les anderson xiy52D5Qxh4 unsplash scaled - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

Arfarfan’arf – I’m popping out for a quick half


Arfarfan’arf is a Victorian term for a drunkard. A term for someone who drinks too much. Not just drunk, like a happy drunk, but a bit too drunk. A bit more than they can cope with. Visibly more drunk than you may expect.

“He’s a bit arf’arf’an’arf” means someone who has had too many half-pints of beer.

les anderson xiy52D5Qxh4 unsplash 907x1024 - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

But why a say ‘half pint’?

You may be wondering why the term ‘half’ is used here, and not the term ‘pint’. Nobody that I know goes to the pub and drinks 20 halves. That’s unless you are going to the French House in Soho where you can only buy beer in half-pint glasses, but we digress!

People go to the pub for 10 pints (and maybe 20 hot wings on the way home). Surely most people go to the pub for a pint or two of beer? This arfarfan’arf drunkard has had a few too many half-pints of beer.

Hold on, I can see why this term is used in this instance.

The term ‘half’ in this case, must be being used in a comical and ironic way. Reducing the size of the drink for comic effect. Like when someone says “have you had a little bit too much to drink?” when what they mean is, “God! you have had far too much too drink, you are a disgrace”. The judgemental not wanting to be seen as judgemental.

“I’m just popping out for a quick half.”

And just like when you say, “I’m popping out for a quick half”. We all know that there is no way on God’s earth that if you are actually just ‘popping out’, then you are only going to have one single solitary lonely half pint of beer!

If you really are popping out for one, I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t bloody drink it quickly. The single drink of a single drink session needs to be savoured. Savoured so that you can spend as much time in the pub / out of the house, as possible.

But you are not having one half, time is the constant here, and the beer is a variable. You are popping out for a defined amount of time. As such, you are going to try and get as much beer down your throat as is humanly possible in the time you can reasonably expect to be out for, without arousing suspicion.

A short story about going to the pub:

I’m just popping out for a quick half, really means, I’m going out and I won’t be too long. It’s a deliberately vague statement. You are not going out for the whole evening. You are just in need of a short break from the hum-drum. You may even just be popping into the pub as you ‘happen’ to walk past it, while you are out walking the dog.

But why say it if you don’t mean it? Well here’s why. You really want to go out. You want to go out and have a few beers. But the people in charge may frown upon this. They may also frown upon your desire to get out of the house. However, they may accept your statement if it were taken as fact. Only popping out for a quick half is an acceptable volume of beer and it can be drunk in a fairly short length of time. So it’s acceptable. And that’s the reason you say it. You say it to get what you want.

Now that you are out of the house

This is where your problems start. Time to plan, pay attention, focus. You rush to the bar and order a pint AND an additional half. You down the half pint to give yourself a good foundation. Then you take a big quick sip of the pint and look at the time. No matter what time you actually left the house, no matter what time you actually arrived at the pub, these times are both irrelevant. The precise time when your lips touch the glass of the first pint IS the time you start the stopwatch.

You need to be able to say, “I started my 1st pint at such and suck o’clock”.

Now you can relax a bit and enjoy the atmosphere. But in the back of your head, you know you need to do some maths. Being out for how long is too long? You are in the pub, all you need to worry about is how long you can reasonably stay in the pub without complaint from the people in charge. How can we perfectly time the end of the last sip of the last pint to coincide with the very last second that you need to leave the pub. This time, the time to leave the pub is the time between the moment you put the key in the front door of your house minus the time it takes to walk back from the pub.

If the Pub is a 10-minute walk away, can you do it in 7? Of course. The walk back is always quicker than the walk there. If you can do it in 7 minutes, then do the maths.

But do it now. Don’t leave it for 30 mins. If you do leave it a little while to do the maths, you will soon realise that the alcohol is impairing your number skills. Do it now, work it out, and then relax. You are probably halfway through the pint by now.

hennie stander O3oIr1j65EM unsplash 683x1024 - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

Waiting at the bar with an empty glass

There is nothing more annoying than waiting at the bar with an empty glass.

When you are out with friends you are not always in charge of the ‘going to get the next one in’ frequency. As your beer level goes down, you can feel the urge to rack them up, get another one on the conveyor belt, chain-smoking, chain-drinking.

But you can do something about it. All is not lost. You can make little waves by looking at your glass, sighing, staring at the guy who should be getting the next one in. Brave drinkers may even get up to go to the bar, even if it’s not their round, simply to speed up the process. “What are you having?”, “I’ll get the next one in” you say.

This can go one of two ways, you will either have to buy another round or more likely, the person who’s round it actually is will look up, look at all the emptying glasses and realise that it’s their turn to get off their arse.

Hopefully, they will go to the bar and you can nurse the remaining 1/4 of a pint until they get back.

Or, if you are trying to be super-efficient, now’s the time for a wee. Just make sure to take your coat off, leave it over the back of your chair. You need to leave the table in a state that looks like it’s in use. The combination of a coat and unfinished drink indicates to someone that the table is taken. There’s nothing worse than getting back from the loo to find a couple of dumbass interlopers sitting at your table, just as your mate Dave returns with the drinks, leading to an awkward situation.

shavin peiries V cbagVBpoI unsplash 683x1024 - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

Time for another pint

Because you popped out to the pub for a quick half by yourself, there’s no messy ‘meeting up with friends’ at the end of the road or waiting around for people to arrive. A quick half is a solo affair. You are the master of your own destiny. There’s is absolutely no reason to be standing at the bar with an empty glass, waiting for the barperson to serve you.

So, you are halfway through your ‘1st’ pint, this is a good time to scan the situation, look around you. Are there lots of customers at the bar? Is one of the barmen collecting glasses? Has the landlord popped down the hatch to change the barrel of a beer that has just run out? Have the available staff levels been reduced? Sod it, none of this matters, just look a the barman, catch his eye.

It’s better to have one waiting than be waiting. Don’t wave your money at the barman, you will only annoy him. Catch his eye, smile and nod your head upwards, just a little bit. Now he now knows you are waiting. You have staked your claim in the rambling mess they call a queue at the bar.

Fingers crossed, this guy is a good barman. He knows who was before you. Let’s hope he’s not weak enough to be bullied into serving one of the arrogant f***ing regulars. You know the type, the sort of dick who rocks up to the bit of the bar where all the glasses are stacked, because no one sensible stands there, waves a £20 note in the air and shouts “yes please mate”. He’s been going to this pub for years, but still, can’t be bothered to learn the name of the only friend you ever need in a pub! Dick.

Pint number two

It’s been about 20 minutes since you started the stopwatch, plus the 7-minute walk home, with a full pint in front of you. Time to down the last remaining bit of pint number one and take a little sip of the nice cold pint number two.

This is it now, there’s no time for a third pint, so you can really relax. The balancing act begins. You have worked out the time you need to leave the pub. You can see the amount of beer in front of you. Don’t drink it too fast, you’ll finish early. Don’t drink it too slowly or you’ll have to take one big gulp right at the end.

I need a wee!

Oh, God, what if I need a wee. I need to factor this into the equation. Luckily there are only two things to worry about, and both of these are in my control. The time left and the beer left.

Pint down, quick wee, back to the bar, carry on.

The End

So now it’s time to leave, you should have one sip left, the time should say 7 minutes before you want to arrive home. All is good.

Or is it?

…more soon.

alexandros karantges LlJCdjdsY7I unsplash 1024x640 - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

amy parkes krCG8QgMNrk unsplash 1024x684 - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

louis hansel shotsoflouis 0rSlb1 pSTg unsplash 760x1024 - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

monica di loxley V  V 2Sptd0 unsplash 1024x683 - Arfarfan’arf - I'm popping out for a quick half

Image credits:
Amy Parkes

Les Anderson

monica di loxley

Hennie Stander

Alexandros Karantges

Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis

Shavin Peiries