After I had visited The White Swan (see previous post), I walked on a very short distance and came in sight of what had once been the village green. And here I discovered a pub which looked more to my taste - The Mason's Arms.
They had no real ale, but I haven't exactly signed the pledge in that respect, so I settled for a pint of McEwan's Best Scotch. This dark, fruity beer, with its fine head, reminded me of my youth. Of course, in those days, all beers were real ale, delivered in wooden barrels and served through hand pumps. Despite the fact that the beer was slightly cooler than it ought to be and slightly less full-bodied than the beer I remembered, the taste was the same and brought back a flood of memories.
Memories of "spit and sawdust" old dives where no food was to be had apart from crisps and the odd pickled egg crowded into my mind as I sat and drank in good company. This was a real pub with real people in it and I certainly felt more at home there than I had in The White Swan.
A general conversation was being held in which anyone could participate. Someone asked if I was walking far and I told them my plans to push on to the next big village, Stannington.
"It's a canny walk to Stannington, mind you," I was informed, "but there's a pub there, The Ridley Arms."
The familiar temptation came over me to abandon the rest of my expedition and just knock back a few pints in The Mason Arms.
But I resisted and pressed on when I had finished my pint.