Keith Pawson lives in an idyllic English village, with an idyllic village pub only 200 yards of his house - but Keith can’t drink there any more, because he admits to “not being very good at driving”.
“It all started a year ago.” Keith tells me. “The Swan on summer evenings fills up with locals just popping in for a ‘swift half’ on the way home to the ‘little lady’. They are a chatty crowd, often swapping stories of the motorway encounters they have endured during the day”. Keith, an insurance actuary by profession, was a little surprised to learn that everyone there considered themselves to be an “above average” driver. “I normally take my car home, put it in the garage, then walk to the pub, and when David with the Jag asked me why I did this, I said I wasn’t too good at reversing after a couple of pints, and anyway, it meant I didn’t have to break the law.”
“Pete with the 5 Series slapped me on the back and with a wink said ‘and do you drive in the middle lane all the time?’. I said, yes, because if I moved into the slow lane, I might not be able to get out again. A brief silence fell”.
The true story of the rest of that fateful night may never be known. The Landlord of the Swan tells his side of the tale. “I try to run a friendly pub, and during the election banned any talk of politics because I knew Bob with the Van would start banging on about the Poles, and everyone knows Jerry with the Range Rover is actually banging his Polish nanny.”
“Keith with the Prius started getting very agitated and waving a calculator around, trying to prove that statistically not everyone in the pub could be above average. Mike with the Porsche joked that it was because there weren’t any women here, which was unfortunate because Jenny with the Horsebox had just emerged from the loo behind him. When Steve with the Discovery said that didn’t include dykes I began to feel I had lost control of my own pub”.
“Most of the damage was caused when everyone tried to drive out of the car park at the same time because they realised that the police have been called.”
Three days later, Keith took his laptop and a copy of the Highway Code to the Swan in the hope he could rebuild his relationship with his local Landlord. “He was very nice, but said I had committed a transgression that couldn’t be forgiven. What’s more, he had reported me to the Buckinghamshire Pub Watch scheme, so I can’t get a drink within a 10 mile radius.”