The life of a country vet was, in many ways, completely incompatible with the ordinary working man's pleasure. If I wanted to, I could very well enjoy a night at the Drovers Arms consuming pint after pint like any other man in town; but to do so always invited the possibility that hours or even minutes after I stumbled home to bed, I would be woken from my intoxicated slumber by a farmer telephoning me to come out and see to his cow. Despite the number of times this occurred, however, Tristan and I still hadn't learned how to stop tempting fate.
Fragments of the previous evening drifted before me as I dragged myself out of bed and down the passageway to the telephone. I could recall repeated moments when Tristan had implored me to have just one more pint; dancing foolishly with Tristan in the street in front of the pub; plunging down the street and into the night, arm in arm, both still singing dreadfully. I glanced at the clock with bleary eyes - it was five in the morning. Compared to most of these occasions, the blasted farmer on the other end was being positively considerate.
Of course, it hadn't occurred to me that my early-morning caller may not be a farmer at all.
"Jim," Tristan said, hoarsely, through the receiver, "Jim, is that you?"
"Tristan? What are you doing calling me? Why aren't you in bed?"
"Jim, this is serious," he hissed. "I need you to help me find out where I am."
As irritating as it was to be woken prematurely on such an occasion, I had to admire hsi commitment. "Well, Tristan, this is certainly a new angle on the prank calls."
"This isn't a prank! I don't know what sort of an adventure we went on last night, but I've woken up somewhere and I need you to help me find out where I am!"
"We didn't go on adventure last night. We came home and went to bed - where I was just having a lovely sleep until you thought it would be funny to run out to a payphone and wake me up. Well, it wasn't. Get off the phone and go back to sleep."
I put the phone down despite his frantic pleading, and walked towards my room, happily anticipating another few hours of delicious sleep. I stopped abruptly in the doorway, though, when I noticed a detail that had escaped me in my blind quest for the phone - I had apparently spent the night sleeping alongside a small, good-natured goat.
We must have had something of an adventure last night after all. Hardly any of the farmers around Darrowby kept goats.