In my car there’s a dog-eared copy of Alastair Sawday’s Pubs & Inns of England and Wales. It’s like my Bible, only with more booze and less violence.
For more than 10 years it’s made travelling around the country a joy rather than a chore. For, whenever we get hungry or thirsty, instead of stopping at the nearest service station, we look up the nearest “Sawday pub” and leave the motorway for the country lanes in search of it. Although my edition is getting a bit dated, it never fails to produce a decent pint, a good lunch and usually a picturesque village or two that we would have otherwise sped past.
When we arrive at our destination – usually Buxton, or Somerset, or Anglesey or the Lake District – someone usually asks “good journey, how long did it take you?”
To which the answer is usually “great journey, I’ve no idea. We found this great pub…” If we were counting the hours I guess the answer would be “all day”.
I’m about to embark on a journey round Kent and the south-east visiting a bunch of hand-picked pubs to sell our cider. How long will it take? The rest of my life, probably. Hopefully.
We could have got someone else to do it. A distributor or a delivery guy. But where would be the joy in that? We’re going to do it ourselves, and take in the best pubs in the world along the way.