In the autumn, at the end of the season, Cornwall breathes a sigh of relief: not glad to see the back of the tourists, as such, but looking forward to a bit of ‘quality time’ with itself. Fast forward a couple of months, however, and the novelty of all that peace and quiet has worn off.
On the beer front (the most important bit) pubs we can usually rely on to have several decently-kept, interesting beers are down to one or two, the local market alone being unable to sustain any greater range. Wot no Proper Job? St Austell Tribute, which is a fine, fine beer at its best, becomes a lottery — shifting slowly, and too often staling long before the end of the cask, and ending up tasting like it often does in London.
And as for the atmosphere in the pub… well, without Emetts to roll eyes and chuckle at, the locals start winding each other up, like the increasingly twitchy subjects in an isolation study. For example…
An elderly man out for a few drinks with his wife, suited and booted, finds himself sat a few tables away from a large group of middle-aged people. They eventually pull instruments from pockets and bags and, with stamping feet, begin to sing folk songs in the finger-in-ear style. After ten minutes, as their volume increases, the aging gent becomes agitated, and then leaps to his feet: “I spend a lot of money here; I come here to relax; and I can’t hear myself speak over the noise of that…” He points at a bodhran. “Fucking drum thing!”
Roll on spring: fresh beer and fresh faces are what we need now.