Last night we went down to the pub. You might not think that unusual, as I’ve written about going down to the pub so many times over the years. In fact, it’s not ‘down’, but along – out of the front door, along the little passage at the side, down Westfield Close, turn right onto Old Church Road, and along there for a couple of hundred yards to the Dolphin. I don’t know many times we’ve visited, I’ve described a fair few here.
Going to the pub is nothing to do with the beers we enjoy, it’s all about the friends we meet, the friends we make, the strangers we get in conversation with, it’s about a place to relax which feels like home – in fact it seems like another room in our home but just a bit further away. Obviously the Dolphin is the acme of this feeling, but there are many other pubs we’ve been to where you walk in and you get that same feeling of being welcomed, being comfortable, being relaxed but also being stimulated.
After fifteen wonderful years, the previous landlords felt it was time to move on – although they still come down the pub, but this time on our side of the bar! For a while some lovely temporary staff ran it while waiting for the new landlord to arrive, which eventually he did. Now, I’m not going to say anything about that new situation, except that things went slightly awry – well, to be honest, more than slightly. The atmosphere changed, some of the regulars were no long regular, even the quiz began to flag until it was just a few teams, including us of course.
Suddenly, high drama! And I don’t mean another play in the pub like we had a few years ago, very successfully. I mean the incumbent uncumbered himself, departed, left, went – dare I say scarpered?
The interim team from before took over again and then we heard new people were coming. We heard it was a couple with children – well, that sounded promising. They arrived yesterday, and although we didn’t expect them to open, we did saunter down, just in case. Let joy be unconfined!!!! The pub was open despite the family having only arrived that morning and when we went in we were greeted by the sound of conversation and laughter, and an atmosphere that was buzzing! As soon as we got to the bar, a young man with a beard appeared and with a friendly grin and a lovely Yorkshire accent, asked us what we wanted to drink! How nice to be greeted and to feel welcome again. The young man’s friendly wife came and introduced herself and within a couple of minutes, we were drinking our beer and having a jolly conversation.
We had our usual pleasant evening once again, I’m so delighted to say, and as we wandered back along Old Church Road, we had a great sense of lightness, the pub was back to being an extension of our home. No doubt it will change greatly, new people, new ideas, and that will be exciting.
I quoted Lord Byron, here’s Mark Twain’s version of that quote:
On with the dance, let joy be unconfined is my motto, whether there’s a dance to dance or any joy to unconfine!!