I had no idea what this meant so I did a bit of investigating - this is what Wiki told me:
The garden city movement is a method of urban planning that was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by "greenbelts", containing proportionate areas of residences, industry, and agriculture.
Well, then I realised that we already have a Garden Village locally.
Cotford St Luke is on the Minehead road and was built on the site of Tone Vale Hospital and the Cotford Asylum in the 90's.
Much of the original buildings were demolished or converted into housing.
The hospitals chapel which is grade II listed has been converted into a pub and on Saturday SD and I were invited to a meal there to celebrate a friends Birthday.
The food was pretty good, a mixture of primarily Thai dishes with a few English dishes for the less adventurous.
The building itself is stunning inside and out!
Anyway, this isn't really a post about Cotford OR The Chapel (as the pub is called). It's more about what happened AFTER!
At the end of the meal a few of us decided to continue the evening at a pub local to me called Molly Malones.
As the name suggests, it's an Irish pub run by a very Irish landlady (who also owns the Racehorse across the road).
Scary Mary as she is known runs a tight ship. Her pubs tend to attract the slightly insalubrious elements (no, I'm NOT talking about me!!!) but she's a 5ft nothing fireball and no one messes with Mary so there is rarely any trouble.
To be honest, any raucous behaviour often finds Mary herself at the centre and she has been known to demand bands keep playing long after the cut off point of 12 am while she dances on the tables.
Anyway, a band was playing on Saturday, One 4 The Road - not the most imaginative of names but the music was good and as soon as we had our drinks Jon, the Birthday Boy, grabbed me by the hand and span me around like a spinning top on a polished parquet floor with me grimly hanging on to the bottom of my dress as it rode up my thighs threatening to expose my entire bum to the crowds (which some may say is a slight improvement on the dress I wore to a formal dinner party which inexplicably rode DOWN so I was flashing my boobs at the over privileged wanker opposite me - you can read about THAT here if you like - and luckily this time there were no extremely plain wives wearing monks robes to look disapprovingly at me).
As I said, Marys pubs tend to attract interesting characters and we very soon became aware of one rather worse for wear gentleman who was dancing enthusiastically and singing along with the band.
He was clearly a Punk Rocker with his piercings and his head shaved but for the two inch mohawk stripe down the centre of his head.
He was such a happy chap jumping around, arms flailing, knocking the pool ques out of their holders every few minutes before carefully replacing them each time.
And then I noticed something odd (well, ODDER!) - His Punk credentials were slightly marred by the fact that he appeared to be wearing a dress over his baggy jeans ... I looked closer ... Yep, definitely a ladies dress which came almost down to his knees in a kind of soft cotton, a grey/blue in colour with a tiny white flower print and dainty puffed sleeves ...
And then he spotted me!
I don't know what it is about me that attracts people like that but he decided he wanted to dance with me.
Now I'll dance with pretty much anyone and to be honest, he wasn't taking no for an answer anyway. It wasn't so much dancing as me trying to avoid his windmill arms so I didn't get a black eye with SD and friends convulsed with laughter as they watched from the sidelines.
Then he took his dress off and things pretty much went downhill from there.
Eventually I escaped and hid behind Jon (who is 6ft 4" and fairly wide) while SD continued to laugh at me.
But he hadn't seen what I saw ...
Making his way purposefully across the room was Billy The Butcher - now technically he SHOULD be called Billy The Boner as he works in an abattoir boning carcasses but that name has rather unfortunate connotations so we call him the butcher.
Billy is another interesting character. He's about 5ft 8" and wiry built with very straight hair which hangs forward kind of like a mop.
Billy would look rather like this if he wore a crown although his hair is very dark ... In addition, Billy has a moustache like a Mexican bandit and very starey eyes which never seem to blink and very few teeth.
Billy is very serious at all times and you can clearly imagine him with a curved fine bladed knife making short work of a whole pig.
You don't mess with Billy and Billy LOVES SD!!!
I mean REALLY loves him.
I mean REALLY REALLY loves him!
I don't know what it is, maybe it's hair envy or something ...
Billy moves silently and gracefully through the crowds , his lithe movements on a par with snake hips Joe who is swaying gently at the bar - snake hips Joe is usually known as one armed Joe (lost an one arm a few years ago - long story ...) until he starts to dance and then he looks like all he needs is a pole and a vat of baby oil.
Talking of poles - it turned out that the punk rocker was a Polish migrant named Erik. When the band played their final song he asked if we knew anywhere there might still be music so we suggested he tried the Racehorse as their licence allowed them a later finishing time.
He shook his head sorrowfully - 'I not go there' he said, 'It is not permitted' he added sadly. 'The lady there, she think I am ... Stupid ...'
Anyway, BEFORE that Billy suddenly appeared in front of SD and shook his hair slightly at him. It kind of reminded me of that dueling banjo thing, you know, where they take it in turns to play faster and more complicated tunes on the banjo. I think Billy fully expected SD to give a little head shake of his own back but SD just stared at him like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Billy gave another couple of tentative shakes, paused for a moment and when SD didn't appropriately respond, puffed and errant hair out of his mouth before clicked his fingers in SD's face as he jerked his head to the left indicating SD should dance with him.
SD's fingers tightened on my arm, Billy stared him down and, with another shake of his head moved towards the dance floor.
Like I said, you don't mess with Billy - if Billy wants to dance, you dance!
SD shuffled across the dance floor pulling me with him and started to sway in time to the music looking straight ahead as Billy swayed and gyrated around him and the half naked Polish Punk Rocker (who was on his knees at this point) serenaded me with Billy Idols 'White Wedding'.
Yep, all in all, it was a pretty good night ...