I heard a good yarn yesterday from Norman Smith when I joined him and his wife Maureen for a bite of lunch and a few beers at the local watering hole in Villafranco.

A few years back Norman was fishing for carp in a stocked water close to where we both live. It is not a big water, this one, and it is quite easy to observe your fellow anglers. After a little while Norman noticed there was something a little odd about an angler on the other side of the water. He seemed to be keeled over. It turns out that he had dropped down dead.

So Norman wanders over to check on him and could confirm that he had truly shuffled off this mortal coil, or whatever the expression is. This happened in the days before everyone had a mobile phone and so Norman wandered off to the local Venta where they had a telephone and could notify the authorities.

In pretty short order a ridiculous number of policemen and ambulances turned up. Ambulances of course were, at this stage, surplus to requirements. Then they all had to wait around for some local magistrate to turn up. This took a little while since he was in the middle of his lunch in Marbella. All in all they were standing around for around four hours and Norman, as witness, was required to be in attendance throughout.

So now we move forward in the narrative to the point that the widow of the deceased fisherman is asked about what to do with the body. In the end she had him cremated and was left with some urn of ashes that she didn´t quite know what to do with.

One suggestion was that she ask to scatter his ashes at the base of a tree just beside the place where he spent his last moments at a pretty spot on the edge of the water. The fishery owner agreed and they organized a simple ceremony to honour his memory before scattering the ashes.

That might have been a satisfactory outcome and a comforting ending to a sad tale but for the immediate and unscripted arrival of a bunch of free range hens who set about pecking away at the ashes.

So there you have it: a little tale, delivered over a few beers with Norman´s natural flair for story telling, about the sad demise of a hen-pecked husband.


Man eaters