Modern pubs... you’ll miss them if they disappear
I M feeling a little misty-eyed this week, and it s not because of the stinker of a cold I m suffering right now (please note that I am in work and not claiming to have man-flu). The waving of tissues has been interspersed with a wave of nostalgia which o
I'M feeling a little misty-eyed this week, and it's not because of the stinker of a cold I'm suffering right now (please note that I am in work and not claiming to have man-flu).
The waving of tissues has been interspersed with a wave of nostalgia which overcame me when I received an email unveiling the results of research commissioned by a fizzy drinks company.
Pollsters quizzed people on which British icons and institutions they would be sad to lose if they were to die out or disappear in the next year.
A whopping 60 per cent of folk asked said they feared the demise of the local pub by which I presume they mean the all-singing, drink-guzzling, food-scoffing, open-all-hours places of today.
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If nostalgia does strictly mean thoughts of happy times gone by, then a local pub to me is a small perhaps intimate smoke-filled (oh how did we put up with that?) building. If it was in a town it may well have had two bars labelled saloon and public where the beer was cheaper in the latter. If in the country, it was likely to have just the one bar. A roaring coal or wood fire was a requisite in the winter.
And if you wanted something to eat with your pint, the most on offer were crisps, pork scratchings and maybe a dodgy looking cheese sandwich or pork pie.
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How things have changed. The other day I went into a pub which I first knew when I was in my 20s. Then it was one room with a bar at the end and an elderly landlord and landlady who huddled together and eyed all customers with suspicion when they walked in.
But it was a quaint old place and served a good pint. Now it is four times the size, there's an extensive menu (but the sort which can be found in many other such eating establishments) and the beer is not as good as it used to be. But at least there was a cheery welcome from the people behind the bar.
Other things which people were most upset about losing were post offices (which is tough because the powers-that-be are closing them hand over fist) and red telephone boxes (I suppose they just like looking at them because there is no need to use one in this mobile phone-equipped society of ours).
Four out of 10 people reckoned they missed Concorde which is a tad surprising as only a tiny proportion of the population had enough money to fly on one and if you did happen to spot one it was a tiny dot miles up in the sky.
Also tugging at the heartstrings was the loss of Sunday as a day of rest. Gone are those Sabbath days when one strolled down to the pub in time for it opening at midday. Then you had to leave at 2pm and were not able to go back until 7.30pm. Come to think of it, the modern pub is not so bad after all.