End of an Era

Wednesday night was R.’s last regular gig behind the wine bar. He’s been in love for about a year now, and he’s finally packing his bags and heading for Shropshire to move in with his lady love. It’s been fun to watch a sixty-nine year old grin like a schoolboy each time he talks about his girlfriend, who is an old flame reignited. Still, I am sad to see him go.

R. has been around since the start of our Cotswoldian epic, and fifteen or twenty years before that at the wine bar. I think of him as our Cotswolds welcome wagon, introducing us to many of our now friends for the first time in his assumed role as host of the town cocktail party, which is how the wine bar feels on its best evenings. He can be a prickly character if he doesn’t like you, but, luckily for husband and me, he has fond memories of working in America and seemed glad to have an American around with whom he could reminisce and talk politics (even if those politics were a million miles away from mine). He’s also ruddy faced, a bit deaf, stubborn, opinionated and very generous. I can’t count the number of times he’s treated us to a glass of wine despite our protests. Oh, and he loves the devilled kidneys at the Wheatsheaf.

I’ve blogged about him before, like how he refused to learn to operate the fancy cappuccino machine when it was first installed at the wine bar, insisting that “the girls” do that. More than a year later he has now mastered the steaming, spurting chrome beast and is rather proud of his barista skills. I’ll miss his coffees and his banter and most of all him, although he is promising to make guest appearances behind the bar now and then.

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