Mervyn is our local goat farmer. He’s a gentle giant who calls everyone ‘sweetheart’ and he’s asked me to write his memoirs for him. I suspect he’d write them himself except that he’s busy with his goats. Also, he says he can’t read.

When he was younger, he was walked home early from school by the headmaster’s wife. She walked briskly, holding his hand and tutting loudly.

“I’m very disappointed in Mervyn,” the headmaster’s wife told Merv’s mother on the doorstep. “I’ve just caught him smoking.”

Mervyn was four years old and went up to his room, leaving the women to talk.

“Smoking is very bad, dangerous in fact,” the headmaster’s wife continued, watching him scamper up the stairs. “It’ll stunt his growth.”

“Yes, well. Thank you,” said Mervyn’s mum and shut the door.

Mervyn is now an adult, six foot three, and still has an occasional cigarette. When he comes to the Clubhouse, he drinks Newcastle Brown Ale and tells the staff about the traffic accident he had, which nearly killed him, when he was twenty-one. All the staff love Mervyn. All the members of the Club love Mervyn. He is, without doubt, one of the kindest people I know.

Anytime there’s something vacuous on the television on the back wall, he’ll turn to the staff and say, “You don’t want to watch TV, sweetheart. You want to watch a goat.”

There’s something rather lovely about that.