This last weekend I was working hard on fixing the fence that surrounds my property, extending from the street, far back to the wood line that forms the northern boundary. A strong storm had blown through and dropped a large oak branch on to the fence, smashing it into pieces strewn about the yard. It was late in the day, which I must note was exceptionally cool for this time of year. My dog Pepper was at my heels and made a slight whimper as she does and her gaze turned behind me.
“What is it girl,” I asked. I assumed perhaps my lovely wife might be bringing me some sweet tea. I knew I was in error when I heard the jolly voice.
“G’day, my friend,” He was strolling up from the east, inside of the fence. He wore his usual garb, breeches that stopped short of his ankles, his large and furry feet walking softly across the grass. A large, almost billowy white shirt was covered by a fancy vest of sorts with buttons that I would swear were made of gold. A wide smile covered his rotund face and his hair was a bit more tussled than usual. “I see the wind has knocked a branch onto your farm.”
“If I were but a farmer, we call it a yard Snikle,” I returned a smile and shook his hand. My land sits at about five acres with large, full trees lining the east and west boundary, conveniently blocking the view from my neighbors. This has probably saved me from many questioning discussions about the oddly dressed ‘midget’ that has been visiting lately. I briefly scanned across the yard, admiring the landscaping changes the wife had directed me to make.
“A yard you say? Never seen anyone but the nobles have a yard, hold their weddings and jousts and such on them,” he had been scanning the yard with me, then threw me a questioning glance with one eyebrow raised high. “What do you need one for?”
I started to speak, then halted myself. I really had no answer. My dog ran the yard, and the wife maintained a decent sized garden, but other than that, the yard existed for me to mow it weekly. Damn Snikle for pointing out our silly modern behavior. Then I had it, “I have it to keep the nosy neighbors at bay.”
He chuckled and hopped up on a low wall that surrounds the large October Blaze Maple that provides the back with a decent amount of shade. I joined him. “So, to what do I owe this visit? Fine company that it is?”
“I have just come from the most wonderful place and could not wait to tell you of it,” he was almost giddy as he spoke, his arms were very animated and his eyes wide. “Fellion and I visited the place ages ago and I just came across it again. The thought occurred to me that I aught to tell you of it, being that you enjoy hearing of unique and interesting places I visit.”
“Oh,” I asked. His tales were always certainly interesting and here he had my interest piqued. “Do tell.”
“The Inn of Last Rose,” he paused and leaned in, “A very deceiving name I might add as there was no inn to be found, merely a well sized public house….where food and drink are served during the day and well into the night. Slumber must be found elsewhere. On the southern side of Tywin, just up from that tomb I had spoke of earlier, it sits in an open field just outside of the city. On a nice grassy knoll with a spattering of trees surrounding it. The ale is excellent, a special brew by name of Gilliam’s Stout is especially pleasant and the stew is quite succulent.”
He produced a bit of what we might call jerky from a pocket, offered me a strip, and we both began to chew in between speaking. The meat…I believe it was beef, was well spiced and proved to be exceptionally well balanced between sweet and hot, something I could most closely describe as BBQ. “Like that ye do? Straight from the Rose this morning. I purchased a bit, thinking you might like a sample. Here, the rest is yours to enjoy.” He produced a small cloth pouch filled with numerous strips of the meat.
“Gilliam is the brewmaster at the Rose, and an cheerful, large fella. A roundish face, clean chin but his cheeks are covered in brown fur….like a beard he shaved clean in the middle and forgot the sides. Odd now that I think about it,” he looked skyward as if imagining the gentleman’s appearance again.
“We call those lamb chops,” I made motions with my hands, attempting to describe the silly facial hair style. “Hair here, but not here, wide here, then there.”
“Ah yes, that is it. A lamb chop you say,” he committed it to memory, no doubt to tease Mr Gilliam later. “Interesting that both our worlds would have this strange style, no? The Rose is known for the meaten,” he pointed to the strips, “and their ale. Gilliam is a fella I am fond of and he likes when I come to town and spend a few ducets. Course, I never drop just a few.” He smiled and took a large bite of the meaten.