Why the local's a hero; Mirrorman on top 10 reasons why the British pub is so special.
Byline: PAUL ROUTLEDGE
EVERY hour is Happiness Hour down at your local. And that's official, with a survey discovering that a quarter of us are happiest when we are in the pub.
That's a good reason for popping out for a swift half, but not the only one. Here are Old Routers' 10 reasons to say "cheers" to the British boozer.
1 Strolling down to the boozer is good exercise. It loosens up the leg muscles, invigorates the heart and improves your breathing. What's more, it gives you a right old thirst. It's good exercise for the dog, too. "Taking the dog for a walk" is a very British way of saying, "I'm off to the pub".
2 This is where you meet new people and make friends. Many a romance has started in the saloon bar - and quite a lot of divorces, too.
3 It's not obligatory to be sociable. You can play the neighbourhood curmudgeon, sitting in a corner, nursing a pint and reading the Daily Mirror.
In winter, you can bask in front of a real fire without the fuss and palaver of lighting your own and the expense of buying coal.
You can complain to your heart's content, about everything from potholes in the road to Boris Johnson, and the barman will have to listen and pretend to sympathise.
4 All men and women are equal in the pub. Grown men can talk the most utter rubbish and tell the most enormous fibs about what they've done and where they've been. Beer lubricates the imagination - and lowers the credibility threshold.
5 You can get away from the missus (or husband) for an hour or two, precious pub-time for getting your work and life into balance (while occasionally losing the latter). You should be able to get it on NHS prescription - does you more good than a box of pills.
6 Such is the range of real ales and continental lagers these days, you can travel the country - the globe, even - without getting off your bar stool, enjoying a taste of India, Canada, South Africa, and everywhere in between. Britain's vin du pays is beer, and it tastes nowhere better than in your local.
7 The pub is where you can watch big-screen sport without filling the pockets of Rupert Murdoch, or follow the rolling news with those weird misspellings of real-time broadcasting for the hard of hearing.
Or you can gripe about that bloody telly being on all the time in the pub - just as the mood takes.
8 And the joy of gossip! The pub is the best place to hear the crack. Someone always knows who's run off with who and who's been up in court. It's better than the local paper for catching up on the news.
9 The pub is where you can show off your general knowledge - and complete ignorance about TV celebrities. On quiz night, the answer to every question is on the tip of your tongue. Pity it never makes it to the answer sheet.
10 The pub is a unique British institution that other countries have tried to replicate. But it never works, because the pub doesn't travel. The local is for locals, and without them it's a fake.
Must go now. I have an urgent appointment in the Routers' Return.
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