The beer garden
Chattering people, catchy music and laughter filled the small beer garden. People were treating themselves with a cold beer on that warm sunny Saturday evening. The tiny village had one small, but really friendly pub. This happened to be only a few hundred metres away from the campsite where we camped. Obviously we voted for a pub dinner. A lamb was slowly sizzling on the open fire. A local man was playing on his guitar and singing songs to entertain the people who gathered in the pub`s beer garden. Soon there was no more space by the tables and the new arrivals settled on the grass.
We were sitting shoulder to shoulder with locals on a bench and were listening as they gossiped about village affairs. About people they knew and the unbelievably good weather. And they wanted to draw us into the conservation.
- Did you come to the show? - asked the lady with grey hair and friendly smile as she sat down next to me when we offered the space by our table.
-No we didn`t -we admitted. And then she and her husband briefed us about the great village show.
We then had to tell them how we landed in that tiny village on that sunny weekend. We wanted to use the wonderful summer weather that we had been enjoying in the past few weeks. And of course we decided to have a weekend away in the Brecon Beacons. It seemed like a sensible plan as we had a great chance for dry weather. That (as we heard) is not very common in Wales.
We went to the pub early. As soon as they started serving food we ordered our dinner and sat outside in the beer garden to enjoy the warm, peaceful evening. But we barely finished eating when people started to arrive in small groups and soon there were no empty table or bench. We offered to share our table with an elderly couple. They started a polite conversation and soon they were introducing us to other locals.
-These people are from Guildford – they told their friends while I shyly sipped my cold cider and shuffled sideways on the bench to give some space to another lady who was joining our party.
-Did you come to the show? – the question came again as she was sitting down smiling.
- No we just came for a walking weekend. We went for a walk today, climbed 3 hills and then followed a long ridge and came for a dinner and drinks. We are staying at the campsite -we summarised our day quickly.
- oh how lovely -she remarked.
By then we had three couples by our table, all locals and all older than our parents. And they were all paying attention to the strange couple from Guildford.
-who won the best jam prize? – asked one of the ladies suddenly and the others pointed to the lady with white hair sitting opposite to me.
-Oh it was a great show wasn`t it? The others nodded.
- How was the trip to Scotland?– someone changed the subject again, turning to the lady who won the best jam prize.
So we all joined in and shared travel plans and then talked about places we visited and loved, which is always the best subject for conservation.
Soon our glasses were empty and Jacint returned to the bar with the men to get another drink while the local ladies chatted to me cheerfully.
Our table company ordered some food but by that time the pub`s small kitchen was so busy that people were waiting for their food for more than hour. We were very grateful that we went and ate our dinner early. However hunger didn`t change the group`s spirit. The lady next to me -who quietly confessed that she was turning 70 next year - told us about her recent trip, while she was sipping her wine and giggling with her friends. The sun slowly disappeared behind the hills and when the food finally made it to the beer garden we left the hungry group and returned to the campsite.