As the sun sets slowly over the clear sea blue horizon in the West, the tin mine faeries emerge from the inky blackness of the old worn out shafts of Penwith, blinking into the twilight. They hold candles powered by starlight, and they dance as light as a dragonfly’s wing from one fern to the next along the hedegrow. Hedgehogs and the badgers note their passing in the form of a shadowy presence while the Barn Owl knows not to mistake them for tonight’s meal. His keen eye sees them, but sees them not. This does not bother the Owl, used as he is to nature’s magical ways. The gibbous moon lights the country lane in its silvery sheen but the faeries know the way even on the darkest of nights.

They sing softly to each other as they dance along, and the big people may hear this as the song of the nightingale, or the fluttering of a bats wing, or the breeze in the tree tops. Some who train their ear to listen, hear the songs as poems in their imaginations, unaware that their art is faerie inspired.

One couple suddenly break away from the others and head towards the coast. They have only one mission and they are determined to achieve it. They float upwards towards the evening star as it twinkles as a beacon calling them ever onward. Leading the way, the faerie queen sparkles, her beauty unmatched except for the moonlit diamond crested waves upon the darkened sea below. Suddeny, she stops and pointing downwards towards the lights from the old Cornish pub on the coast, she turns her head and smiles, “Whose up for a pasty an’ a pint of Spingo?”

“Geddon…I’m as dry as a sand ant’s wrinkled ball sack”

This was the Queen’s butler, Toadflax Cloverleaf also known as Timothy who was well known for his love of a flagon of ale, especially on the full moon.

“Righton, Pard, last one in does the magic!” Queen Bess shouted, but you’d hear that as a one of the distant swifts flying up into the high swift haven.

As darkness fell, the light of the moon and the hand held starlit candles floating along the hedgerow tops mimicked the star strewn black canopy above as if in mirrored reflection. The faeries could read the clusters of stars, as if they were words in a sacred book, telling the secrets of the universe, which in a way they were. The seven stars of the plough told of aeons of old beginnings, while the three stars of Orion’s Belt, the hunter constellation, pointed downwards in a line towards the windows of the pub. It was a seventeenth century, whitewashed, thatched squat building whose granite walls were three feet thick. They needed to be as it faced south west directly into Atlantic gales. Tonight though there was hardly a breeze to disturb a faerie wing.

Queen Bess and Timothy were first to alight upon the window sill to peer through the window into the log fire lit, public bar. The room’s low black beams often caught the head of the tall, unwary or the tipsy as much as they caught the flickering shadows of the fire.

“Whose in tonight then, Bess?” Although officially a Queen, there is little formality in the faerie world, and despite his formal title of ‘Butler’ Timothy was more of a drinking buddy whose flair for mischief magic tickled Bess in places where the King no longer tickled her. The King preferred to stay at home, drink beer and play chess with his old mate ‘Rufus’ who lived in the banks of the Red River just as it reached the sea at Godrevy. The Queen preferred a bit more excitement, hence tonight’s venture.

“Well, of course there’s Jinks Nankervis at his post at the bar pulling the pints, Wendy is clearing the tables, and there’s the old fart Farmer Pascoe boring the bull’s bollocks off someone I’ve not seen here before.”

Jinks looked the part. Try to imagine a landlord in an old cornish country pub who has run the place since Queen Victoria died. Someone who was fond of his pie and ale, someone who thought exercise meant strolling to the pasty shop, and someone who though that a balanced diet meant eating the same amount of meat every day. His fashion sense was set in concrete about the middle of the 19th century when only tweed was available to accompany the obiligatory shirt and tie. He owned only three pairs of trousers, all brown corduroy, and seven silk waistcoats one for each day of the week. Each paisley patterned vestment was a different colour of the rainbow and just about stretched about his rotundity. The luxuriousness of his corkscrew grey beard was matched inversely by the amount of hair not on his head. His shiny bald pate could double up as a beacon to guide aircraft into land should the light catch it.

Wendy was what some called a ‘comely wench’. There was no mistaking whose daughter she was. Apples, they say don’t fall far from the tree, and no one doubted which orchard this one came from. Her dress sense meant she could blend in with the farming crowd on Market Day save for a penchant for the display of cleavage that her father did not discourage her from showing. He had done his sums and gathered the data. With Wendy on display serving the pints, it could be guaranteed that the second or third, or more probably the fourth pint would be purchased. It was simply a matter of good business thought Jinks.

“Wendy? Got her tits out again has she?” Timothy said this more as statement of fact than a question, “..and is Pascoe falling for it?”

“Well, going by that large scotch he has just ordered, I’d rather say so”.

The faerie pair floated through the window glass and into the warmth of the bar. They could seemingly defy the laws of physics in this manner because they lived in a different dimension of space and time, in which the normal laws of physics did not apply. You see, the big people lived in the dimension known as Newtonian physics in which mass, velocity and energy are relatively simple, all held together by gravity. It explained such phenomena as the rate of descent of a cannon ball dropped from the top of the leaning tower of Pisa, why your buttered toast always landed buttered face down and why a kick in the bollocks with a steel toe capped boot always hurt. Solid things like wood, bricks and bone tend to be rather solid in this world, as was glass.

Not for the faerie folk. They lived in a Quantum world in which the spaces between the atoms could open up in a vast expanse, between spinning blasts of energy. Theirs was a world in which cats in boxes did and did not exist at the very same time! It all depended on whether you looked at it or or not. Glass was nothing more than light held together with more light and a bit of string, and it all worked if you thought about it. If you didn’t think about it, it ceased to exist. So all Bess and Timothy had to do was not think about the existence of glass et voila! they could pass through. Mind, Bess had to remind Timothy from time to time to think about the glass that held his beer, otherwise spillage could occur should it disappear due to his lack of attention.

As they entered the pub and flitted between the atoms on their way to the bar, unnoticed by the ragged company therein, the log fire became just that little bit warmer, the colours in the room just a little bit more vivid, the shadows darker and Wendy’s bouncy blouse just that little bit more bouncier. They had brought just a teeny bit more energy into the place. The pub dog opened one eye, but for why he did not know. He just sensed something. Pascoe could feel warmer inside and just that bit more relaxed. He felt like singing a sea shanty, but ordered another scotch instead.

It is a universal experience often shared in jest that, after the first pint of Spingo, the world seems to be a better place and to make sure it is, a second and perhaps a third pint should be ordered. Some who are literally minded put this down to the scientific formula that governs the relationship between yeast, sugar and alcohol in cooperation with pork scratchings, the talking of bollocks in the company of buxomness, should that be available, and time. This is the universal appeal of a country pub and real ale across the decades. In the Newtonian world, all of that is true.

But what is also true is that there is another unseen dimension where the faerie folk dispense their magic, as they dance among the stars softly singing the song of the cosmos in a never ending elegy of joy. They bring the extra colour, light and warmth to the pub and so by doing, enhace everything they touch. This is really the magic of a pint of Spingo. The next time you sip an ale, look out for Bess and Timothy. You will not see them of course, but that warmth you feel inside is down to them. They see you and they are laughing and playing as they sup from the faeire cup before catching the faierie express back home at the dawn’s first light.

Published by Lance Goodman

Freelance writer, bon vivant and all-round good oeuf.

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