Ode to My Pub

I am sitting in a pub in Bedford, England, having just consumed a microwaved fish and chips and a questionable pint. I placed my order at the bar, and my food materialized in front of me a few moments later, delivered by a waitress that said only ‘fish and chips, table 62’, before disappearing, never to be seen again. No ketchup, no brown sauce, to vinegar to be found with my fries, and no one to ask if I wanted some. That was no chef-prepared meal, and this pint of John Smith’s, my friends, is no Belhaven Best.

In short, I am missing my pub.

I arrived in England today, will attend Tamara’s wedding tomorrow, and will fly back to Edinburgh on Sunday. Then, I will start my very fancy ‘shift supervisor training’, which means I get to change kegs and lock the door. And a raise!

I started working at my pub about three days after arriving in Edinburgh. It was mid-festival season, and was insanely busy at all hours. I made mistakes with the orders, didn’t know where to find anything, and generally felt that I was in the way. Now that I’ve settled in, and I don’t make mistakes, and the pace is much more manageable, I’ve come to feel comfortable there. It’s a wee family-run pub, and it starts to feel like the staff is family: The other girls there who are going to uni, and the boys who work in the kitchen; the owner and his (French-Canadian) wife who on Sunday had their first baby. The regulars.

We have two ‘pairs’ of regulars: John and John, and Bill and Bill. John and John are in almost every day (one drinks a pint of Belhaven Best, the other a double Famous Grouse with ice and a straw). Bill and Bill are best friends who come in every Friday. Chris is in at midday, every day, for two quick pints, and again later for another before heading home on the train. Stuart drinks white coffee and does the crossword puzzle, and goes outside for frequent cigarettes (I mean, uh, fags).

We have a chef, who makes good food from scratch. Haggis. Fish and Chips. Cullen Skink. Crofter’s Chicken. We have good wait staff, who are friendly as all hell, which is good because our customers are mostly tourists.

My favorite American tourist story, so far:

American tourist to Aussie bartender: ‘So when’s the best time to visit Australia?’

Aussie bartender: ‘Anytime really, but right now it’s getting to be our summer, so it’s going to be really hot. October is a good time.’

American tourist: ‘Right – your summer is our winter…’

Aussie bartender: ‘Yeah.’

American tourist: ‘So should I go in your October or our October?’

My other favorite is when American tourists are surprised to find out I’m not Scottish. Somehow it completely escapes them that I have almost the exact same accent that they do.


At the moment, from my table, I can see eight tables waiting to be cleaned off, and I’ve yet to see the waitress re-appear. I should know better than to expect more from Weatherspoons, but still.

In short, I’m back in England for a precise purpose, and happy to know I’ll be back in Scotland shortly.






About aasaelsewhere

I like Saskatchewan fine, but am hitting the road soon anyway. First on the itinerary: Portugal, England, Ireland, then England again. I have Yellow Fever immunity, a pending visa, and a blank passport, and can't promise anything.
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