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Geoffrey bent down behind the bar and lifted a trap door, the entrance to the cellar. There followed a spouting of invective from our landlord into the bowels of the earth such as would have bought a blush to the cheeks of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by an equally informed reply as to what Geoffrey could do with his barrels, his pipes, his cellar, his pub and not least, the part of his anatomy that would accommodate the said fixtures and fittings.

Not at all put out, Geoffrey closed the trap door, filled his pipe with half a ton of shag and set about the laborious task of setting fire to it. 'Geoffrey,' I said, 'I found a crate of broccoli on the doorstep this morning...don't know how it got there?'

He struck another match, at least the fifth in as many minutes and gave me
a hard look. ''ave to ask Canute 'bout that,' he said, ''es the bugger to ask 'bout that.'

I was reflecting on these matters when a car pulled up outside. Geoffrey and I both looked out of the window. 'Tourists,' I said.

'Hell,' said Geoffrey, and tried the beer pull again. Nothing happened for a second or two, then, as he was about to burst forth with another broadside a torrent of beer shot out, rebounded off the bottom of the glass and drenched Geoffrey from head to toe. 'Bugger!' he shouted, just as the first of a family of four innocent holiday makers wended their way into the bar.

He was, we found out later, a retired grocer from Wolverhampton and he was down in Cornwall looking for a retirement home for himself and his wife. At any rate he was well used to the saltier language of life and could give as good as he got. 'And up yours mate!' he shouted across the bar, turned round and hustled the rest of his family out before they had even got over the threshold. I could hear him muttering something about Cornish hospitality as he frog-marched his bewildered family to the car.

'I'll be buggered!' exclaimed Geoffrey staring open mouthed at the departing Ford Granada.

I was just thinking that he would have been if the man had been twenty years younger, when a terrific explosion rocked the foundations. Geoffrey seemed to levitate six inches. He stumbled sideways and resumed his normal height. The trap doors of the cellar that he had been standing on burst open and a cloud of white spume shot out, vaguely taking on the shape of a humanoid as it came to a shuddering halt.

If Geoffrey considered himself somewhat agitated, wet and bewildered, he was as calm as a vegetating parsnip compared with the now just recognizable Neptune. He stood beside his wide eyed boss, bosom heaving, dripping from head to toe in foam and best bitter.


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