|Face 9 of 29 Faces & sketch 12 of 75|
When we were house-hunting we had a very detailed check-list of what we did and didn't want because, unless the universe throws us a cosmic curve ball, we plan for this to be our last move ever. We knew we didn't want to live in a built up area but rather somewhere with other folk nearby but not too nearby, so the village of Reay where our house is located ticked all the boxes. Close enough to drive to the nearest Tescos in Thurso but far enough away to be considered remote.
Mind you, calling Reay a village seems a little disingenuous because, apart from a handful of houses, it contains one small shop, a church, a small school and a golf course. The dictionary definition of a village is somewhere larger than a hamlet with between a few hundred and a few thousand inhabitants. It doesn't mention what facilities there might be but surely it should have a village pub?
Not being massive pub frequenters, a drinking establishment wasn't something that we considered one way or the other and certainly the lack of one wouldn't have been a deal-breaker on us buying Craggis Cottage. Even so, we were a little disappointed when we got here and had a proper look around to discover that village pub there was not. We had thought we might be more sociable here, getting to know the locals over a pint or two.
Perhaps, it's having been brainwashed by all the British soap operas but I did expect there to be a 'Wool Pack' or 'Rovers Return' type pub where all the locals gathered over an ale or two of an evening. Everyone would know each other and on first walking in, they'd all stop supping and stare at S and I, before turning back to their drinking companions to debate whether we were blow-ins (which we are) or just tourists out of season passing through.
After a customary period of suspicion, we'd be accepted by the locals and join them every Tuesday evening for the pub quiz. Once in a while, a couple, after a few too many drams would start arguing and one or other of them would inevitably stand up and divulge some personal drama to the whole pub and everyone would look suitably shocked (or not - it's a small place where everyone already knows your business so they'd all have heard the gossip before the big reveal in the pub anyway) before returning to their games of dominoes and cosy conversations.
I'd wear cosy big jumpers that managed not to make me look dumpy, frumpy and round, my hair would finally have grown long enough to wear in a ponytail again and I'd be fresh faced and rosy cheeked from all the healthy country living. S and I would have our favourite spot in front of the open fire on a couple of battered old comfy armchairs and the dogs would lie sleeping peacefully at our feet while we enjoyed a wee drink, chatting pleasantly to awl Dougall McTaggart.
|Face 10 of 29 Faces & sketch 13 of 75|
That's how it would've been in my head. In reality, I suspect I will end up looking weather beaten and leathery rather than fresh faced and glowing and Brodie barks incessantly at everyone and everything so would undoubtedly be barred from the pub on her first visit. Still, somewhere this small, I imagine we'll soon get to know folk with or without a drink in hand!