d refills beckoned.
Despite me being there on the dot of eight, a couple of other hopefuls were in, but I was first to the bar to place my tea order. The other two were separately selecting their usual prime positions by the windows. My main concern was to get my tea and a seat as far away as possible from the icy blast emanating from the door, so no issues there. The pub started to fill up with faces I recognised from previous visits. Seats were carefully selected and greetings exchanged. I got the odd "Good Morning" too as I warmed up with cups of Tetley. The next half hour passed serenely enough, punctuated only by the odd gale of laughter from the staff breakfasting near the bar.
However, the pace quickened up as the witching hour of nine o'clock approached. I'd moved on to breakfast by then. The usual JDW fare, but it was fine and certainly warmed me up. A few workmen, in for some snap, were added to the regulars who were by now folding newspapers and checking watches. The atmosphere was getting a little more tense as they approached the bar on the dot of nine. Now in the past my observations were that the John Smiths would flow, but alas, not now. That is no longer available, and it seems that the replacement, Worthington Creamflow, does not hit that sacred spot. No, Stella seemed now to be the drink of choice, though one outlier was on Stowford Press Cider.
Now here's the odd bit. Several - well three of the punters including Mr Stowford - returned to their spot alone at their chosen table with two pints each. These were carefully placed in front of them. Why? Why would you buy two pints for yourself at once in a rather quiet pub, first thing in the morning? I've noticed this before, but not only in the Middleton JDW, but all over the country. I remember, in Nottingham I think it was, a geezer returning from the bar at 9 a.m.with two bottles of Newcastle Brown - as if one wasn't already too many - and elsewhere too, this seems to happen.
So Dear Reader, next time you find yourself in a JDW just after alcohol sales begin, look for this strange phenomenon. And if you know why they do this, do let me know in the comments.
I thoroughly recommend JDW for early morning people watching. You can guarantee something of interest.
Another thing. Seems JDW now sell 660ml bottes of Camden Hells. In this case for a mere £3.69. Anyone seen it elsewhere?