It had been a while since I’d ventured out of Truro, so I thought a little train trip to Caerphilly was in order.
When I was a carefree teenager, I’d often spend my summers visiting family friends in Wales. Every time I return it brings those childhood memories of underage pints and breathless nights of laughter back, a wave of nostalgia that I welcome as often as I can. Luckily for me, those friends are still living in the same area so I return most summers to tour round the excellent pubs, indulge in some good food and even better conversation.
The train journey from Truro to Caerphilly is often filled with holidaymakers like me, slightly older folks who are looking for a bit of gentle hiking and some lovely sights. As I tuck into my packed lunch and watch the scenery pass by I’m given the opportunity to consider how much has changed since those hazy days of summer. As teenagers we weren’t limited by the time of day, pocket money could be amassed through chores and the cost of living meant that we were able to afford everything that we needed (beer and pork pies) to while away the days.
Things are a little different now. My friend Joe always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so it didn’t surprise me when I found out he was a starting a cleaning business in his home town of Caerphilly. Although I was never a huge fan of the manual labour, I was happy enough to do the work for the beer money but clearly Joe felt like this was his ticket to success. He bought the cleaning franchise idea from a man in America and now he spends his days travelling around the Caerphilly area scrubbing BBQs and grills. It might not be the life that I would choose, but it’s certainly one that I admire.
Joe met me at the station, a big grin on his face and black grease staining his work trousers. We took a short walk back to his childhood home and caught up. I’ve never been much of a phone-person, so whenever Joe and I meet we tend to have a lot to catch up on. After dropping my stuff off, it was off to the first pub of the trip. The walk to The Black Cock Inn was one that we were both very familiar with. This was the pub that we used to frequent in our early days of drinking, after a day of labouring in a local orchard or painting fences we would nonchalantly walk up to the bar and order our ciders, growing bolder with each pint that we drained.
Today the pub is under different management and they no doubt operate a much stricter policy on underage drinkers, not that Joe and I remotely represent young people anymore…
The Black Cock is an example of a classic pub that (barring their Challenge 25 drinking policy) has remained unchanged my modernity. Even the regulars look like they’ve walked out of our memories, I was quite content drinking down their still excellent cider and whiling away the evening.