I went to three pubs in Aston Clinton tonight (a village about 4 miles south-east of Aylesbury). Â The last one we went to, The Oak, is probably about as similar to The Angel as any pub could be. It was even struggling and rumoured to be on the point of closure at the end of last year. However, Fuller’s (the brewery owners) spruced it up a bit and brought in anÂ entrepreneurial landlord called Steve who, with a partner called Joolz in the kitchen who handles the food, has turned the place around. I’m not surprised as the bar staff were extraordinarily attentive.
The place was buzzing tonight — the public bar area was absolutely jam-packed and a bunch of locals were sitting around the bar — two of whom I was introduced to by a mutual friend.
One of the tables was occupied by about eight or nine women and when I saw the distinctive orange and white of the cover of David Nicholls’s ‘One Day’ I realised they were holding some sort of book club or reading group there. I saw other books being handed round the table but couldn’t identify the titles.
I thought this was all good research for the novel but also thought that there might be a wonderfully circular scenario here to aspire towards — if I was to have the novel published and then it be discussed in the book group of a pub it was partly based in — and then perhaps I could write about that? Maybe that’s too much circularity?