The pub down the road, the Eagle Tavern,has been a curiosity for some time. It’s at the end of our street, a matter of yards from our house, but I can count the number of times I’ve been inside on one hand.
There has never been anything overtly wrong with it; just another pub in a sea of pubs. The Vicar who lives next door (I don’t think he actually is a Vicar, that’s just what he’s called), in the house called Seaview cottage (we couldn’t be any further from the sea), who dresses impeccably, talks impeccably (like an overwrought English gentleman), and is certifiably loony, has been drinking there more or less every night since I moved in. Once a bridal party had their after-wedding drinks there, and a brawl broke out. The police moved in and carted off every single bloody-fisted male in a matter of minutes.
Inside, the Eagle was sad, as if all of the pub-ness had been drawn out with a siphon. No merrymaking here; just hard drinking, lone men drowning in bibulous despair. It had thick patterned carpet and stale air, and you got the feeling you could get lost inside, though it wasn’t very large. Once we played pool and once we watched the football but even the drecepit facade seemed to warn us off having fun.
I mention this because the pub has changed ownership. A new sign has gone up; no longer the Eagle Tavern but the Rusty Bicycle. Though we think maybe it would have been cleverer just to hang an actual rusty bicycle outside, we’re heartened by this move, and by the fact that, peering inside, it’s evident that they’ve ripped up the carpet and revealed the wood floor. It won’t be open for a while yet, but I am harbouring secret hopes that we may end up with a cosy little pub literally on our doorstep.