Where everybody knows your name

For the first time in my life, I have something that I think I could actually call ‘my local’.

My familiarity with the place has come about as a result of the rugby World Cup and the fact that there aren’t exactly a lot of places to watch the games ’round these parts. Gradually, it has become a bit like a close friend’s living room, to the extent where we have no qualms about making ourselves at home. We move the furniture around because we want the comfy sofas and they’re too far away from the big screen. We select the music, and often just sit around shouting requests at whichever one of us volunteers to sit at the computer.

The other week I was hungry and saw a delicious-looking steak sandwich sitting on the bar, which turned out to be something the owner had thrown together using leftovers for his supper, and not on the menu. But I want a sandwich, can’t I have a sandwich?  I asked pleadingly, gazing at the sandwich which was at that moment the only thing I wanted in the whole wide world. He obligingly made one for me out of the remaining leftovers, and then everybody was envious, and now, a few weeks later, it’s so popular it’s going on the menu. I imagine they’ll call it “Hayley’s Sandwich”, for that would be the appropriate thing to do.

We wandered in on Sunday afternoon, straight from the train station after our Busan trip, to find that they hadn’t actually opened yet, or even cleaned up from the night before. This was the moment we all realised we might be spending too much time in this place, for the barman simply brought us in anyway and told us to pour our own drinks while he vacuumed.  I helped him with some DIY chores (no, really), someone else pulled pints, someone put on a movie, and we kicked off our shoes and curled up on the sofa to spend a relaxing couple of hours in ‘our’ living room before everyone else arrived for the match. When you don’t actually have a living room of your own, this sort of thing is like a little sliver of heaven.

We watched rugby, we ate dinner, we had a bit of a singsong with some people who lingered, and then – when everyone had gone home – I sat on the sofa with Irish Friend One and South African Friend Two, and watched Catherine Tate clips on YouTube for several hours. We toasted the beginning of my thirties when the clock struck midnight, and then the owner poured himself a drink, turned on the karaoke machine, and joined us for some celebratory singing.

Yes, maybe I am spending too much time in the pub. ;) But it’s just so much fun…!

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