Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

shaggy dog stories

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Stories, folklore, rumours, facts and fabrication the life blood of a country pub.  From ‘did you know that dynamite is made of peanuts’?  to ‘I once met Geoff Boycott in a bar in Barnsley’.

My story today is one of great peril and high drama and of general silliness.   As Landlord and Landlady, myself and my partner have found ourselves often listening to our local Sooth-Sayers.  As usual once the normal pleasantries have passed you become drawn were  inextricably into the world of random facts and fictions.  

on this occasion it all started from a statement  from one of our customers,  Mr X as we will call him,  ‘was in need of a repeat prescription from the doctors’ and that ‘ Iv’ no time to collect it.  I’m a busy man!’   This had surprised the assembled patrons as Mr X had been in the pub well before most of their number. 

But I  digress, as usual mention of ‘doctors’ n medical matters provoked a round of ( as I  like to call it ) I’m sicker than you are.   After due consideration of conditions critical, personal and comical a pause in the conversation deepened into a lull. 

  A lull of course into which a statement of weight and importance  was needed to fill.   Thus to the fore a hero came and a statement of purest ‘shaggy dogness’ spilled forth.  ‘Did you know that Johny Cash became addicted to pain killers after being attacked by an ostrich’.   As you might expect the assembled audience reacted as only people in a pub can.  We had nods of knowing agreement laughs of derision gasps of pure shock and surprise and several giggles of high comedy.  

 After what seemed like only seconds alternative reasons for Mr Cash’s addiction are poured forth and ‘no’ was the general cry.  ‘He fell off a horse’ ‘he was involved in a car crash’ ‘he had an accident on stage’ ‘he was injured getting off a tractor’ ‘he had a childhood illness leading to a bad back’, the alternative explanations had rained down upon our hero. 

 A lesser man would have cracked under the barrage of opposition and recanted.   But not our hero he was adamant!  As with knights of old or gentleman of a nobler age. Satisfaction was required and ranks were formed,   believers and none believers aligned and all that was required was proof !   So yes proof was required but not from your normal run of the mill proof but the full blown certified guaranteed factual  type.  

So where would you find this ultimate proof,  Books no, learned professors, other blokes we have meet down the pub no, all were brought to question but proof is a fleeting thing and not forthcoming so far.   Then the wisest of the assembled cast offered expounds the theory ‘google it’ the assembled throng fell into a hushed silence.

Fingers fluttered on the keyboard keys and in less than the time it takes to order a pint google answers the burning question. Yes dear reader Johny Cash did become addicted due to an ostrich attack. Our hero fills his chests and stands tall vindicated.

All his allies stand glowing with smug satisfaction, the defeated foes stand humbled and mumble words of supplication attempting to distance themselves from former points of view. Thus once again our ‘Shaggy Dog’ has walked abroad bringing glory and defeat to any who attempt to stroke his shaggy coat.


A winters tale

In boating, camra, caravaning, Country Fare, eating out, english pubs, local history, Misterton, real ale, river trent, social history on February 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Well life is slower than ever in our village on the trent, yet more snow and ice is causing transport and communication problems nation wide. Here in stockwith the effects of the snow are icy roads and many less regulars braving the weather to join us for a drink and a chat. But those who do brave the elements are as usual being greeted with a warm smile a glowing hearth and a friendly word. Talk is of the weather and tales of winters long remembered and all agree that yet again we have failed to cope with natures more inclement offerings.

The boats in stockwith basin appear like toys upon a frosted glass all fixed within the ice that sheets the waters surface. The canal to is frozen over the surface looking firm and strong as it holds its charges solid. But the look is much deceiving as the ice is only thin, its strength is only spectral and evaporates once tested.

The crew that works the brewery are braving the bitter cold in an effort to brew fresh ale. Our order book requires we brew our ales whatever the climate offers. So with blue fingers and misty breath they toil around the vessels cleaning barrels and all else that is required to produce a sparkling brew . They work with smiles and laughter to keep out winters cold, for all are true believers . Missionaries with a passion for ale in all its forms believers in tradition and there one true idol ‘a sparkling pint of beer’ .

View from the bar

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Village Life

Well we had a ‘snow day’ yesterday over night several inch’s of pure white snow feel and paralysed the area school buses

Another day in ‘Stockwith’ and as usual life is ambling onward with all about us living and working as normal. We at the ‘Hart’ are doing so in our own inimitable way,our friends and customers stopping in and out as the mood takes them.

The river again looks like polished glass, mirror like, motionless to the eye. Until a duck or dog shatters its surface sending ripples across to our sister village ‘East Stockwith’, eighteen miles or sixty yards away. It is the backdrop to all our lives within the village, but we have no knowledge of the other side of our erstwhile neighbours ‘ so close and yet so far’ . A river though deceptive in its piece, a river that’s under currents and tidal flow can cause havoc to our boating friends and end unwary lives without a moments pause.

view from the bar

In boating, camra, caravan club, caravaning, Country Fare, english pubs, local history, Misterton, pantomime, real ale, river trent, social history, Uncategorized, View from the bar on January 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Well the new year is well under way and the dark cold winter has begun but fortunately so far things arnt looking to bad. The weather is again our worst enemy with howling winds and driving rain it is as usual ‘mad dogs’ and preciouse few’ ‘Englishmen’ going out at all  Night time hours in the bar are long and quiet but, fortunately days are bustling as normal so we are at least being kept on our toes , if not exactly match fit .

Our sidewards look at life within the village  sees us here at the ‘Hart’ wondering what we are doing wrong.  Yet again ‘the Waterfront Inn’ has closed it’s doors for two weeks as it’s landlord and landlady adjourn to sunnier climbes with no regard to regulars in particular or trade in general. 

Our local troupe of amateur thespians have performed their annual Pantomime and this years offering was ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.   The performers this year again included all of our kids Charlie, Daisy and Tamsin.  All three gave good accounts of themselves and Alex and I were justly proud of our little stars.  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt watch out!  

News this week has been in general of the bad variety with upset and unhappiness all round.  Iillness and an unexpected death have gathered the Winter gloom around our streets and homes.   Life though (as is said) goes on. Not exactly at a fast pace but as is our norm meanders softly to its inevitable destinations.   The best news this week is of  Tess our springer spaniel who had all at ‘the Hart’ holding their breath and fingers crossed.  A  lump was found on one of  her teats and removal was advised and a biopsy performed.  We all suffered with jangled nerves until the results arrived.  Gasps of relief were heard throughout the village as the lump was found to be a benign cyste and Tess again emulated the cats she loaths using up another of her nine lives.

view from the bar

In Country Fare, english pubs, Haxey Hood, local history, Misterton, real ale, river trent, social history, Uncategorized, View from the bar on January 7, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Well a new year begins here at ‘the hart’ as is customary it is signaled by two annual events.  On New Year’s day we have Tubby’s birthday one of our longest serving and well loved regulars a good friend to all,  his gruff  look be lies his gentle humour and heart of English oak.   The second a couple of days later the visit of ‘The Boggins’ as a preamble to the ‘Haxey Hood’.  The ‘Hood’ an age old ritual celebrating a medieval incident involving ‘The Milady’ and a group of ‘peasants labouring in the fields’.

The ‘Hood’ has evolved to today’s event that involves a ‘Sway’ a press of men all pushing  for their chosen public house ( The Kings Arms, The Locomotive, The Duke William and The Carpenters Arms ).  The ‘Sway’ can last for many hours as it  first begins on ‘Hood’ field before making its way onto the road pressing back and forth until one or other pub gains superiority in the ‘Sway’.  The Hood is then pushed inexorably to its destination.   The Hood is ‘won’ when the landlord of its chosen pub receives it into his hands at his threshold.   As you might imagine mud sweet n beer are the orders of the day and many a new year is begun with broken bones or torn muscles and many many more awake today to thick heads muddy boots and aching limbs.

The ‘Hood’ went to The Kings Arms this year (as had been expected). But from ‘the Hood’ onwards we enter the twilight zone, a time of long dull days cold dark nights.   A time when customers are few business is slow and takings inevitably low.   This is the ‘Bad after the Good’ except the good wasn’t that good for many  publicans and the bad is expected to be very bad !

Its the time our suppliers ‘the brewers’ put up their prices ‘the wholesalers’ put up their prices and of course we the publicans have to do the same.  We do our sums make our plans and hope our hard pressed customers don’t boycott us for too long.   As after all our lively hoods depend upon sales so we work harder, we try to introduce something new we  try to second, third or even forth guess ‘the market’ in an effort to get through this long dark Winter.

Life within the village continues as it always does just slightly off centre, a little to the south of normal.   Today’s furrowed brow was caused by a local farmer, who’s efforts to work his land has muddied the road.    So as he must he is cleaning it.   Unfortunately the equipment being used  is being overwhelmed by the mud.   All his efforts are at best in-vain, (as his machine seems only to be spreading the mud scrubbing it into the road) and at worst almost polishing it to a dull gloss with air temperatures dropping well below zero and we fully expect a polished mud ice rink to develop. On a lighter note the cars along the road side in the area all seem to be slowly changing colour, on one side at least.