I’m currently on the opposite side of Florida from where I usually live. I agreed to come over to this side with my dad, not knowing that tropical storm Fay would effectively be following us across the state. When we left it seemed like it would be going up the west side of Florida; by the time we got over here there was a tornado warning in the county where we’re staying.
All of Florida is in a declared state of emergency. There’s a tornado warning on in this county for the next couple of hours, and a Hurricane Watch on until at least the middle of the day tomorrow. What to do in this time of crisis? Go down t’ pub.
In Boca Raton there is a pub called The Blue Anchor. I mean a genuine, transported board-by-board over from Chauncery Lane in London pub. When we saw the tornado warning, the first thing Dad and I did was go out and have a Boddington’s. (Actually the first thing Dad did was jump in the outdoor hot tub at our hotel, reasoning that the weather was only going to get worse as time went on. I suppose ultimately he wasn’t wrong.)
English pubs, true English pubs, have a definite air of indestructibility about them. This is epitomized in the film Shaun of the Dead, a comic send-up of Dawn of the Dead in which Simon Pegg and sidekick Nick Frost attempt to fight off legions of zombies within the sacrosanct haven of The Winchester (the local pub, if you don’t already know this from watching it way too many times while dropping popcorn crumbs irretrievably under the couch cushions.) When there is a crisis, an English pub is the best place to be. Sturdy, full of entertainment (if the power goes out and the jukebox fails, there are an endless supply of silly pub games to play), stocked with food (even if it’s just crisps) and most importantly, well provisioned with drink. If things are REALLY bad (zombies have just eaten five of your close friends and possibly a relative), you can still count on a good pint.
Incidentally, British pints are about a quarter of a cup larger than American pints, because we use slightly different versions of the Imperial Measurement system. This takes a little bit of the sting out of paying for a British pint…but only a little bit.
We’re now back in the hotel but I’m trying to hang on to that solid, confident feeling that an English pub imparts. (A good portion of sticky toffee pudding usually helps in that department.) Perhaps the sturdy dependability of an English pub lies not within its walls, but rather is a state of mind. I shall ponder this strategy as Fay approaches.