It was a moot point whether, ‘The Vine’ had ever been an Inn.
A real Inn with stables and rooms…
It did though stand at a crossroads on a hill
and it stood on Cemetery Road close to a real cemetery.
A real cemetery now disused.
The statuary of the gravestones overgrown with ivy.
The chapel-of-rest boarded,
its roof breached in several places…
‘A rough oil!’ pronounced The Great Barton.
It took Don awhile to work out that ‘oil’ was Yorkshire for hole,
and that ‘a rough hole’ had connotations
which it might not be too fruitful to pursue…
Whatever, ‘The Vine’ was close to work,
and close enough to home, and on the way
in and out of town and was, as such,
a more than adequate enough ‘watering oil’…
At certain times of the year the sun crested
the hill on which the crossroads perched and shone
full-face on the front of the ‘inn’ which in those days
had a number of beer-tables right-angled against its walls…
Two doors, one into ‘the lounge’
and one into ‘the snug’ which latter contained
a pool table and a jukebox
cycling through a mix of sixties counter-culture blues,
seventies punk rock and eighties new wave…
In short, the Vine Inn would have qualified,
had it adorned a back street,
as the quintessential back street boozer!
Don frequented its spacious beer-garden,
out-back, on only one occasion,
but it proved to be propitious…
Warm, clear-skied, star-strewn,
an idea ‘arrowed’ into his grain befuddled brain,
“What if the stone builders aren’t us,” he said and beamed.
“Who else could they be?” said Kyle, disinterestedly.
“Oh, I don’t know… maybe giants, or demons, or fairy-folk,” mused Don.
Kyle’s eyes glazed-over.
From inside ‘The Vine’,
a line from Hyacinth House drifted out
on the warm night air…