NICE bloke, Jeff.
Known him for ages, but haven't really seen him since I arrived back in Cardiff four-and-a-half years ago. He used to work at one of the large car companies on the Newport Road on the way out of Cardiff. He lodged with my former landlord Cliffy, the ex-jailer at Cardiff Nick. We used to share a few pints in the old haunts of Roath.
That's why it was great to see him in The Yard the other night, sitting opposite two women. He had put on a bit of weight, but as far as I was concerned it was the same old Jeff.
"Hey Jeff," I said smiling as I retreated towards the beer "garden" to join the wonderful One and the Prince of Darkness for an after-work pint and cigarette. "What are you doing now?"
He stood up and smiled back. "Right, butt? I'm doing a bit of work for the Scarlets now, see, back down in west Wales."
The realisation suddenly dawned. This Jeff wasn't the Jeff I knew as Jeff. Holy moly.
But I didn't have the heart to end the conversation, or own up to my rapidly waning powers of recognition.
"Oh yes, very nice," I said, trying to find an excuse to back out of the door as quickly as possible and leave this embarrassing incident behind me. Not only did I not know this man, he was obviously a dyed-in-the-wool Welsh rugby follower. A former prop, to boot, if I was taking an educated guess. And a Llanelli Scarlets supporter.
Strange thing was, he seemed to recognise me so I couldn't just cut it and run.
"So what brings you to Cardiff?" I asked.
He waved a mighty mitt towards his two female companions. "Down here with the wife and mother-in-law, like. We've come up to see Englebert Humperdink."
About to close out the conversation, it suddenly dawned on me that I had picked up some news about that particular concert that might be of use to him.
"Actually, I think it's been cancelled," I told my newly acquired companion.
"I'm not sure but I'll go out and check."
I left the bar and rang the Robot, who happened to have bought tickets for the concert for his mum.
"Is Englebert Humperdink off?" I asked.
"Yes, he cancelled," said the Robot. He then spent around 10 minutes trying to explain the reasons. "It says on the door he fell down stairs, but on his website it suggests he had chest pains. I tend to favour..." Typical Robot.
Yeh, thanks for the in-depth analysis but my "buddy" is waiting.
I went back into The Yard to break the news.
"Aaaaaaaaw, nooooooo!" screamed his Mrs, an obvious Englebert fan.
My new pal was grateful, though. "Awww, thanks a lot for finding that out for me, butt," he said.
And off they went to get their refund.
As for Jeff? God knows where he got to.
Regaling this tale in the office, Danny Boy (the poipes, the poipes) jumped in to tell us of a similar case of mistaken identity which had befallen him during his days out in the wild West (well, Swansea, then).
The story goes that Danny was walking along the street when he noticed a pal of his taking money out of the hole-in-the-wall. Rather than shout out to him, he decided it was an ideal chance to sneak up and whack his pal over the head with a rolled up newspaper.
Which he did. A shocked face turned to meet him... one that the Poipes had never seen before.
Somehow he survived to tell the tale.
Last night I went home early in time to watch Heroes, then saw some more of my Lost Series 3 dvd which I bought last week, having missed the series while on the Ashes tour last winter. I had a pumpkin all ready to cook for Hallowe'en night but ended up enjoying a tasty can of Morrocan lamb soup I bought in Morrisons a couple of weeks ago.