Today I found myself chatting to a girl I used to know at University. It's 10 years since I've seen her but the strangest part of the encounter was that we were both with our young children, in the very pub where we used to party (and got up to a fair bit of pash-and-dashing) in our misspent youth.
And we weren't alone.
If you duck down to your local pub on a rainy weekday morning there is every chance that you will find it crowded with Mums and their kids.
It's a phenomonon that I have no doubt would shock my grandmother and, to some extent, I do agree that it's a strange world when you take your kids to the pub for the morning. But, on a wet day (and there have been a few lately and all us Mums are going a bit crazy), a pub is often my venue of choice.
A couple of the bigger pubs near us have installed fantastic inside play equipment, they sell coffee, and it's free. What more could a hassled mother and two kids who have been stuck inside want ...
The other things that makes the pub such a good choice for Mums is
that the seating area is much bigger than in a 'proper play centre'.
Because normally the pub is all about the seating area. And from the
perspective of supervising your children while they play at an indoor entertainment centre that's pretty
unusual. Normally the seating is cramped, hot and wedged with
Now that pubs are non-smoking it's a nice place to sit, with only a touch of that 'beer split on the floor' smell.
And the staff tend to be incredibly helpful - clearly pathetically grateful mothers are nicer than drunk people. Just this morning a
lovely bar tender rushed to hold the hotel door for me while I pushed my
stroller into the hotel (goodness, that's such a strange sentence to type!).
I don't think that the pubs were aiming at the 'Friday at 10am' market, I think they were trying to make themselves more welcoming to families on the weekend.
The weekday thing is just a very happy side-effect that has worked out well for everyone!
The pub would have been open anyway and is being utilised at a time when it would have had few customers. The Mums are desperate for something active for their kids to do, and indoor entertainment centres are expensive.
And despite the temptation I've only once found myself drinking wine and eating cheesecake at 10.30am. I can only imagine what my Grandma would say ... actually she had four children so perhaps she would understand!