Buckland-in-the-Vale and Sandstone Tor Gay Book Club
(Inaugural Meeting)

an excerpt

Chapter One

Buckland-in-the-Vale and Sandstone Tor

Gay Book Club

(Inaugural Meeting)

Rory saw the handwritten sign posted on the village hall notice board as he flew silently past on his bicycle at the end of the first day of the new autumn term. It was his favourite part of the ride home, coming off the moor with its seductive scents of bracken and dung, down into the pitch dark of the green tunnel lane that wound through the tiny Devon village of Buckland-in-the-Vale. The slight decline from the cattle grid to the centre of the village allowed him to increase speed enough to sit back, hands free, coasting with the wind in his face and nothing but the sound of his racing tyres on the slightly sticky late-summer tar. So he was upright and well able to see the fluttering sign, but, conversely, he was doing about thirty miles an hour and all he really read with any clarity was the word gay. That he made out quite clearly. Perhaps it was the anachronism. Buckland-in-the-Vale wasn't a place ordinarily associated with anything gay. Dartmoor wasn't. Devon wasn't, come to that, unless you visited certain notorious clubs in Plymouth, which he definitely didn't.

But apparently there was now going to be a gay club in Buckland-in-the-Vale. And Sandstone Tor--he didn't want to forget the huge, squalid farm complex on the edge of the moors that, because it had its own dilapidated chapel, was grandly bestowed with the term hamlet. The hamlet of Sandstone Tor.

But a gay club. It defied belief.

Technically, Rory didn't live in Buckland-in-the-Vale, but slightly within the boundary of West Buckland. These things were very important, he had discovered when he'd first moved in, and caused endless difficulties for such critical activities as delivery of post, collection of rubbish, and attendance at church. His cottage actually straddled the all-important parish demarcation line. His toilet, he had reliably been informed by the agent who had sold him the tiny, overpriced place, was actually in Buckland-in-the-Vale, which is why that address had been put on the details and not West Buckland, which, according to her, spoke an entirely different language in the all-important lexicon of property values. So, as far as he was concerned, if he crapped in Buckland-in-the-Vale, he could attend Buckland-in-the-Vale gay club. Gay book club. He remembered to add that codicil, as presumably this wasn't a club in the sense of the one in Plymouth, but more a forum where cerebral gay men could meet, discuss reading and...well, make...friends.

Being gay, something of an expert on books, and very, very in need of some friends, all of this seemed like an exceedingly good idea to Rory as he stowed his bike in his tiny shed and stripped off his helmet.

Books and other local gay men.

What could possibly go wrong?