As you may know, our local is the Dolphin; it is the sort of pub where you always have a great time, whether you are on your own with friends and the bars are pretty empty, or whether it is packed with all sorts of different folk… and different folk is part of what makes a great pub great, (apart from good, well-kept beer, brilliant staff, lovely landlords/landladies) A great pub is where you meet people and are able to converse, and become friends, where you can meet people from all walks of life and of all ages… and yet you have something in common, and feel part of the pub family.
We had seen Charles (also known as Wally) many times, but although we had nodded and smiled we had never chatted to him… until one night when he was sitting at the bar with some friends of ours and we got into conversation with him. Charles was a handsome man, an elderly man in his late seventies, with a pleasant,well-modulated voice and not only a fund of stories of his own life, but a keen interest in other people and their stories. A conversation with him was a two-way thing, and after we had spent an evening with him, we looked forward to meeting him again, and chatting to him about his interesting life.
We saw him several times, nodded and smiled, but for whatever reason, we never managed to have another proper chat.
Tonight we learned that he had died, coming back from Belgium… we were extremely sad; we had only properly ‘met’ him once, but he had made such an impact. A wonderful man…
Charles, I salute you, you will be greatly mourned and much missed.