Pocket Pub Guide: An Article by Red Szell

Image of a man reading on his Pocket phone

“A moment of triumph when I realised that this was probably the first time I had got to and from my local and navigated the menu by myself for about eight years”. 

We were in Moscow; Satan and his talking cat Behemoth were creating havoc at the theatre, when suddenly my Pocket’s reminder alarm went off summoning me back to reality.

A little reluctantly, I asked Pocket to pause playback of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita and dragged myself away from the comfort of the sofa.

The reminder went off again and informed me that I was already eleven seconds late. It’s a great feature that I’ve only recently found on Pocket. And it’s really easy to use. You just press the home key and say ‘set reminder for 6pm’ or whatever, and then Pocket confirms your instructions and lo and behold at the allotted time a sound like an electric door buzzer goes off to remind you that you’re meant to be doing something. It will then repeat the sound every 10 seconds or so, telling you how long it is since the original alarm, until you press the home key, and it switches off. I find it particularly useful in the kitchen when I need to set timers for roasts and casseroles.

But this time the reminder was for something altogether more exciting – my first trip to the pub in 2021!

And rather than asking my friend Matthew to drop by and pick me up, I had decided to let Pocket guide me to my local instead.

If you read last week’s blog, you will know that I’d already done some groundwork by setting up Locations on my Pocket and wandering round my neighbourhood, saving some local landmarks and frequently visited places into the app. And I’d been very well-behaved and resisted temptation when I had stood outside the pub and asked Pocket to ‘save location as The Duke’. So, this really was going to be my first draught pint of the year.

I’d also asked Pocket to check the weather forecast for my part of London this evening, which is another feature I’ve only just discovered. So, I knew that I didn’t need my raincoat but that an extra layer or two and a woolly hat wouldn’t go amiss, since we would be sitting outside for a couple of hours.

Whether it was due to excitement at this prospect or a lingering (and unfounded) worry that the technology might fail, and I’d get lost in the maze of backstreets, I had left myself ten more minutes to get there than I needed. Having switched on Locations, I was guided turn by turn past the little local museum, over the junction and past the convenience store without a hitch and got to the pub so early that they were still clearing my table.

This gave me time to turn off Locations (saving the battery) and put through a call to ask Be My Eyes to read the menu to me. The woman who answered had a lilting Irish accent and made all the dishes sound tempting! So, by the time Matthew turned up and began fumbling for his reading glasses I was able to give him a rundown of the main courses and tell him what beers were on tap.

I think he was a bit surprised at my new independence and enquired whether I was planning on sacking him and asking Pocket to be my climbing partner as well!

I assured him that his position at the other end of the rope was safe and we began to make plans for our next climbing trip.

While he checked the crag guidebook for routes on our wish-list, I asked Pocket to give me the long-range weather forecasts for the following couple of weekends in Swanage and The Peak District. Plans and pints flowed and all too soon it was time to go home. Matthew offered to walk me back, but it would have been out of his way and I was confident that Pocket could get me there.

A few minutes later, I was putting my key in the door that Pocket had correctly identified as my house. And felt a moment of triumph when I realised that this was probably the first time I had got to and from my local and navigated the menu by myself for about eight years.

I decided to celebrate with a chocolate digestive and another chapter of The Master and Margarita.

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