“How far is this pub, then ?” said Mrs RM, as we reached the bustling central square that comprises the Bel Air Tavern and a field. No cars on Sark, just hipsters on bikes and horses. But you knew that,
“Two minutes” I guessed. Men, NEVER guess.
Ignoring What Pub’s assertion it was closed on Sunday, we went to at least prove the Mermaid’s very existence. How had I missed this on my previous trip ?
Well, it looks like a converted sports pavilion, with toilets out front, and field at the back.
No sign of life. I retrieved the Facebook exchange that would be produced in the Court of Appeal if I had to murder someone.
Well, that’s very clear, though the ticketed entry to festival stuff always concerns the ticker. And it was sold out.
But then, just before noon, there was movement in the field. Once you’ve found life, you can steal the keys and serve yourself a pint if required (Mackay v The Crown, 2012).
The side door was ajar. I sneaked in.
OK, it’s not quite the Hare & Hounds, a cross between a cricket club bar and a Spanish taverna,
but it’s MY last tricky tick on the Channel Islands, even if the Butcombe is off.
“Sold out” says the barperson who suddenly appears like Mr Benn (or was it the shopkeeper). Subsequent attempts to pour a pint of some local keg also flounder.
So it’s Guernsey strong cider in a Thatcher’s glass.
“‘ave you had that before, eh ?” says the local now at the bar.
“It’s only six per cent, boy’s bitter” I reply, mixing my metaphors.
Mrs RM is worried my tick is tainted by not being keg, and urges me to sneak into the festival tent to see if they’ve got proper beer on.
And the nice volunteers do let me in, where I pay £3.40 for a very good Atlantic (3.5) and £2 for a plastic glass that I can see being used in the campervan during the winter months for unspecified purposes.
Outside, two parents are attempting to control their tousle-haired children “Harry, drop the big log“, says Dad, clearly a reference to their son’s addiction to Robert Plant’s 1983 pop hit.
Harry and Giselle’s parents will no doubt be on the cider under the tent that afternoon; I’ve rarely seen a more cider-dominated place.
Give it two years; it’ll all be Madri.