Closed When I Want It

Since moving to Cumbria in early August I have been slowly working on getting used to the slightly different way things are done in the area. There are a great many already touched upon in The Difference, but there is one that is utterly confounding and is, in all honesty, the single worst aspect of living here, and that is closing times.

I just can’t see to figure them out.

A great many years ago on a trip to London I woke early to go to a shop before heading home on the train only to find the shop closed until 12pm. It really confused me, having been so used to 10am or thereabouts opening times in Scotland. When my sister moved to Cumbria in late 2013 she realised that she had to go to the shops in Glasgow before heading back south on the Sunday because by the time she got home the shops would be closed – Sunday trading hours are still a thing in England. Shops in England are 24 hours with a caveat that they must close at 11.59pm on the Saturday night and only be open for five hours on Sunday, before being open again at 6.00am on Monday morning. This, however, I am used to now – we just have to plan around it, with a Saturday night trip for nappies being the closest we’ve came to being caught out by this quirk.

But this past weekend we came across a really strange thing that for the life of me I can’t understand. We headed through to Carlisle for a shopping trip and not to dwell on the details (in this post) it was a total bust. On the way back we think that a pub lunch might improve our moods, so we drop in at a pub and it’s closed between 2pm to 6pm. And then we go to a second pub and it’s open, but not serving food until 5.30pm. 

I don’t get it.

Pubs, in Scotland, don’t appear to have this. I have never came across a pub anywhere in Scotland who stops serving food in the middle of the day only to restart it. I assume there probably are pubs who do this, but I’ve never came across any, and certainly not on the weekend. I remember vaguely that one of my Uni haunts, Dow’s next to Queen Street station, which had a really cheap lunchtime offer on “beef” burgers, had food times that were a little odd, but that might be the only time I can remember directly. Most appear to follow the rule that if they’ve started serving they’ll keep serving all the way through until 9pm or something, which I can understand – but stopping the middle of the day and in the middle of what I think is Primetime Pub Lunching Hours, 2pm to 5pm, is madness to my eyes.

However, it might make sense – I guess maybe I am used to a larger city and more footfall and most seem to power on through Sunday lunch, which in England is certainly more of a roast than anything else, but that isn’t a hard and fast rule. It just frustrates that one of my favourite things, a quick pub lunch mid-afternoon on a weekend now needs to either be meticulously planned and prepared for, or completely thrown out.