone.
A big man, in his early 60’s, he owns a business that manages travel for large companies. I think he has about twenty people working for him.
He often goes to the Lamb and Flag after coming back from work and stays there most of the evening. Sometimes he plays cards.
Like many country pubs, the Lamb and Flag has bric-a-brac on the walls: riding crops, hunting horns, horseshoes, bills and menus from a hundred years ago, old photos.
Just after 11:30 Norman put down his cards, took down the hunting horn and a few other items, and told two younger guys to follow him. They went off down the road, the younger guys hanging back, amused, while Norman led the party.
Norman goes to work every day at about 6:30am. I know it is his car going by. Most of the year it is dark at this time, so I picture the car, ten minutes later, nosing into the car park of his firm, its lights circling the walls till they find the sign that marks his place.
He says that gives him two hours before the people come in. “One person feels underused, another wants to get on faster. People are the hardest part of the job.”
Another time I heard him say: “You know, humans trade with one another, then they die”.
A day later, a note was slipped under the doors of the houses on Station Road. “My apologies for disturbing the peace”, it read.