While the Brewery Inn was relatively empty, the bar itself was rammed largely due to the charming and agreeable landlady running the show but also, to some degree, because everyone at the bar was a friendly sort to begin with. Unable to push close enough to read without my glasses (too fogged, smeared and dripping with rainwater and mud from the mucky trail I took from Bowerhill to use), I pointed at the last pump handle and asked, “is that a cider, madam?” “It is, indeed,” she answered instinctively louder than the guy sitting in front of the tap who volunteered, “ooo, aye, a fine cider that one, young man.” I think that’s what he said, as it all came out as a single word. It turned out to be Cheddar Valley Traditional cider, which Mr NoSpaceBetweenNotes pointed out used to be made by a small brewery but is now part of the Thatcher’s collection but is still the same formula as always and in some ways the quality control is better although ’tis sad to see the small ‘uns sell up [spewed in 3 seconds flat in his otherwise delightful West Country drawl].
With my legs caked in mud and cow shit and my shirt soaked in rain from without and sweat from within, I moved to a table to check out my route and cause less offence. Encroaching on others was not seen as a problem by the parents of the two little boys who kept tossing a cushion around and then crashing into my table with increasing ferocity. I drank up faster than I had planned (this otherwise would have been a good house in which to linger) and as I was returning my glass heard the erstwhile father character say to one of the boys, “calm down, now, you might hurt yourself.” Muttering my thanks to the lady of the house I added, “yeah, they’re definitely on the road to injury;” a two count and the guys at the bar started laughing and wishing me well for the day and to return soon.