Author: Colm Brady

Description of pub conflict between local farmer and newly arrived property developer.

You walk into Lynches pub-sorry-wine bar and head for your usual seat. The battered leatherette stool with duct tape repairs has been replaced with a wrought iron Pomodoro red model that weighs a ton. These weighty thrones serve two purposes; firstly they help create the ambience the new population of city commuters enjoy and secondly they are too heavy for the locals to use as weapons on their unwanted neighbours. This village is a good sixty miles from the city but a combination of house prices and new roads have changed it in a couple of years from remote to “quaint”.
At the mention of the word the Cappuccino brigade have arrived en masse in spotless 4x4s with pricey jumpers draped around shoulders and mighty buying power. Soon hoardings arrived to advertise estates with names like “Galloping Greens” and the old Creamery is converted into a Futon shop.
The only neutral space between the two camps is the pub slash wine bar and already the evening is shaping up to be lively.There are two men at opposite ends of the bar and you sit in the no-mans-land between them.On one side is Oliver Sharpe, a consultant working in the city who owns property around this village. He is at the vanguard of the invasion and has big plans for this hamlet. His wife owns the creche and is at home tonight doing the accounts.Oliver lifts his thinning fairish head and salutes you with his bottle of Erdinger.
A grunt emanates from the other end of the bar from a stocky grubby man. Mickey-Joe Spears ,better known as Britney, also acknowledges your arrival.He is dressed in a greasy navy boiler-suit and accessorises with a battered red baseball cap that states the owner uses Makita power tools. Britney still operates a working farm and agricultural contractor business and so far has abstained from selling any of his land. A bachelor, he is nearing sixty and has never left the village but knows a thing or two about knowing a thing or two. He nurses the latest of many glasses of Smithwicks.
Oliver is having an animated conversation on his mobile phone which irritates Britney greatly:
“Yaw I got the letter from the planning authority, not good”
“The hoor is plotting more of them shagging yellow houses to bring more blow-ins”
“I’m working on rightsizing a paper mill at the mo but after that I’m all yours”
“The fecker has right-sized this place anyway to be sure”
Oliver hangs up and glares at his accuser who is now bemoaning the price of diesel.
“Britney, you are a cork bobbing in the sea of economics ; you don’t understand the parameters of the system you are operating in.”
“What did you call me mother?”
Oliver nervously shifts his docker-clad behind on the seat for the whole village is aware that when Britney passes the eight glass mark one has to be careful.
“I was just saying we are all relying on the global energy market, even a silage contractor ” he says with a hint of a sneer.
His Nemesis attempts to dismount but slides to the floor where he promptly falls asleep. The owner picks him up and links him to the door. As Britney leaves he mutters darkly.
“I have a slurry spreader with your name on it�.”
Oliver knows that Britney has the wherewithal to redecorate his mansion in brown and decides to leave well enough alone tonight.