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“Few things are more pleasant than a village graced with a good church, a good priest and a good pub.”
And so, by rights, Cranleigh is as pleasant as can be. Many a time I’ve been out in Cranleigh, and the drunken antics are legendary. Last Saturday was no exception.
We decided to give Jac’s new girlfriend Debbie (welcome to our world, Debbie) a tour of the local hostelries, all five of them. Lucky her. She was treated first to Little Park Hatch, a pub on the outskirt of cranleigh, for a swift tipple to start the evening off. Michelle and I rocked up at 8pm to find the place full of partygoers, dressed in all sorts of fancy dress (the 118118 guys were particularly inspired, I thought). After queueing for an eternity for a drink, we managed to get a round, and joined the group. Nick, as expected, turned up a little while later, and we merrily buzzed with the thought of the night ahead.
It was then that the night took a turn. One of the 118118 men suddenly lashed out at a man next to him. A considerable fight ensued and, brave souls that we are, we all stood back, backs against the wall, and watched in lurid fascination, wincing as head hit table, gasping as chairs flew. Only Simon H managed to be brave enough to break it up, and after several compliments, he suggested now would be a good time to move on. Event Number One had passed.
Event Number 2 happened mere moments later, when Lucy crashed into an unsuspecting car on the way out of the car park. Someone, we thought, was plainly out to ruin our night.
After a few minutes, we reached a sleepy tavern called the White Hart, confident that we would not be interrupted in our quest for fun. A darts board provided entertainment while I again waltzed to the bar in search of a hearty drink. The barman appeared confused as he served us – nothing unusual in that, I thought, the old soak was probably craving his next pint of bitter. But this shaking hands were a definite cause for concern. I asked around, and Lee piped up that he usually asks for a “pint of bitter, shaken not stirred”. Duly amused, I thought nothing more of it.
Until, of course, Event Number 3 decided to introduce itself. A loud crash signalled that all was not well behind the bar, and we leaned over to see the barman laid out on the floor, convulsing, dribbling and with a trail of blood dripping from a large scar on his cheek. Odd, we thought, and while others had the presence of mind to call an ambulance, we merely stood, stunned at our misfortune. The barman’s colleague fussed around, claiming she didn’t know what to do, and in a rather macabre moment, began serving customers again, mere feet away from the poor wretch shivering on the floor.
It was then that I discovered that Cranleigh is not a place to be if you’re planning on being severely ill. A full half an hour passed before the ambulance turned up, by which time the barman has righted himself and plonked down on a convenient bench, bucket in hand, looking utterly confused. The bench was considerably inconvenient for our bowels however – as Simon H quipped, “The man’s sat in front of the toilets, and has in his hand the only other way we could empty our bladders…”.
We ended up in the Cranley Hotel, which managed to calm our frayed nerves. We supped pints, shorts and shots, and got very merry. Simon H began to utter highly inappropiate comments, and we decided to leave while the going was good. Michelle and I wearily got into bed at Simon H’s, a welcome sight at the end of a very bizarre night.