"Morning! Didn't expect to see you today!"
The Chipper Barman welcomes me effusively. I order my drink, plus a gurl's drink for the LTLP, and ask for a bar menu. It is nice to be able to lunch together and so we have undertaken the ten-mile round trip to the (old) Village Pub especially.
Martin the IT Consultant sits in the corner, studying the food options. This is unusual - he is normally an early-evening sort of chap. I ponder his unexpected change in behaviour.
Thinking about it, the clue is probably that he works in IT. I guess that he probably keeps some form of geeky internet web log, and that he has turned up today on the sole possibility that he might bump into Ann Widdecombe in a vaguely amusing circumstance thus generating easy material to get round his chronic writer's block.
He is a very sad man.
The most convenient table faces the glass door that leads into the packed restaurant. We sit down and watch the world go by. The Chipper Barman approaches with his special pad.
"There might be a bit of a delay," he apologises. "We're really busy in there, with the Ann Widdecombe thing."
I had completely forgotten that she was going to dining in there (despite my suspicions about Martin the IT Consultant (above)). I assure him that there is no hurry. Behind the glass, the restaurant seems to darken suddenly. I think it might be Ann Widdecombe walking past the window, but it turns out to be just a big cloud.
Martin the IT Consultant meanders over to the cigarette machine, between our table and the door. I had no idea that he smoked.
"Any sign of the old bat yet?" he asks casually.
"Not yet," I reply.