Playing for the Queen
The fact that the country pubs nowadays attract the Hooray Henry types from the cities provides the locals with a constant weekly source of amusement. One instance of this occurred earlier this year when the village galas were in full swing. Brassford Band had been playing for the annual May Queen festivities at a nearby village and had enjoyed themselves enormously. The weather had been almost perfect and the crowds had been out in force. A fairground had kept the attention of most of the youngsters away from causing mischief, the parade went off without a hitch and the May Queen looked a picture. As was the custom, the band adjourned afterwards to the Millers' Arms in Brassford to discuss the days events and 'replenish the spit'. The Millers' Arms is a quaint 'olde worlde' pub which was converted out of the old livery stables. It stands just back from the main street and has a large car park behind it in what was originally part of the church fields. Being Sunday, the pub had acquired it's usual complement of 'townies' in their sports cars and tweed jackets, who were competing with each other to appear sophisticated and appear relaxed in the unfamiliar surroundings. Inevitably, one of them decided that he should demonstrate to his female companion that he was 'one of the boys' and, having listened to the band's conversations for some time and figured out who they were, asked the inevitable question of where they had been performing.
"Why, we've been playing for the Queen" replied Des, the Flugel horn player with a proud look. By coincidence, there had been a visit to a neighbouring town by one of the Royal Family that day and our town friend must have half heard the mornings news.
"Well, by Jove," he exclaimed loudly, "we are in the presence of celebrities, these chaps have spent their day entertaining our monarch."
The noise in the bar subsided noticeably and eyes began to move towards the group.
"Did the Queen speak to you?" asked our garrulous friend.
"Speak to us, why she took tea with us - and her attendants".
"By Jove," our friend was obviously at a loss for any better exclamation, "I didn't know she ate with just anyone."
"Oh, yes," a wry smile just began to creep into the corners of Des' normally deadpan mouth, "she likes being with us country folk, she knows where she stands with us."
"Well I'm blowed, I never knew that but then I suppose they can't show that on the television".
"No son, they wouldn't dare let on half of what our Queen gets up to on a Sunday afternoon." By now all the regulars in the pub were revelling in the amusement of this cross talk whilst the townies were either looking bemused or were trying their best to become inconspicuous.
At this point, Jill, one of the barmaids couldn't contain herself any longer, "What was she wearing" she asked, trying to maintain her best innocent expression.
"Oh, I think it was their Mary's old wedding dress, - you know, the one she bought for that posh feller that jilted her."
"Er, er, just which Queen are we talking about," stammered our city friend, the penny had obviously dropped at last and a rosy glow of embarrassment was just beginning to tinge his cheeks.
"Why, the Haston May Queen of course, it was their Well Dressing today, which Queen did you think we were talking about?"
This work is Copyright to Ian W. Wright 1994. You may use it for your own private purposes but reproduction by any means or its use for commercial gain is strictly forbidden without the written permission of the author.