RECENTLY I was sitting down with some of the regulars at the White Horse. A friendly lot, they are generally up for a good chat. This is their local, but they aren't at all hostile which is all to the good as plenty of outsiders pass through.

With the rugby club just up the road some playful punters walk in. They used to have bricks with matches in them for smokers, but they had to go because someone kept setting light to them. Naming no names, rumour has it that it was a fireman...

The two landlords are both very friendly, Larry Neal - also a retained fireman - and Sean Lowrey. Sean is the chef and provides a reasonably priced traditional menu.

From the outside it looks very respectable, a pleasant little pub situated comfortably on Hatching Green in Harpenden. It is a 16th Century building, and there are some nostalgic pictures inside of the pub in times gone by. It has a nice big garden with a white picket fence round it.

The inside lives up to the outside. It is a tidy blend of old and new, combining the past with the demands of the present. One small area includes a fair selection of games - pool table, a few fruit machines, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and board games for the kids. However, if you just want to sit and have a quiet chat, the little games section doesn't intrude.

Thursday is quiz night with a guaranteed chocolate for everyone who enters (two if you're sneaky), and every month or so the restaurant has a theme night with cuisine to match. A decent selection of beers includes guest ales. The current line up of bar staff is both friendly and efficient.

The White Horse has a convivial atmosphere and, situated a little apart from the town centre, it is not bombarded by lager louts on Fridays and Saturdays.