I popped along to the Phoenix last evening to drop some rosemary and bay leaves in to Auntie Lynda -the product of yesterday afternoon’s gardening frenzy. I was not prepared for what I found.
Monday night is Games Night at the Phoenix.
Now, at its best the Phoenix is an odd pub; An entry on one pub listing website simply notes, “Odd clientele”. But Monday night is clearly when the real hardcore oddballs come out to play.
“One half of lime and lemonade please”, ordered one reckless maverick. Easy tiger. One of his game-playing compatriots went crazy and ordered half of bitter and nearly a whole glass of wine for his wife. Clearly we weren’t going to set any records for wet sales this evening. More misfits gradually slipped into the bar until there were eight or so grouped around the table; warily eyeing each other over their shandies like a bunch of ineffectual, limp-wristed cowboys gathered around a poker table.
As the ginger beer flowed, tongues were loosened, and in that peculiar high-pitched, droning monologue of the terminally dull, the sad, empty existence of these less-than-colourful characters stood starkly revealed. One couple had apparently travelled from as far away as Ashford to chance their luck in the cut and thrust world of Scrabble. That’s what I call living on the edge.
I think if that was me, alarm bells would be ringing if I had to drive 20 miles just to find another couple to play Scrabble with.
Each to his own, and I have no right to criticise what others do for fun. Yet even so I found it hard to fight the rising tide of hysterical giggles prompted by this Python-esque gathering. So with good grace, I retired for the evening and left these hard-bitten gamblers to their devil-may-care entertainment.