When I was in NI in July, there was some amusement, some surprise, some almost disapproval from certain quarters about the pictures of Aunt at the pub. “You’ll corrupt her,” laughed one family member. One cousin said nothing at all. But her silence spoke volumes. Another cousin, also tea-total, smiled, and seemed amused at his strait-laced, Baptist-Church-attending relative happily chowing down at a pub. Perhaps I should mention he is a minister in the Church of Ireland.
Uncle Bill, Aunt’s Big Brother, smiled broadly.
Whatever their reactions, it seems we have hit on a winning formula. I pick Aunt up from her home, we drive through a countryside she doesn’t see enough of these days. We go to a pub with a chef, check that they can cater for someone with Coeliac Disease, settle ourselves comfortably, relax, eat and enjoy our surroundings.
So here is Aunt at Pub Number Two.
I am not trying to suggest we went on a pub crawl, though the Nephews would probably pay good money to see their Great Aunt staggering from hostelry to hostelry. The first pub was the one we went to in July, the one in Reach. As Aunt said, we started with the best.
Not that the Walnut Tree was bad. It was jolly good; excellent customer service – the chef went through the menu and ticked every dish on the menu he could make suitable for someone with Coeliac Disease. The staff was attentive and friendly. We sat outside in sunshine and admired the flowers.
It was noisier than Reach, with cars going up and down a road we had thought of as quiet, and there was an, at times almost invasive, farm smell. Again, I ate most of Aunt’s chips.
But we lingered after we had eaten, and enjoyed watching people and the soft sunshine. There were Ladies Who Lunch; an extended family from the US, presumably with links to the nearby USAF base; office workers with limited time. No dogs, which both of us regretted. On a trip to the loo, Aunt was hailed by her cleaner’s daughter who was working in the office.
We went to the local farm selling free range eggs and stocked up, then back to Aunt’s flat where I uploaded my pictures to her tablet.
When I got home last night after a meal with Octavia in a local restaurant, there was a ‘phone message from Aunt hoping I’d make it East again before autumn makes das Boot unattractively cold.
I already have a pub in mind.