In many ways, the pub is the same. We drift down at our usual time, about 9:45, this time with daughter and boyfriend. We walk past the carpark at the back of the pub and there are people outside in the seating area, chatting – just as they always have done because smokers cant be inside. Because of the last eighteen months’ worth of difficulty, more people have become accustomed to siting in the fresh air, away from others. We go in the door at the nearest end, the door on the corner and greet friends sitting in the first bar with a wave and a shouted greeting. This is the end we always used to sit, for no reason other than it was the nearest to the door we entered by.
We sauntered through to the middle bar between what I guess used to be the lounge and the public – we call it the crossbenches. This is a parliamentary term we have adopted to describe this bar – as defined by Merriam Webster in Parliament it is: one of the benches in the House of Lords of the British parliament which is set at right angles to other benches and on which neutral or independent members sit. We sat there with our beer adjacent to Terry, not one of the two T’s, but a T all the same. We had the usual rambling sort of a conversation, coal mines, George Best, the pub band of yesteryear, Celtic Shambles – Celtic because of the music they played, Shambles, the manner in which they played it whisky, the usual!
Through in the ‘public’ there were various people, some of who we knew, and they were louder and definitely having fun! Shouted conversations, loud singing along with the juke box, some random dancing by one very tall and very drunk individual, a lot of conversation at a volume which suggested many were hard of hearing, and a lot of laughter. All signs of folk having a good time in the pub.
We sat and had the usual chat, we enjoyed our Otter, and as time was called, we drained our glasses, said night night to all, and headed for home.