I'm just back from a few days in London. Part of which was spent showing Mike around pubs. Admittedly, we concentrated on good ones, but the experience confirmed my love of pubs.
And when I say pubs I mean pubs. Not any old drinking establishment. Not trendy bars, not restaurants masquerading as pubs. I mean proper pubs. Though, if you were to try to pin me down to a precise definition of what makes a pub, I'd be as lost as if you asked me to explain Burton Ale in a single sentence.
Sitting a quiet pub, while ran splatters the windows and guggles through the gutters, newspaper and pint in hand is one of life's great pleasures. A soothing way to block out the crumbling economy and burning streets. An eternal refuge of peace an calm. Somewhere a total stranger says hello when you stumble blinking through the door and goodbye when you stumble out again.
A good pub is timeless. Not modern, not traditional, not Victorian, not just walls and windows, carpets and counters, publican and punters. It's an abstract concept, a thing of beauty and charm, of peace and of pleasure. Where you feel more at home than at home. More at rest than when asleep. In short, something to be treasured and nurtured. And, yes, preserved.