An item on the local news caught my eye this morning.
Ninety-four year old Fred Dell from Fleetwood has been popping into the Strawberry Gardens pub for a "swift half of mild" since he was 18 in 1936. The landlord has now said he can drink there for free.
Dell's comment that when he started drinking there "You could get half a mild, five Woodbines and a box of matches and a penny
change for half a sixpence." reminded me of what an old man in a pub says to Winston Smith in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four: "When I was a young man, mild beer - wallop, we used to call it - was fourpence a pint. That was before the war, of course."
Free beer for the rest of your life when you're 94 is a small reward for seventy-six years drinking. The pub itself has seen some changes in that time if these reviews are to be believed, seemingly for the better. And contrary to what successive health ministers and Chancellors have told us, Dell's longevity proves that BEER IS GOOD FOR YOU.