Saturday 26 January 2008

My first English Pub

Yesterday (Friday) our team went to a pub after work to unwind after a week of work, and of course to bond. The pub we went to was a traditional English pub, The Bells, which was just within Staines - a few minutes walk from the office/town centre.

The Bells Pub (Staines)

There are two types of English pubs - the free pub and the non-free (duh!) pub. What's the difference? Well the non-free pub is tied up with a certain brewery - they're only allowed to sell beers/ales from that brewery and in turn the brewery's products are only sold in that pub. So there's a consignment agreement. Like The Bells, it's tied up to Young's brewery. People who are craving for Young's ales have to go to its distributor pubs to get one. While the free pub is free to sell any ale/beer products they want. But the ones they usually sell can be found in supermarkets so there's no point going there except for the ambiance.

Only four out of the 6 member team were there last night. One didn't go because he doesn't drink (he's a Baptist) and the other one had to go home early. It was funny because all four of us were of different races - Spaniard, English, French and Filipino - oh diba multinational, United Nations! It turned out to be a very good idea because after each a pint of ale we loosened up. We were chatting and sharing stories. I found out that my teamlead (the French guy) served in Africa for 2 years as a Mathematics teacher that, though he admitted living there was very difficult, made a deep impact in his life. He told us that kids there were very serious with their studies because they considered themselves lucky to go to school as only a few could afford - andalso that seriousness extended to cheating, they were very resourceful to find ways to cheat, so they could pass and get a degree. I also found out that my English colleague was a professional canoeist. He went to other countries to compete. It was also a relief to know that Carlos, the Spaniard guy, could actually laugh and share jokes. You see in the office he's always grumpy.

The pub was brimming with other people. It's an English culture - the pub is the place to chat with friends or watch football - it's our equivalent of a Coffee shop. At night you, even as early as 7pm, usually won't find people on the streets (walang mga tambay), giving you impression that Englishmen go to bed early. But if you happen to pass by a pub, you'll notice it's jampacked - doon sila nagtatago.

The Young's ale wasn't bad at all - in fact I liked it. It's so smooth not at all bitter. I can have it anytime!

Traditional ale is poured by pulling down this kind of handle.

No comments: