“As we enter our autumn years, we’ll need other hobbies apart from going to the pub,” Claire said philosophically, if not medically.
“But we already do,” I replied, possibly a little sensitively, “We research pubs, talk about pubs, and I write about pubs,” I added self-consciously, if not metacognitively.
A well-being expert (not Tony Abbott) once said that there’s three ingredients for a good and happy life: something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. Mystery Pub neatly meets all three once a month for an hour. What a psychologically robust concept it is. So affirming.
Our wedding photographers said the best photos of couples are not when they’re kissing, but the moment just before, when there’s the briefest space and time. It invites the photo’s audience to imagine what next happens and engages them more actively. It’s delicious. Maybe Friday afternoons in a dappled beer garden are like this too. All expectation and simmering bliss. Or maybe that’s a silly stretch or an inappropriate analogy.
But I love the pub for an hour on Friday afternoons.
No more than sixty minutes. Watching strangers arrive, all animated and bustling. I wonder about their lives and private joys and terrors. Then the gradual uplift of buzzing chat punctuated by ruptures of laughter. A chance for Claire to try a new shiraz. I sample a craft ale. The promise dangling in front of a weekend. The transition between work and play.
Our shared, joyous cusp.
Here’s a retrospective of our Mystery Pubs. Some have been triumphant (Mount Mary) while others a little underwhelming (Forth) but still worthy of a visit. The architecture, the history, the mise en scene. Some are female (Lady Burra, Mount Mary, Grace Emily) and others are male (Duke, Benjamin) while some are geographic with Inglewood connoting LA and West Oak evoking medieval England (Meet me at the West Oak, not the East Oak and we shall duel to the death with our jousting sticks).
Anyway, August is Claire’s pick, and I look forward to ambling in for that idyllic hour of escape and discovery.
13/8/21- The Historian
2/7/21- Lady Burra Brewhouse
4/6/21 – Grace Emily
7/5/21- The Kentish
4/4/21- Inglewood Inn
5/3/21- Parkside Hotel
6/2/21- West Oak
22/1/21- Mount Mary
12/12/20- Forth (Jetty Road, Glenelg)
18/9/20- Duke of Brunswick
15/8/20- Benjamin on Franklin