Helmut left the bar and walked over to the table, taking the seat offered by Toby, he sat among his new group of friends. The night was cold and the winds howled down the chimney making the fires glow high and hot as the sparks rose.
Toby took it up on himself to be group chairman as he introduced the group to the newcomer, “I’m Toby Marlin and I run the tourists around the bay in the season.” He looked to Jim and said “The man you were talking to is Jim Morrissey and he skips the ‘Pots of Gold’ down in the harbour.”
Sitting down, Helmut introduced himself, “I am Helmut Charbrier and I was a trawler man on a boat until she went down a few days ago. I am not sure what happened it went so quickly. One minute we were hauling in the nets and the next minute, we were awash.”
“That was boat then. We picked up signals at the lifeboat station but couldn’t get a launch as the waves were too high. How many hands did she have?” Jim asked.
Looking into an empty glass and with tears in his eyes, Helmut said, “Six, and I fear I am the only survivor.”
Jim held the shaking Helmut close and said, “I’m sorry for your loss. We are all locals and know the pain of losses like these. The pain never goes; we have to live with it. Their memories won’t die as long as you remember the good days. I think you’d better be getting off to the hut, Helmut, before you get a cold. Jan, can you show him the way, love?”
Hearing her name, Jannine turned, “I’ll be with you in a tick, Jim!”
Jim replied, “No, we’re fine thanks. Can you take Helmut over to the hut?”
“I don’t finish for another twenty minutes!” she said looking at the old clock, sitting on its perch at the end of bar.
“Don’t worry about that, Jannine. You won’t lose out,” Angie Jerrold the owner said, “It’s almost closing time and I am sure one of these fine gentlemen would only be too happy to help a damsel in distress, like me,” as she said this she winked at the group.
“Angie, you know we would help you anytime, but we would be the ones in distress if we didn’t. Imagine, having to go into town and mix with all those office folk. Not to mention the watered down beer they serve at ‘The Crow’s Nest,’ the only reason they get away with it is because to get on, you have to be in the scene. That means being seen up there,” Toby said as he gave a quick glance up to the top of the hills behind ‘The Pot.’
“Jannine, you had better get our guest to the hut before he catches a cold,” Angie said with a smile that lit the room. Secretly, wishing she could take him in her arms so her golden hair was able to touch his skin, as she warmed him by the fire.
Jannine looked at Angie, and seeing Angie wink; she opened the flap and went for her coat, “I won’t be long, Helmut, I have to get some clothes out of the spare room for you. Then you can change into dry ones for the walk over at least. After that you can sort yourself out.”
Helmut got up from his seat and walked over to the fire, before saying, “Thank you for the kindness you have shown to a stranger.”
The warmth of the fire flowed into Helmut’s tired and cold body as he stood by the hearth, his thoughts drifting between what had happened and what was to come. For now he was pleased to receive the warmth and friendship offered him at “The Pot.”