You know that feeling when you do something you have done 1000s of times in a place you have been to 1000s of times and something is not quite right but you just can't put your finger on it?
I went to the Nag's Head in Thornton, where I have been 1000s of times stretching back to when it was a real, uncomfortable spit'n'sawdust country pub and through various transmigrations of its soul to the present fully-carpeted, flatscreen-barnacled food&family pub, and went up to the bar to order a pint which I have done 1000s of times.
I took my pint over to a table and sat down on the round stool. The table looked...different... but why?
I raised my glass and quaffed my first two-fingers of beer and as I sighed that beer-lovers sigh, I looked across the pub. The light looked... different... but WHY?
I set down my glass with a puzzled frown on my face. I breathed in through my nose, a deep breath to help my ponderings... and I SMELT THE CARPET!
Never before have I smelt a carpet in a pub - never, ever.
Table/light/smell... what the...?
Some punters got up and went outside in a huddle. Soon I could see smoke rising; cigarette smoke...
The table - no stinky ashtray, the light - not grey and foggy, the smell - not hundred year-old ciggy smoke...
The BAN, the smoking ban in pubs in England which came in on 01.07.07... oh yes... oh YES!!