The last time I went to the village pub was sometime last spring, when I dropped in one weekday lunchtime when Russell was out, for a swift half, as it’s called. It turned into a very slow pint as someone I know slightly was there and insisted on buying my drink. He then insisted on buying a second, though I’d much rather have paid for that, then someone else joined us (both well known as fairly heavy drinkers) and I did manage to get the next round in, though I left myself out of that one. I finally went home a couple of hours later, with a slight feeling of having taken too much time out of my day, and it rather put me off going for a bit.
However, today I went out to the post box and carried on walking round the village and, when I got as far as the pub, I looked at my watch and it was just after 12.30. So dropping in seemed to be a good idea. I wanted to feel comfortable doing that, I like the pub and I’d been a bit shy of going in for the first time since Russell died.
And it was really nice and comfortable, people chatted and were friendly. I had a second half and laughed about the silly notion I might have only one. It’s £2.40 a pint now, by the way, which still seems quite reasonable. In the days I used to visit regularly on Sunday lunchtime, which was years ago, it was £2 but that must have been the best part of a decade ago. It wasn’t hugely busy but was going to be later, when the rugger was on, though I left before that and came and watched it at home.
I was thinking about how pleasant a place a traditional village pub is, if it has a good landlord. Some years ago, someone I knew was telling me about her son and his Japanese wife, who had recently come back from Japan to London. They came and visited for the weekend and she felt very self-conscious about being a foreigner. It was all right in multi-ethnic London, she said, but they went into a rural Suffolk pub and everyone turned to stare at her. It was explained that it wasn’t because she was foreign and it wasn’t unfriendly, just that she was a stranger. If she’d smiled and been ready to chat, she’d have been included. But she wasn’t convinced at all and I felt that there wouldn’t be too many return visits. I’ll go back again, I liked it there.