Tuesday 11 October 2011

Creatures of habit

It used to be a staple anecdote about pubs that you’d wander into an unfamiliar pub and plonk yourself down in a cosy seat only to be told “Sorry mate, you can’t sit there, that’s old Bob’s seat, and he’ll be in in a few minutes!”

It’s probably less likely nowadays, as there are fewer regulars who are in pubs most nights of the week, and despite our ageing population it also seems less common to see groups of pensioners gathered in pubs. But, as with many things, you imperceptibly find what you once dismissed as the habits of the elderly creeping up on you. It’s certainly the case that life tends to settle into more of a routine.

I can’t say that there’s any pub I visit often enough to call myself a “regular”, but there are maybe five or six that, for various reasons, I find myself calling in at least once a month. And, if I think about it, assuming that spot’s available, I always sit in the same place. It’s not the the end of the world if it’s taken, and in most of them there’s somewhere else that’s almost as good, but it’s interesting how these things turn into a regular pattern of behaviour.

I also recall that, in his last years, I would often take my late father in one particular pub where he found the atmosphere congenial. And yes, it was what some would call a “dumpy old men’s pub”, and all the better for it. We would always sit in the same corner and if, for some reason, it wasn’t available he would be a touch discomfited.


  1. I have a preferred room in the Guest House where I'll always sit, unless it's full. Not too bothered about the seat, but perhaps that will come in time.

  2. Whenever there are non-quizzers in the Blossoms of a Thursday, every regular who comes in has a look of discombobulation for a few seconds. Then we demand a quid off them.

  3. There's a particular seat in my local which has the best light for reading the paper and on which the springs have gone a bit, which makes it bizarrely comfy. I'm not overly bothered if it's taken but I do get a feeling of well-being when I get to sit there.
    On the subject of groups of pensioners in pubs, there is a group of about six who come in twice a week and bring their own cheese & biscuits (with the landlady's blessing)

  4. With energy prices on the up I think you might be finding quite a few "fuel poverty" customers gathering in pubs this winter if the Met Office is to be believed.

    In our pub we have several groups of regulars who come in and especially amongst the older customers if one is not in at their usual time/table then at least we are checking to see if they are o.k. with their friends and not in need of help.


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