Sunday, December 3, 2023

reading and eating accomplished

So we held our book discussion group's annual Reading and Eating Meeting yesterday in the back room that I'd reserved of the Irish pub/restaurant. It was a success. Seven people showed up, which was actually close to all our regular attendance, and that was enough to satisfy our hosts, as we all ordered full lunches and at least one drink - most of us had two. Service was excellent, and so was the food.

With the lights on and the table set, the room was much less dank or stuffy than it had looked when I checked it out on a previous visit. There was some noise from the kitchen but not enough to interfere with the reading. Occasional staffers walking through to get to the building's back door were not too distracting. And we built a schedule for next year's discussions without much hemming or hawing. It was a successful experiment, and general agreement was that if we still can't find an appropriate living room, we can do this again next year.

For my reading choice, I said that since we were in a pub, I'd read a famous scene taking place in one: but this is not the version you know. Part of it goes like this:
Suddenly Bingo noticed that a queer-looking, brown-faced hobbit, sitting in the shadows behind the others, was also listening intently. He had an enormous mug (more like a jug) in front of him, and was smoking a broken-stemmed pipe right under his rather long nose. He was dressed in dark rough brown cloth, and had a hood on, in spite of the warmth - and, very remarkably, he had wooden shoes! Bingo could see them sticking out under the table in front of him.
"Who is that over there?" said Bingo, when he got a chance to whisper to Mr Butterbur. "I don't think you introduced him."
"Him?" said Barnabas, cocking an eye without turning his head. "O! that is one of the wild folk - rangers we call 'em. He has been coming in now and again (in autumn and winter mostly) the last few years; but he seldom talks. Not but what he can tell some rare tales when he has a mind, you take my word. What his right name is I never heard, but he's known round here as Trotter. You can hear him coming along the road in those shoes: clitter-clap - when he walks on a path, which isn't often. Why does he wear 'em? Well, that I can't say. But there ain't no accounting for East or West, as we say here, meaning the Rangers and the Shire-folk, begging your pardon."
That's the first draft.

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