Okay, so the title of this post may be slightly provocative, but if I gave you a magic wand, would you ban kids from your local?
I’m sure if you had possession of a magic wand then you’d probably have better things to wish for, like a jackpot-winning lottery ticket, a villa in Italy or some special alone time with Linda Lusardi, but that’s besides the point.
I have good reason to be miffed after a trip to one of my favourite pubs.
The good Lady InnSpectre and I fancied a stroll to the boozer to enjoy a couple of quiet beers while abandoning our iPhones in favour of the day’s papers. It’s a simple pleasure, enjoyed by so many people across the land on a Sunday.
I was pleased to see Jennings Brewery’s Sneck Lifter on tap, so bought a pint and a large wine for the lady before settling down for a couple of hours of peace.
But what may be one person’s day of rest, is another’s day of play.
After five minutes, we looked at each other as what sounded like a herd of stampeding wildebeest got louder and louder.
However, it turned out to be something much worse.
A pack of marauding kids left a trail of destruction in their wake before coming to a halt at the table next to us.
The next half an hour saw my patience wear thin as the kids got louder without any apparent supervision.
Then a parent came over, with a pint in hand and asked his offspring how they were doing. He was off in the blink of an eye.
So, while he was round the corner enjoying a drink with his missus and their pals, me and my missus had no alternative but to sup up and head elsewhere.
Of course, I could have had a word with the guy, but he looked like Vinnie Jones, Ray Winstone and Ross Kemp rolled into one, so I didn’t really fancy it.
He was a brut.
This wasn’t the first time my precious time in the boozer has been blighted by a bunch of brats.
With so many pubs struggling to keep their heads about water in these tough economic times, I fully understand the need to diversify and allow families through their doors.
I know it’s not going to change any time soon either.
Many pubs are enticing the little tykes and their folks through their doors by offering such amusements as climbing frames, sandpits and activity tables.
And, of course, what young ne’er-do-well can resist the allure of giant Jenga with its loud crashing blocks, or Connect 4 with its noisy clashing coins or a fruit machine with its bright flashing buttons – bash them as hard as you can, why don’t you.
When I was a nipper, I never once expected to be taken down the pub by my folks.
Pubs seemed to have a mystical appeal to them, a place where grown-ups drank out of proper dimpled pint jugs and debated the big issues of the day like the conflict in a place called the Falkland Islands, England’s chances at the World Cup in Spain and the latest edition of the popular quiz show, 3-2-1.
After a couple of beers, adults across the land tried to recreate the famous quick-wristed, fast-fingered hand movement made by 3-2-1′s charming host Ted Rogers, without success.
The pub, with it’s punters performing quick-wristed, fast-fingered hand movements, was no place for a kid.
The boozer where I chose to spend my Sunday doesn’t have a beer garden, so there was no outside area for the little ‘uns to lark about.
It used to be known as an old mans’ pub. I like old mans’ pubs. I’ve waited years to enjoy the full old mans’ pub experience, only to have that pleasure snatched away from me by this formidable invasion of the pub snatchers. It’s a sick joke.
That said, I’d obviously rather have a pub with a few kids in – if it keeps the pub going – than no pub at all.
I can tolerate kids in pubs under the right circumstances, but when I see parents who just let there kids roam around and disturb other punters I feel like throwing my toys out the pram.
I originally planned to call this blog post Ban Kids From Pubs, but then I realised if we actually did that then I’d have very few pubs left to review.
So I thought I’d put the question out there, if you could wave your magic wand, would you ban kids from your local?