Every Sunday at the end of a busy morning of B&B work I walk past the cathedral to my favourite pub, The Eclipse, in one of the oldest buildings in Winchester, dating back nearly five hundred years. This is a pub with real history and even its own ghost. Here a terrible execution took place following the Monmouth rebellion in 1685. On the timbered face of the pub is a reminder that it was the rectory for the ancient St Lawrence church round the corner.
I have been calling in now and then since I first arrived in Winchester in 1973.
Much in life is not quite as good as our memory tells us it was in the past. This is a pub which has only got better.
It has a tiny bar with a lovely warm fire for wintry days, and a second room at the back. The staff are always ready to amuse you, to listen to your woes, to pour you a beautiful beer or, best of all, bring you the most wonderful lunch. I am there every weekend for my super Sunday roast, cooked and served by Sarah and Alan, perfect hosts.
It is not hard to imagine that each time I go in the same familiar faces and friends are there, some chatting at the bar, some sharing tables and eating together, others peacefully reading the newspaper.
Meanwhile outside some customers can always – summer or winter – be found chatting and drinking outside where there are tables on the pavement, the perfect spot in summer to watch the world going by to and fro from the cathedral around the corner.