Monday, August 01, 2005

The night the goats got loose.

A few years ago I ended up helping run a pub in Surrey by mistake. The pub had a very large beer garden at the back, and my then partner in crime one day said "You know what would be a good idea, rather than mowing the grass out there all the time, we should get a pair of goats!"
At the time I thought it was just one of his rather dafter ideas and thought no more of it.
About a week later, I returned from a day off to find that during my short absence, a brace of goats had been installed in a pen in the garden.
They were large, had horns, were brother and sister, and had been named Homer and Marge.
They also decided that I was their new 'Mum', as I was the one that ended up feeding them the most, and I can also 'speak goat'.
I didn't know a lot about goats, but I soon found out that they are (or at least these two were) very friendly, permanantly hungry, omnivorous - vegetable and mineral, they will eat it - bloody minded, and could teach Houdini a thing or two about escapology.
News of the goats spread amongst the 'regulars', and they came from far and wide to watch me trying to stop them escaping the pen, and feed them without getting butted.
I managed to find a couple of pegs and chains so that they could roam the garden and keep the grass down, and people would bring their children to meet them and also - and this was not good - feed the goats crisps and offer them drinks.
After a while, only the very brave or very stupid would enter the garden, as Homer especially, would spot a drink or crisp packet, and assume it was for him.
He was particularly keen on cheese and onion crisps, rum & coke, and pints of bitter.
Many customers thought that just because the goats were chained, they would not get loose and do their damndest to get what they thought was for them. What Homer wanted, he usually got.
In brief, I had a large friendly animal with horns, that thought I was it's mother, could proably escape from a sealed lead box, and was on the verge of alcoholism living in the back garden.
Woo and hoo...
Anyway. One night, as it was almost 11pm, I had fed the beasties, read them a bedtime story, tucked them up in their pen and moved all the garden furniture around the pen in an attempt to stop them escaping.
In the bar were a few of the locals playing pool and quaffing a few beers, and also a stranger sitting at the bar minding his own business, enjoying a pint of bitter and some cheese and onion crisps.
Can you guess what was about to happen?
Yep, somehow, both goats got loose and decided to come looking for 'mummy'. After not finding me in the garden, they decided to check the bar.
They hadn't been in the bar before.
They thought it was great fun.
Marge decided to investigate the pool table by jumping on it. Goats like jumping on things, she liked the pool table.
Homer decided that the pint of bitter and cheese and onion crisps were for him and had been put there 'specially by 'his new best mate' ie: the poor sod who didn't know about the goats, and was rather surprised* when Homer put his hooves on the bar and proceeded to drink his beer.
"Aaaarghh!" he cried, "There's a bloody great big goat with large horns drinking my beer, and now he's eating my crisps! Help me! Make it stop and go away!"
To which the reply from my ex, and the regulars was;
"What goat? There's no goat in here... I think you've had a bit too much to drink mate..."
The poor man fled the pub never to be seen again.
Marge ate one of the balls and the chalk before she was caught.
Homer had a hangover the next day.

*an understatement.