Monday, 6 November 2017

The Links

The Links. I used to go for riding lessons at a stables opposite this pub when I was a kid. It has been here since 1898, but the stables went in the 1970s and a massive estate lolls and luxuriates where the horses once pranced, but the Links remains. This was a pub that was never on the circuit when I lived here or when I came back. It was too local perhaps, too manly, too boring in its beer choice (Lees) — but over the past few years I have been dropping in now and again and, on a recent visit for a family funeral, on the way into town for the wake, I dropped in and had a formidably refreshing MPA and later on the way back a pale lager from Regent, a brewery I once visited and thought ecclesiastical in its design. La Trappe, Moonraker and Manchester Star were also advertised, and, even though I was later told that the latter two were’t around, the choice (or the attempted choice) was a great example of how even my home town (where I grew up drinking Strongbow or lager top) has caught up with the times (it even has two breweries, Great Orme and Wild Horse, located close to where my father tried to set up an engineering business when I was a kid — it failed, inevitably). As for the Links the floor around the mainly solidly wooden bar was tiled, there were blanquettes, as buttoned-up as a gin-soaked vicar silent in his obsession, a bit formulaic, taken from a catalogue, perhaps, a sense of the senselessness of suburbia in the surrounding drinking areas, Welsh being spoken (a rare sound in my home town), and ‘make it a Christmas Day to remember’ posters scattered about. However, as a hurricane (I think it might have been Brian) raged outside, the bar felt like a fortress of Monday evening solitude, as glasses gleamed and the chrome at the bar-top shone with a ghostly kind of light and the memory of my late sister-in-law swung back and forth like the wind-swept inn sign in Treasure Island. I will go back when I’m next in Llandudno

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