The Angel is a quiet pub. The Angel is a small, typically-village pub, the sort which sad city-dwellers can only dream of.
The Angel hums when it is full, and chirrups gently when just a few are present.
Ivan Pearson, front left in the picture, has been a regular for more than 50 years. He has seen many changes, most recently the opening out of the back bar to create Mo's Eyrie, from which she used to contemplate her loyal custom and listen longingly to the clatter of the till. But Ivan's pub is still a warm and welcoming place. He plays for the Crib Team and takes a lively interest in the successes of the Quiz Team too. Ivan is a past-master at monitoring the fruit machine. He can tell you when it is due to pay out ... but don't believe him, because he'll have worked out EXACTLY when to have his quid's-worth.
The Angel is a welcoming place. There is always good conversation to be had, whether from Ivan, about the best vegetable growing calendar, or Doods on the machinations of the Parish Council, or from Jos about the relative merits of Harleys and BSAs, discussed at full revs with Tim. Catch Tony Ward on a quiet night, and he will guide you rapidly and none-too-gently through the latest arrivals on his bookshelf. If you are an amateur of the Knights Templar, Tony's your man. Rennes-le-Chateau is his spiritual home, and he will willingly debate the origins of Gnosticism and Catharism with you.
You may also run into Tom and Thomas, but you have to keep your eyes open, because we swear they don't leave footprints, and you won't hear them coming.
The crib team in general are good value, too.
Other regulars include Jim and that nice man Roger, always ready to discuss the merits of Northampton Rugby Club (or even just Northampton), and Dave and Dave, and the Farrance family on Fridays.
I hear tales, too, of a "Five O' Clock Club", and a set of lunchtime drinkers. I think this calls for further research.
Then, of course, there's always Paul ...
The Angel doesn't like loud-mouths, or posers, and quickly brings them down to size. Mobile phones, for instance, are unheard of. Beer is drunk from glasses, not bottles (although, just occasionally, youngsters pining for clubland and chewing gum are allowed to wean themselves off that revolting habit for a drink or two).
Do you want a good meal? there has always been a full selection of salted peanuts, crisps, Twiglets and pork scratchings. Enough for anyone, says I. But no: Jan 'n' Dave have gone one better and added Crinkles to the menu.
If nothing else, The Angel is a place to come and sit quietly in the corner. No-one will bother you, or shout at you, and you may be lucky to catch Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" on the stereo - that is, if George Thorogood has been worn out for the evening. More recently, the Travelling Wilburies took a bit of a hammering, then it was Jennifer Warnes. We slipped a little into a rut of modern techno-rubbish, but that nice man Roger has done his best, and we have had some Peter Gabriel as well.
The trouble is, Jos then lent Mo a load of Van Morrison albums, which she took a liking to, so we had weeks and weeks of Van the Man. We managed to hijack the multi-CD changer occasionally, and infiltrated a wonderful 3 CD set "Good Morning Vietnam", with some grand Jefferson Airplane tracks on it, including "White Rabbit", the greatest single ever made.
Jan 'n' Dave's arrival brought new flavours again to the system, with even the barest hint of folkie music.
The struggle continues.