There’s a crinkly alternative veneer, and if x has been up to London and brought back a bag of y there’s extra excitement, especially if a passing policeman gives x a dirty look and he has to throw the bag of y in a hedge and go back for it at two o’clock in the morning. But we are actually more interested in which pub serves Marston’s Pedigree, or Eldridge Pope’s Thomas Hardy’s Ale, or, our especial delight, Gale’s Horndean Special Bitter. One night a landlady tears me off a strip for swearing and I can almost taste the soap.

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