One of the perennial delights of a good pub is that it is, in effect, an extension of your home, only with slightly less flexible opening hours. It's a role pubs have played for a long time and, when there was no such thing as central heating and refrigeration, going to the pub was even more of an improvement on staying home than it is today.
Some pubs take their domestic role very seriously indeed, none more so than the Sun Inn in Leintwardine, Herefordshire, where one of the bars was for 74 years also the living room of the landlady, Florence Lane, and a very welcoming place too. When she died earlier this year, the shadow of redevelopment hung over the Sun until a group of heroic locals bought it with the intention of keeping it going as it ever was.
The Sun is not alone in its down-home appeal. The lounge of Scanlon's pub in Brigg, North Lincolnshire, was so comfortably homey that more than one hopeful visitor passed by thinking it was someone's place, before being redirected. The Star Inn in Netherton, Northumberland, is another where it feels as if your very own lounge has suddenly sprouted a bit of extra company and some very good beers. Society is becoming atomised, they say, with individuals spending more and more time in their own boxes, away from the rest of the world. It may be true, but with pubs like these, there's really no excuse.