11pm, Friday night, and it's hot. OK, it's the East Midlands, so it's probably not hot compared to many places where last drinks are being consumed, but it's late spring, and it's the first warm Friday that heralds the approach of summer, and in a low-ceilinged bar, it most certainly feels hot.
All of a sudden a pub that's been muddling through that early-year graveyard period while people are watching their waist-lines and keeping worried eyes on the household budget comes out the other side. A week ago half of the four strong bar staff team were cleaning shelves to keep themselves busy, tonight late sunshine in the pub's beer garden has meant the same four and the bar management are hosting last week's regulars and an awful lot more. The shelves are being cleared again, but this time it's because all the glasses are out there in the balmy evening air being emptied over many, many conversations.
'Why haven't you got more staff on?' cry the newcomers. 'Where were you last week when it was below freezing?' mutters one of the staff, under their breath of course.
But it's 11 O'Clock, or maybe five after once the queue's been finally served. There's a respite before the task of clearing up with a horribly short-handed team begins. A nod to a regular customer, one who was here in the cold and recognised that tonight was a good night to be on the other side of the bar, and so was generous enough to offer a drink... and a cold beer is poured into a rare nucleated glass that was squirrelled away at the back of a shelf to make sure it was dry, and not hot from the washer.
Fifteen minutes. The perfect amount of time to drink a much-needed pint. That's a beer moment.
Many thanks to Pete Brown for hosting this month's session.