To my mind, the pub is a British institution. I could be wrong, but this is the impression I have been given during my lifetime so far. The public house has been a part of British culture since the days of early civilisation, back when people used coaching inns and taverns as meeting places, temporary accommodation, and centres for social activity. They were also reputed as places of illegitimate activities, such as the tales of smugglers and pirates in the Ship Inn pub in my Redcliffe novels.
The pub has always been important to me as an individual. I don’t frequent our local pubs very much anymore, since I am raising a young family and my husband works long hours. But when we were younger (and we are not exactly old now!), the pub was our place of refuge and excitement. In fact, just last week I found myself walking along Oxford Road in Manchester city centre, reminiscing about our student days as I walked past our old favourite pubs including The Salisbury and Grand Central.
It was a natural inclination therefore, to include a pub as a place of central importance in my Redcliffe novels. Since Redcliffe is a seaside town, I had to name the pub in accordance with its location. The Ship Inn seemed perfectly appropriate, and here I found some photos (courtesy of Pinterest) that showed almost an exact image of my fictional pub, conveniently located in Cornwall.
The Ship Inn is introduced in my first book Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel), when our heroine Jessica Stone introduces her close friend and pub manager, Simon Bunce. When we move into the second book Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel), we discover that the Ship has many secrets concealed within its ancient walls, and even beneath its floors… By the third book Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel) we become even more familiar with the abandoned smugglers’ tunnels hidden inside the cliffs, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise!
What does the pub mean to you? For me it is a place to be sociable, to meet up with friends, enjoy a meal and a nice glass of wine, maybe celebrate a birthday or special occasion. My father-in-law enjoys exploring pubs that sell locally produced or traditional ales, and these places become central to our family holidays. The pub can introduce you to new bands, weird and wonderful facts in the pub quiz, or even a little game of darts or pool. Yes, the pub is very important to our social circles, and definitely so for Jessica Stone and her friends in Redcliffe.
Now I invite you to check out my fellow #atozchallenge bloggers. You will find some weird and wonderful articles, and we can all make new friends. See you tomorrow for the next letter in our #atozchallenge.
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