In this pub...

... there's an etched window in a light oak door. The dried-blood coloured floor tiles pave a way from russet benches to the dark panelled bar. Five handpulls stand proud. Above, nine glass tankards hang southward.

To one side, black boards describe the beers on offer. There must therefore be eight more in the other bar, plus continental draughts. More boards announce food available; cobs and crisps only on this side.

My eyes scout around the room. Posters for brewers both familiar and long forgotten: Woodfordes, Hook Norton, Holt, Lloyds, Simspons, Vallances, Fremlins. Mirrors: Adnams, Bass, one that's massive (Worthington's).

Late autumn afternoon light refracts through stained glass. No other customer has disturbed the bar for over ninety minutes. One poster resonates - "Beer - the best long drink in the world!"

Outside, very close outside, trains stop or don't stop. Pints of porter have warmed me. The next train that stops is the one that spirits me away from what is possibly the best mid-afternoon pub in the world.

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