This second post makes me laugh when I think of a recent email which likened my murder mystery to Coronation Street. Having never watched a full episode in my life I was a little put out by the comparison. On reflection Coronation Street is an extremely popular soap opera and I have tended to reflect village life, especially the pull of various pubs (echoing the pull of the pints!) Here’s my next in this series to celebrate Bedfordshire – Clophill …
The village of Clophill is extremely fortunate to have a thriving, truly personal village pub – The Stone Jug. It serves, real ale and cider, traditional home made pub grub at lunchtimes but in the evenings it is reserved for socialising and drinking, with fairly regular entertainment in the form of various singers and small bands. My husband remembers making a hole in the rather low ceiling in his youth, when he played lead guitar in one of his many bands – the last of which continued to perform until recently. Here are the ‘boys‘ in action:
In the evening the pub seems to have three natural groups which occasionally overlap – there’s the earlies – straight from work, the after supper folk and then the ‘real locals, some of whom were born in the village, who often stay until midnight. Friday night is predominantly men’s night, so my hubby tells me.
You will not see The Stone Jug in the High Street either. My husband can name several pubs which are now private homes including The Rising Sun and The Compasses. There are two establishments around the Village Green. The Flying Horse, known locally as The Fly, is more of a Bistro than a pub, popular for passing trade on the busy Clophill roundabout as well as for locals. There is also The Green Man, which many remember as the place where they played dominoes and darts. These activities have transferred quite naturally to the Stone Jug, known as ‘The Jug’ whereas The Green Man is now a successful Italian Restaurant. We have taken my sister and brother-in-law there a couple of times and, considering they live in Bordeaux and enjoy renowned French cuisine, their praise is praise indeed:
‘I can’t believe that we are eating at such a wonderful place in Clophill, with such good quality wines too!’ my brother-in-law exclaimed.
Back to the Jug – it is situated in Back Street, parallel to the High Street, a perfect location for the majority of people to stroll there of an evening. All three establishments feature in my murder mystery, Murder, Now and Then.
I have been praised for the characterisation in my novels.
‘I could really relate to the characters.’
‘I imagined I was living alongside them.’
Then again more recently I have been criticised that they are too ordinary. Surely murder and mystery happens in every-day life as well as to feeble victims by psychopaths.
Murder Now and Then is an ‘intriguing mystery’ set in two time periods with ‘interesting and unexpected twists.’ It is not a thriller, although one reader described it as such. Tension builds, certainly. The suspects lead the plot since you have to get to know then to understand why they are involved.
It is likened in other reviews to Midsomer Murders or Bergerac (with the Jersey connection!) I like that 🙂
Anyway, I’ll let you decide but please let me know what you think.
3 responses to “The Pull of the Novel – The Pull of the English Pub”
Pubs like these have been cultural landmarks, a way of life – a very good narration, a bit heady and more nostalgic.
It sounds as if I frequent pubs a great deal – I don’t regularly but it is so sad that many are disappearing, changing the face of village life forever. Certainly great for inclusion in novels at many levels. Thanks for popping by Tony – do you have a local?
You’re welcome, Diana! Not very particular all due to the forced disappearance in the name of growth and development – the routine real estate menace! 😦