I've enjoyed it immensely, but this comment at Anna Raccoon's place last week stands out as exceptionally joyous and needs sharing more widely, I reckon.
A few years ago I was at a small social gathering of fellow smokers and drinkers. I discovered that I was not the only reader of Leg-Iron’s blog!
From a chance mention, the idea of having a ‘smokey-drinky’ spot of our own grew. Friends contacted like-minded friends and eventually the use of a large shed/small barn was given, it’s about 30′ by 18′ or so, with what used to be a disused out-door privy close by. Ample parking was available for a number of cars but careful arranging was required.
Our motley crew includes builders, plumbers, electricians and some remarkably skilled handymen. It was not very long before a rather pleasant room evolved, a couple of old but working fridges, some chairs and stools (some ‘reclaimed’ from the local tip!) and some slightly threadbare carpeting made for a great place to have a few drinks, only the stuff you’d brought along yourself, mind.
Two winters ago our room was unusable because of the cold. One of our more skilled ‘members’ mentioned rocket stove mass heaters. Google it, we all had to. We all chipped in a few pounds and in due course not one but two rocket stove mass heaters were installed, with the bonus of two nice big sofa-style seats for the ladies to warm their parts on! Our Smokey-Drinky is getting better all the time. Three layers of carpet off-cuts behind plywood panels make great insulation.
We all drink only our own booze; beers are name-labelled and are in the one of the fridges, my whisky bottle sits atop my own optic with other people’s bottles arrayed alongside. It looks like a pub, it smells like a pub (smokers and non-smokers alike are in the room, no complaints) and, most of all, it functions like a pub. People gather there because it’s a friendly place to be in, we even have music which we select by ourselves. When was the last time you sat in a warm, smoky pub with a dram of single malt whisky, listening to some Mozart chamber music whilst sitting on a heated sofa?
Everyone, likes it.What one might call ‘membership’ of our group started to grow. The landlord of one of our local pubs came along as a guest one week-day and was astounded at the number of people there. He said we had more people there in one evening than he could expect in an entire week-end! The growing ‘membership’ and our space constraints have resulted in one more ‘Smokey-Drinky’ starting up in someone’s (a widower) converted double garage and it, too, is improving and growing in popularity.
Yes, we have had the vinegar-drinking, lemon-sucking Council ‘Inspectors’ sniffing around.
We are on private premises, no alcohol is being sold, we are not a club or any other sort of association, we are just a group of friends. The ‘Inspectors’ are not permitted beyond the threshold. It’s a delight to witness their frustration. And, yes, we have had the local Plod along at the behest of the Council. Both Sergeant XXX and PC XXX now have their own booze in the fridges and/or on their own optics!
We have side-stepped the desire of TPTB to destroy places of social intercourse, we have devised our own place which is outside any of their pernicious rules, regulations and laws. They hate it but can do nothing about it.
Valentine’s Day evening was marvellous, couples, including Herself and me, had a beautiful time.
Start your own Smokey-Drinky, you’ll not regret it and you’ll pay the Government nothing at all and there’s no landlord to be penalised!Bravo! Sir, I salute you.
I do believe that could be classed as 'Big Society' getting things done without state interference, don't you? What's not to like?