I never knew how much I needed the pub. It’s been a joy to see friends there again. It has felt rather surreal too, especially when you haven’t got much to catch up on because you all haven’t done that much since you’ve last seen them.

The Moon Under Water, a new podcast presented by John Robins and Robin Allender, celebrates all the things that make British pubs such a unique and special place, by inviting a guest to think up and describe their perfect one. As well as laying down the rules for what they consider to be perfect pub etiquette, guests have to choose their favourite two drafts, two bottles, two spirits and something called a “wild card” (draft wines are allowed) that this pub would serve. Nish Kumar was their first guest, who advocated that all pubs should have a worn out carpet: “I need to see a surface that feels like it can take on and retain smells for up to 500 years. It’s the richness of that.”

It’s not just been pubs reopening of course, but restaurants and various outdoor attractions too. We Built This City: Greater Manchester featured an interview with Masterchef winner Simon Wood about restaurants and how the city rallied together. The National Trust has also restarted their podcast, which talks about their attractions across the UK. The Woodland Trust has also released a new episode, exploring the best of their woods and forests across the UK.

My Special Place, which launches tomorrow, features a well-known name heading to their favourite location, or a place that changed their life. Marcus Bentley, the voice of Big Brother, will be returning to the recording studio where he voiced his iconic narrations. BBC weatherman and drummer Owain Wyn Evans will be going on a hike around the Gower peninsula. And Rhiane Fatinkun, founder of Black Girls Hike (an organisation providing a safe space for Black women to reconnect with nature), heads out on her very first night hike. 

Whatever you’re up to, hope you have a relaxing and fulfilling weekend.

GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Before We Say I DoAn interesting spin on those podcasts hosted by two celebs in a relationship, this series features couple Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall trying out all different forms of relationship counselling. That’s not because they’re experiencing any major problem, but “people leave it until it is too late to seek help,” says Van Outen.

It’s surprisingly informative, because even though we talk about the benefits of being open with our mental health, we don’t talk (or know) much about the variety of treatments that are available. Throughout the series Denise and Eddie try psychotherapy, psychosexual therapy, hypnotherapy and laughter therapy (I’ll pass on that one). An episode I listened to was cooking therapy, where food and cooking is used as a gateway into talking about relationships. Even a lack of cooking by one person, where one person cooks whilst the other does not, is a talking point.

Life Changing with Jane GarveySince leaving Woman’s Hour, Fortunately presenter Jane Garvey has been presenting this podcast where she interviews someone who has been through an extraordinary event. Two episodes are available so far, one about a man who got addicted to gambling, went into debt, stole 1.75 million euros from his employer and went on the run. The other is about a trainee doctor, Grace Spence Green, who was left paralysed after a man fell on her from several storeys above whilst she was shopping in Westfield, east London.

Despite the lifelong consequences, she does not hold any anger towards the person who did that to her. “People find that really hard to understand,” Green says. “It almost makes me sometimes second guess myself. Is there something wrong?”

The man went to prison for grievous bodily harm, but she thinks that she wouldn’t have given it much thought if he hasn’t. “I think if I had any anger directed at this man I would just feel miserable, because it would just turn into this bitterness.”

Spotify’s Pick of the Week: Wrighty’s House

Wrighty’s House returns this week and Ian Wright is joined by Jeanette Kwakye and Musa Okwonga to chat about how setting can affect performance after Jurgen Klopp’s comments about playing at Real Madrid’s Alfred Di Stefano Stadium. They also discuss the race for the end of season awards in England, including who might be crowned Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, and speculate who might end up with the Golden Boot this season.

Disgustomer Service – If you have worked in customer services it is guaranteed that you have been involved in some surreal situations. I remember, whilst working for a tea retailer, being asked whether I could recommend presents for someone called Debbie (someone I had never met). The weirder thing is, neither had the customer, yet I was supposed to exactly know what Debbie’s favourite things were.

In this original idea by John Murray and Kirsten Rodrigues, listeners are encouraged to send in hilarious (and occasionally horrible) customer service experiences, either as a customer or as an employee. Stories include retail workers knowing the barcode of creme eggs off by heart because they never ever scan (I can vouch for that, the code is 5020 1600) and a story of a customer who wanted a refund for fuel because they put the wrong one into their car. You’ll leave with more empathy to retail workers as ever, as well as a renewed commitment to always be nice to staff in future.

Here To JudgeA popular British experience is not to mention when someone has made a faux pas but then comment on it behind their back. This nifty little podcast, hosted by comedians Leila Navabi, Robin Morgan and Priya Hall, searches for a divisive problem shared on the internet followed by their crushing judgements, hence the title. The conversation swings from big relationship issues to the little ones, such as the ethics of the act time to roll away when you’re cuddling under the sheets (and you’re finding it a bit warm).

A couple more podcasts to mention before we go. The Breakup Monologues is returning for two new episodes, with their first on Friday 23rd April. It’ll feature an interview with Jessica Fostekew from the Hoovering podcast, talking about how porn misrepresents queer sex and the shifting attitudes of women in relationships.

And podcast coming soon, made by the same people behind Dirty John and The Apology Line, will be looking into the  Litvinenko poisoning and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It’s called British Scandal. We’ll mention it right here when it’s up.

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