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Cornish Antiques

I got myself comfortably ensconced onto a bar stool and awaited what promised to be an entertaining half hour or so. I'd seen Janner perform before; his line of chatting up the opposite sex was always a masterpiece of pure theatre. I wasn't to be disappointed.

'You bin by-cyclin' then', he said, upon re-entering the arena. He was still battling with his fly buttons, which was a good start.

'Sorry', said the taller girl.

Janner reached into his fishing smock pocket and pulled out an enormous pipe, we called it a blast furnace. He wriggled onto his stool and started filling the pipe with what looked like bits of old rope and ripe seaweed. 'I see you got them new fangled ridin' knickers and crash 'ats on, so I sez to meself them two ladies be by-cyclin'.

The two girls looked at each other in bewilderment, obviously not knowing what to make of this example of Cornish manhood, let alone not understanding a word he said.

Janner watched intently searching his mind for the next gambit, bits of old rope hanging out of his pipe.

'Don't you take no notice of 'im' said Geoffrey, walking back into the bar empty handed, ''es an idiot.'

The would be Romeo sat back on his stool and scowled at the Landlord. He knew better than to argue, his credit would have been stopped.

'Just you make yourselves comfortable my pretties and I'll bring the drinks over when the wife's located the ice.'

The two girls got the drift of this and went and sat down.

'When she's bin round old Trevor the fishmongers an' got some off the bloody slab,' mumbled Janner through a thick cloud of evil smelling smoke.

That was probably true I thought. Any drink requiring ice at the Trevelyan tasted of fish.

'What was that?' said Geoffrey.

'I said can we have a drink on my tab' replied Janner, quick as lightening.
Geoffrey knew when he was beaten and pulled two a pints of bitter.

'Cheers Janner,' I said, thinking this is one for the record books. I turned and looked at the girls. Janner's smoke had crept across the floor and attacked them from below. The Kaiser would have been delighted to have had this weapon at his disposal on the Somme.

'Geoffrey', shouted the Landlady from the kitchen.

''Ah that'll be the ice, wont be a tick,' said Geoffrey.

Janner heaved himself off the stool again and girded his loins for another frontal attack on the visitors. Taking his pipe out of his mouth he crossed over to the girl's table and poked his head through the smoke screen. He must have looked like a monster from the deep. 'Would you like a glass of water my birds' he said.

The girls stopped coughing and rubbed their eyes, trying to focus.
'Nasty old cough you be 'avin…'spect it be the sea mist.' He swung his arms about to dispel the 'sea mist' and showered the girls with burning hot embers of old rope ends.

Janner walked behind the bar and filled two glasses with water from the tap and started back. 'Where they gone?' he exclaimed peering through the smoke.

'Out through the door,' I told him. 'They were on fire'
'Hell… just when we was getting friendly.'

'Here we are girls,' said a jovial Geoffrey, emerging from the kitchen, holding an old biscuit tin full of ice. 'Where are they?'

'Left,' I said, 'In something of a hurry'
'What did you say to em?' asked Geoffrey, glowering at Janner.
'Nothin' my 'ansome. Think they got fed up waitin' for the ice'.
'Just seen an extraordinary sight,' said a familiar voice.


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