To be so superficially pretty inside, populated by so many pleasant subrbanites, and to exist in the midst of a fine–if somewhat sterile*–modern housing estate, the Lane embodies much of the worst of what the modern estate pub has to offer. Here’s my visit.
I arrived at the bar and one of the employees, who was hoisting a glass or two with a couple, spied me standing there, muttered “fuckin’ ‘ell” in complete disgust, then dashed behind the bar and disappeared into the galley. Two minutes into the resulting uncomfortable silence, the fat chick in the trio-made-two offered, “you might get noticed quicker next door.” Not sure if she meant in another room or in the medical clinic across the car park, I looped my arm to make a broad pantomime pointing gesture toward an apparent hallway and asked, “in there?” She repeated herself, slowly, as if ordering a Jaeger Bomb in a foreign land; to this, I answered with my original question phrased for the slow, “yes, so the other room is in there?”
At the other bar, my approach sent most of the staff scattering to hidden regimes of the building, but one very unhappy old tubbo deigned to wait me out by languidly wiping the bar with a filthy, damp cloth; 15 or 20 seconds was all she could do and, without looking my direction (that is to say, directly in front of her) she turned and rushed out to assist a table that didn’t welcome her interference at all. I pulled my camera out, smiling at this developing comedic situation and decided to shoot a bit of the dreadful decor. In the mirror, you can see the next character:
“Are you waiting?” she asked, a bit too loud and not just a little bit threateningly.
Turning slowly, I answered, “Ages, love. Do me a Carlsburg, please.”
Oh, and to top all this shit off, the Muzak had Stevie Nicks AND the Doobie Brothers…why not just come around and kick me in the balls while you’re taking the piss?
But, the Carlsberg was £2.35.
*It reminds me a lot of Langford Village in Bicester, where we lived a happy if dull year.