The sun shone brightly over the picturesque village of Shere in the Surrey Hills, and Dave, Sarah, Will, and Eleanor Peterson along with Sarah’s parents Terome and Esmeralda Lancaster entered the William Bray in order to meet Terome’s old University friend George Blyth.
George was stockbroker, and prided himself in helping other people earn money via shares whilst he earned money alongside.
“There he is!” Terome said as a shortish man in sunglasses, a white shirt, light blue shorts, and white trainers stood up from a table under a parasol with his arms outstretched, ready to give his old friend a warm embrace.
“Hello!” George said as he stood up to hug his old friend and his relatives.
The two of them together looked like the main characters of a quirky British buddy comedy about some OAP’s.
“How are you, my old friend?” George said to Terome as they sat down at the table.
“I am doing well, thank you,” Terome said, “I have delivered justice to the people who deserve it.
“Very good,” George replied.
“How about you?” Terome asked George.
“Oh you know, getting rich!” George said before cackling wildly. Terome laughed with him. Esmerada, Dave, Sarah, Will, and Eleanor grinned awkwardly instead.
“But hey, at least I help other people get rich too.” George said.
He then looked at Will and Eleanor. “I think it’s time for these two to invest in some shares.”
“I think they’re still a bit too young,” Dave replied.
“Come on! Banana is going form strength to strength. Surely young Will and Eleanor here should invest in their old man.” George said.
“We’ll think about it,” Dave said.
“Make sure you do,” George said. He then turned to Esmeralda.
“And how are you, my darling?” He said.
“Very well, thank you.” She replied.
“Still looking as gorgeous as when I hooked you two up, Esme.” George said.
He then turned to Will and Eleanor. “I’m good at these things, your grandparents have been married for what, 50 years?”
“53 in July,” Esmeralda replied.
“53 years, and they were together for five years before that. If either of you two are looking for a partner, hit me up. I never fail.” George said.
“I’m sure they’d rather not have a 78 year old man be their wing man,” Sarah said.
“Age doesn’t matter if it results in a relationship as long and fruitful as your parents, Sarah,” George said.
“If you say so,” Sarah replied.
After a brief catch up, the menu finally arrived.
“Chickpea and coriander burger?!” George said whilst scrutinising the menu. “What is wrong with society today?”
“There’s nothing wrong with being vegan,” Dave said to George, “the daughter of our local publican is a vegan.”
“Really?” George said before leaning towards Dave and Sarah. “What would she think if she benefited financially from the meat industry.”
“We’re not giving her shares in a meat company, George!” Sarah said.
“Come on! What about that Irish guy? What’s his name? Pete?” George said.
“Patrick O’Brien?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah, him. He’s successful, isn’t he? He lives near you as well, doesn’t he?” George said.
“Even if we did give her shares with a meat company, we’re certainly not giving her shares with one owned by a paedophile.” Sarah said.
“You’re not still holding that against him, are you?” George asked. “The man’s moved on. Besides, who cares if you get a load of money out of it?”
“Trust me, Adele would care,” Sarah said.
“That being said, we do need to get her a present for her birthday next week,” Dave said.
“You could get her some shares?” George suggested. “It’s a very simple gift.”
“We’ll think about it,” Dave replied.
After Dave, Sarah, Will, Eleanor, Terome, Esmeralda and George ordered and received their food and drink, the conversation turned to the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.
“I suppose I was sad to see the old guy go.” George said as he ate his sirloin steak, “I flew my flag at half mast.”
“It was rather sombre, wasn’t it?” Sarah said.
“Yeah. I thought the Land-rover was a nice touch.” George said. “It’s got me inspired for my funeral. Not that I’m in any hurry to die, mind.” He chuckled and took another bite of his steak.
“I was half expecting Phil to pull off one last surprise,” Terome added, “like playing a video he recorded before death in which he revealed that he did kill Diana after all.”
“You don’t actually believe that do you, Dad?” Sarah asked.
“No. But I would have done if he showed that video at his funeral.” Terome said.
“I’m sure Steve would think that,” Dave said, “he thought the CIA had killed Harry Taylor.”*
“Who’s Steve?” George asked, having very little knowledge of Dave’s family.
“My younger brother, he lives in Australia now,” Dave said.
“Are you sure he’s not just a figment of your imagination?” Terome asked his son-in-law.
“No, I’m sure he’s in Australia,” Dave replied.
“Hmm,” Terome said.
“Old Phil was a bit weak, wasn’t he?” George said, deciding to bring the conversation back to the Duke of Edinburgh. “He didn’t make it to 100. I’m sure I will make it to 100.”
“He almost made it to 100,” Sarah said, “besides, 99’s still pretty good.”
“Not as good as his old man,” George said pointing at Dave. “How old is he? 103?”
“106,” Dave responded.
“And still going strong,” George said.
“No, actually. He’s slowing down. We think he’s not going to last the year,” Dave said.
“Oh really?” George said whilst cackling like a madman. “Interesting.”
With that, Dave, Sarah, Will, Eleanor, Terome, Esmeralda, Terome, and George ate their meal in silence.
A little while later, they decided to have a walk around the pretty village.
“It’s quite nice, isn’t it?” Esmeralda said.
“Why do you think I’ve been living here for the past fifty years?” George asked. “Mind you, your village in Warwickshire looks pretty nice as well. Lower Slaughter isn’t it?”
“Lower Strangling. Lower Slaughter is somewhere else,” Dave said.
“Yes,” George said before cackling again. “I’m planning on visiting sometime. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”
“It’s not actually known whether Jesus visited Lower Strangling,” Dave said, “it’s just a legend.”
“I know. I don’t particularly believe in the guy either, but if he did exist, I’m sure he had good taste.” George said.
“Lower Strangling was just a field with some mud huts in it when Jesus supposedly visited with Joseph of Arimathea,” Sarah said.
“Must have been quite a field,” George said.
“He was there to convert the heathens, not to see the sights,” Sarah said.
“Who cares?” George replied.
After a short walk, Terome, Esmeralda, Dave, Sarah, Will, and Eleanor bade farewell to the eccentric George.
“I’ll see you around, Terome,” George said, “and I’ll see you four in Lower Strangling.”
“Can’t wait,” Dave said.
“I may even give the publican’s daughter a piece of my mind. Do a bit of converting of my own!“ George said before cackling once again.
“Ok, bye,” Sarah said before quickly getting into the car.
With that, George waved at the Peterson’s and the Lancaster’s cars as they drove out of the car park before leaving himself to go back to his cottage.
“George was in fine form, wasn’t he?” Dave asked his wife on the way back to the hotel.
“Yes,” Sarah said, “I hope he never changes.”
“Neither do I,” Dave said.
With that, they drove back to their hotel.
*See The Assassination of Harry Taylor.