pubs The Session

Session #108: Snowed In (Or Not)

This is our contribution to the 108th beer blogging session hosted by Jon at The Brewsite, with the topic ‘Snowed In’.

Britain has a pretty tame climate and snow is sufficiently rare that, when it does fall, the economy grinds to a halt as everyone reverts to childhood.

Where we live now, Cornwall, is even milder, with warm winters and cool summers. We never see frost, let alone snow, and even when it does snow up country it doesn’t seem to push past the Tamar.

What we do have is rain. Rain and gales.

Weather in which you can go to the pub as long as you don’t mind getting drenched and battered by the wind; as long as you don’t mind sitting there in wet clothes steaming like an old sock, dripping onto the floorboards; and as long as you don’t mind getting battered again on your way home. And, you know, all of that can be rather pleasant in a masochistic kind of way: there’s a cosiness attached to drinking a pint while items of street furniture stampede around town under substitutiary locomotion and the sea invites itself over the harbour wall in great chunks.

Waves crashing over the sea wall. (Animated gif.)

But we don’t usually drink anything special — there’s no imperial stout or barley wine in pubs in these parts anyway — though maybe it does nudge us away from the chiming brassiness of hops and towards beefier, browner bitters.

When it’s really bad, as in dangerous, as in batten-the-hatches and hope that’s not your roof tile shattering on the pavement, as in search and rescue helicopters overhead… Then we find ourselves huddling by the fire with Fuller’s Vintage Ale, Adnams Tally Ho or Harvey’s Imperial Stout.

They’re the beer equivalent of a warm blanket.

6 replies on “Session #108: Snowed In (Or Not)”

Ha! Good to note that ‘the ale was in fine fettle’, only a little short of being in tip-top condition.

I’ve owned 12 houses in my life and among other reasons all have been bought for the close walking proximity to a pub precisely for the meteorological reasons outline in your post.
The closest ever was 15 seconds.So close that my wife would ring me to say when she was serving up dinner and I had time to down the remainder of my pint,stroll home and find a plate of steaming vittles awaiting me.
But you’re right.Damp clothes in front of a pub fire enjoying a fine pint of English ale are a joy.

People fleeing to the pub in adverse conditions is one of the most life-affirming things about being in Britain. Even our dogs come with us. At a deep-seated level I think it’s also a reassurance to find the hubbub of people, golden light and the pooled body heat. I’ve lived in France and there is no equivalent to this communal refuge in bad weather there.

There should be a name for this hardwired instinct/reflex. Post-Micturition convulsion syndrome is the pee shivers. Fugiant in domo publica syndrome (or fuggles for short)? When you feel the wind rock the house’s foundations, you start getting fugglesy.

Funny thing about France.
About a decade ago I was about to buy a 5,000 sq ft former wine barn in the Languedoc which,together with a year-long renovation job,would have cost about half a mill.
Made loads of visits,commissioned an architect and was about to sign on the dotted line when the missus suggested we check out the local bar.
Christ,it was miserable – full of scowly old locals eyeing up pre-pubescent girls congregated around a pool table making it feel like we’d walked into a paedophile’s working mens club.We had one glass of Pernod leaning up against a Formica-topped bar and both knew instantly the project was doomed.
The England estate agent was nearly in tears,the poor bastard,but we dodged a bullet.
France would be a wonderful place to live if there were some decent pubs and slightly fewer scowly locals.
A bit like Scotland really.

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