Brian Allgar: Where Are The Pubs Of Yesteryear?

Pub sign. Bulldog in Union Flag waistcoat with cigar.

For quite a tidy while, I’ve been away –
Don’t ask me, let’s just say it rhymes with “Shrubs” –
And what I’ve missed the most, day after day,
Is cosy evenings spent in local pubs
Together with my mates; a game of darts,
A fire blazing in the chimney-breast,
A bit of flirting with the local tarts,
A Cornish pasty and a pint of best,
Old Charlie always nipping to the bog,
The dirty jokes that have us all in tears,
The friendly fug of fags, as thick as fog . . .
A scene that I’ve looked forward to for years.

But when I get there, everything’s turned posh:
The public bar has gone, the dartboard too;
No pasties to be seen, just foreign nosh;
And worst of all, “NO SMOKING! THAT MEANS YOU!”