The festive period provided ample opportunity for further gatherings with friends and parishioners; starting with New Year drinks. Wine and torch in hand, we set off again for an evening of snacks and bubbly refreshments, hoping for some first class anecdotes from our host for the evening of a life in the armed forces and growing up in the Far East as the sun set on the British Empire. With the group being of a certain age, we were confident that we would be back in time for the Hootenanny.
Just one councillor was present, so not much Parish chat. However, planning permission and the status of various village developments seemed to be a popular topic of conversation, and so remained an undertone of pseudo authority within the group; a strange feeling I recalled from our pre-Christmas gathering. The evening passed without drama, bar a brief excitement about an absent neighbour’s mistress speeding along one of the single track lanes. There seemed to be plenty of threads to pull at in this story, but it didn’t feel like the time or place. After saying our goodbyes, and the offering of good wishes for the New Year, it was just a short walk past the local to get home.
After three pints, I felt it prudent to briefly return home to check on the dogs. As the wife ordered the next round I popped back to find, inevitably, both of them sound asleep. The eldest stirred briefly and accepted a biscuit, before settling back down. I returned to the pub to find a pint waiting for me, along with the Chairman of the Parish Council. I recognised him from the pre-Christmas event, and it would appear our conversation picked up from where we had left off that evening.
The following three hours or so passed swiftly and with minimal recollection. I failed to make it back for the Hootenanny after all, but through the haze of the following morning it was clear that further steps had been taken towards public office. My potential candidature for the upcoming elections had become a discussion point with the locals, and I was being referred to as “some much needed younger blood”.
The wife offered her characteristic wisdom, recognising this is exactly the kind of thing I should get involved in, and exactly the kind of thing I didn’t have time for or particularly enjoy. Her assessment was accurate, but I felt compelled to learn more and attendance at the next Parish Council meeting seemed the natural next step. Time to see how this all worked first hand.