Thursday 20 December 2012

Strawberry-Pink Not Compulsory!

I've just read The Search for the Perfect Pub: Looking For the Moon Under Water, the title referring to Orwell's famous essay on his ideal pub. I like Orwell's writings a lot, even if he did throw his lot in with British imperialism in the end, and having already done a bit of searching myself this was a must read.

The book is an enjoyable and entertaining tour around Britain, though perhaps it could just as easily be called "The search for an old boozer". Not that I'm complaining, as that's how pubs should be. Included in the tour are visits to pubs that I've been to, and interviews with people I've met, which made it all the more enjoyable.

But the real gem of the book is saved for the last chapter. Almost unbelievably they get to talk to a landlady of one of Orwell's old locals. And his drinking habits are discussed, including the mug he drank out of:

"I had a china mug he would borrow and then he would bring it back the next day. In fact, I've still got it." She goes to a glass fronted-cabinet and takes out a small white mochaware jug. It's an extraordinary thing; cold to the touch and with a tortoiseshell motif and a thin pale blue band at the lip.

"He borrowed it many times and he really liked it."

This revelation makes clear that it's the drinking out of china that's important, regardless of its colour. The search for the perfect pub is still a long and difficult task, but knowing that flexibility is allowed in the colour of the china mugs makes it that much easier. 


  1. Has anyone ever spotted one of 'those pleasant strawberry-pink china' mugs in a pub?

    I'd love to be able to buy 'liver-sausage sandwiches' from the bar.

  2. Oh yes:

  3. Orwell lists boiled jam rolls but I miss stale cheese, white bread sandwiches kept under a clear plastic lid on the bar.