Haven't had a rant for a long time. So here's one. We have a pub in our vicinity that changes landlord about as often as the barrels. It's owned by one of those wretched 'tavern' groups- you know the sort. They put put up an awful plastic banner outside of a bollocksed 'tavern' that says "You could run this pub" which means that any tosspot riding by on a bike goes "Ooh, I've always wanted to do that". So you end up with someone running it who likes the idea of being a pub landlord but is completely unaware of how much work it means (all day, everyday), and how much word-of-mouth recommendation means, particularly in backswood villages like ours. So, yet again, we've got a new landlord in this one. Of course I beamed and welcomed him, and he regarded me with great suspicion. Which is normal. Then I asked "Are you going to stock Mini Cheddars?". He looked at me as though I'd just asked him if I could have sex with his wife, and said "Don't know". A week later I asked again. "Any Mini Cheddars on the way?". "No", and goes back to his paper. You see, I like a packet of something to help the beer go down. It doesn't have to be Mini Cheddars of course, but it was becoming a bit of an obsession with me. And you know what that means. Last week I walked into an empty pub (here we go) and asked "Those Mini Cheddars in yet?". Blokey puts his crossword pen down and says "Look. The wholesaler only does Walkers. Ok?". I'm going to try my level best not to go in there again, which severely restricts my options to two locals, but in both I'm always made to feel that my custom is valued. I mean, how difficult would it have been for Mr. Genial Landlord to go and buy a months worth of Mini Cheddars from bloody Sainsbury's? After all, that's probably longer than he's going to be here. So he could then say "Here you are Pete, got these in for you". I'd tell everybody how good he is and I'd still be sitting at the bar now. But I'm not.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)