The American in the Quasi-British Pub

in #lifelast year

I opened the doors to the old building while the British and American flags were having a bit of an argument with each other above my head. It looked like they might be throwing some insults back and forth for old time’s sake, but it was difficult to tell with all that wind in my ears.

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Inside, the pub seemed to lean in toward me from the ceiling. Maybe like a welcome; maybe like a threat. I wasn’t sure. Before me sat a bar, which looked a bit lonely sitting there in all its gleam of shiny alcohol logos and very few people to read them. The thought of how I have never sat at a bar in my life crossed my mind.

I thought maybe I should, but I’m just not a bar kind of girl. Americans aren’t as good at bars as the British I don’t think. That’s probably what the flags were arguing about.

No matter, in the middle of my internal debate a waitress appeared and led me to a table, because apparently I don’t look like a bar kind of girl. Or, maybe it had to do with me hovering there like a fly over a big fat American hamburger. As I said, no matter.

And so I was brought to an odd little booth with odd little decorative nobs at its top and the whole thing was oddly small. Clearly it was made a long time ago, and looked like something made for a smaller generation. Suddenly I felt like a China doll set neatly in place on a museum display. That was all fine and well, I could tolerate being stared at, but I did in fact need to eat there.

There is something a bit unappetizing about eating in a museum. Think of the dust. The stagnancy in the air seems to sour supper. And who might be displayed next to you while you enjoy your meal? The shrunken head, of course. Maybe the mummified cat to your left would appreciate a nibble? I swiveled my head back and forth quickly, but was reassured by not seeing the above mentioned.

Instead, there was a great deal of memorabilia hanging from every crevice of available space both on the ceiling and the walls. Some sort of antique looking horns were hanging to my right, and they looked depressed by their own silence. A framed picture hung to my left that looked like some sort of notice. It looked very angrily written in Old English. I respectfully decided to give it a bit of space.

I perused the menu. Cornish Pasty. Scotch Egg. Steak and Kidney Pie—with the words Try It! written beneath. Clearly they had already had their fair share of American skepticism.

Every non-American culture seems to really enjoy their kidneys. In Traditional Chinese Medicine kidneys can be called “the wellspring of life.” It just seems kind of gross to me to eat a wellspring of life. Although I suppose eating a wellspring of life could restore me, just like the fountain of youth. I could return to my youthful days as a young calf frolicking in a field of green.

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Don’t want to risk that, I decided. I placed my order and headed over to the bathroom. It was a small room with an extra latch installed above the doorknob, just in case. You can’t be too careful while peeing.

I took a look at the toilet and I had one of those moments, like a premonition. It was one of those sorts of toilets—the old ones that look testy. The sort that might do something unexpected, like overflow. And there I was in that tiny room, barricaded in by an equally testy latch with a bit of rust at the ends.

It turns out it wasn’t a premonition and I safely escaped the little dungeon, but was flagged down on my way back to my table by a couple of suits of armor. Like all suits of armor, they do most of their flagging people down simply by looking eerie. They seemed to stand there in wait, just waiting for that grand moment when they would spring to life (was it the kidney pie?) and ram through the kitchen in search of make-shift swords.

I thought that over for a minute and decided I liked the idea. The knight ghost’s helmet would be awkwardly swung over his handsome face while he dashed forward with a knife that had been used moments earlier by the cook chopping up those kidneys. He would run toward the other ghost knight, who was only just awaking from his not-so-eternal-sleep. That knight—who was possibly better looking than the first—promptly held up a shield that he scavenged off the ceiling. And I couldn’t decide who I was rooting for.

I wondered back to my seat. One shouldn’t get too close to a couple of dueling knights. The decidedly American waitress brought me my food. I leaned back in my seat as I contemplated my new found medieval fantasies and the oddness of eating in a museum.

I like this place, I said to myself. Through the windows I caught sight of those flags outside. They were still fighting, and I think they were enjoying it.

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When we were in the UK for several weeks last year we hit a lot of pubs. We're not pub people and don't hang around in them here so if felt a little odd. We loved it though. The atmosphere, the old-worldyness of it, the fact it felt comfortable. The food was amazing which were were not prepared for either. Had expected it to be bland and one dimensional. It was basic fare, but done with class and with obviously great produce.

We're still not bar or pub people but there's something about sitting in a 300 year old building surrounded by layers of history all enshrouded by a thatched roof...Will go back for more.

Nice little piece here Ginny.

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Can't beat a British pub!!

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I agree.

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Yes, it definitely sounds very different from the American bar culture, which consists of chicken wings and football. The place I went to here I think was a bit of a mixture of both, with a bit of museum thrown in :)

Thanks for stopping by.

I always stop by, just don't have the chance to respond always, not with validity anyway.

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That's very sweet. I have that problem too. I don't comment anywhere near enough, but there is so little time for me to be on here. I put writing above socializing.

This is a hobby for me, as for you too I think, a release of sorts...I get that you're busy elsewhere though, makes getting a comment from you all the more valuable. 😉

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Ugh the British eat weird food. i should know.. married one. Scotch eggs and steak and kidney pie are gross.

Wait WHAT! You haven't sat at a bar before?????? Omg girl. You haven't lived.

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Ha, I know it. I don't really drink, and have zero interest in sports, so bars have never called to me. I suppose I will one of these days.

What on earth is a Scotch egg?

I thought you were going to say that the knights started pointing back towards the bathroom where the toilet truly was now overflowing ....LOL !!!!

I'm sure eating in a museum would be a good place to conjure up many new stories.

Ha, I didn't think of that! Maybe they were not searching for make-shift swords, but for plungers! I think that museum eatery probably is a good place for writers block.

Brings back memories of my trip to England this spring and visions of ghostly patrons in 300 year old pubs.

Those places must be mighty creepy after closing.

Haha! What were you doing there, just trying it out? By yourself? What did you order and how was it?

I have driven by the place many times, so finally I decided to stop. I had the fish and chips - very unexciting I am. It was alright.

The food was mediocre and you are not excited or you are not exciting? You mean as a person if it's the latter?

I am not exciting, or adventurous, so I did not get the kidney pie :)

Oh ok, got it. Maybe you'll feel more adventurous next time!

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