Wandering around the north west corner of Lincolnshire by foot and car, I came across the depressing sight of three country pubs that have closed their doors forever. Once - not so long ago - they would have bustled as the till drawer went in and out. They would have been at the very heart of their communities but now they have gone for good. Farewell to "The Lincolnshire Arms" in Luddington. Adieu to "The Barge Inn" in Keadby. Goodbye to "The Flixborough Inn" in Flixborough. We shall not see their like again.
No more the clacking bones of dominoes or thudding of darts upon the board. No more accidental spillage of beer on bar top towels or the sucking sound of the pumps or little pewter measures for spirits. Or roaring fires on winter nights reflected in horse brasses hanging on old black leather belts. No more business meetings or family celebrations or whist drives, beetle drives or Park Drives. No more antique teapots on the plate shelf or the lingering odour of tobacco smoke in curtains. Or old farmhands arriving on older bicycles with their trouser bottoms tied with twine. Or strangers from faraway on motorbikes unpeeling their leathers in the car park. Or brewery men unloading metal kegs from Sheffield. No regulars propping up the bar early doors. Or holiday postcards or sporting trophies or pictures of huntsmen leaping hedges. No more black cast iron pub tables or community notices on display or bleached smells from the lavatories or condom machines. Nor bags of crisps or jars of pickled eggs or middle-aged landlords with heavy guts curving under tight striped shirts or landladies with lipstick and earrings or "What can I get for you?" or charity boxes or "Haven't you got homes to go to?" or frosted window glass with the pub's name etched or slightly stained beer mats or Christmas carols. No more laughter or banter or rows or kisses or staggering homewards or juke box sounds or upright pianos for singalongs. And no more opening times. No never no more.