In the East Bristol in the area of Hanham, at Stephens Green, there is Ferry Lane leading down to the River Avon. Next to the water there is a group of cottages along with two public houses, one of which is called the Chequers.
Pete, who I had known for some time, as we sat on the same Parish Council together, asked me to remodel this fine old pub built on high ground overlooking what used to be the slip way for the small passenger ferry, which had ceased many years before.
It was an interesting assignment as the premises only had one small ladies toilet which was down a long corridor, and the gents was very old fashioned and not up to the standard required at the time.
Once the survey was out of the way and the layout of the building was on the drawing board it was not too difficult to change the design and introduce the facilities needed. The old dining room, which was small and cramped, I found the space to enlarge it and turn it into a decent sized restaurant.
The pub closed for the duration of the reconstruction and after the conversion work had taken place the facility reopened in the later part of the spring. Our two families had become very close and we would spend time together.
It was during the summer and Pete’s birthday was in early August, the eighth to be exact. The four of us, that is Pete and his lovely wife Pat, also Jean and myself, sat down in the new restaurant to celebrate his birthday.
We had finished the early part of the meal and Pat held her glass up and looking at Pete said “Happy Birthday.”
Pete went very quiet and then he stood up and said “It’s not my birthday my birthday is the 17th December”.
He looked strange and the restaurant went quiet because he had spoken extremely powerfully as if he was starting a speech. We asked him why he had said it and he just shook his head and sat down.
My father had died about ten years before this event and many years before we knew Pete and Pat, therefore there was no way he could have known either of him or of his birthday, for my father was born on December 17th.
The other strange thing following on from this event is that he would frequently call me ‘Son’ although he was quite a few years younger than me.
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