Am I having a midlife crisis ? I can’t even get excited about the imminent arrival of the new Good Beer Guide (where “imminent” = “no idea when”).
Novelty books are a good idea on pub shelves as they make excellent props when there’s nothing else to comment on apart from the Curried Parsnip soup, as was the case at the Gargunnock Inn on the edge of the Campsie Hills just outside Stirling.
No sign of life in a village of 912 souls, and that nagging fear that with December only four months away and schools going back in just over a week the winter hours will set in.
But after a bit of drama when the “A” board collapses the landlady comes out to stand it up again at 11:55 and leaves it open for me. Top marks.
She’s very friendly, comments on the “weather about to change” (it didn’t, the sun shines on the righteous etc), and happily pours a half of the lone Cromarty between setting placemats for the gentlefolk diners and reading out the Specials.
There’s a real mix of seating options but I take the hint and stick to the bar area with its beer mats on beams and threats of beer festivals so as not to scare the soup sippers.
After some slow-moving beer around Alloa the Cromarty is a light and refreshing 3.5, the tick complete before the clock ticks round to noon.
If ever a word was designed for a pub, the word “pleasant” was created for the Gargunnock. The bar area cleared of knives and forks, though you sense they’d be added back to the table if needed. Simon and Garfunkel, “Bird on a Wire”, the hum of chatter about medical appointments, a small hotel ticking over on lunchtime trade.
It was all a contrast to Mrs RM’s midlife crisis in Rye Harbour, where she is about to sing the theme from “Fiddler on the Roof” at the clubhouse karaoke…
(video only available to patronised readers)