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Archive for the ‘social history’ Category

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’ .

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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.

View from the Bar

In boating, camra, caravan club, caravaning, Country Fare, english pubs, local history, real ale, Resturants, river trent, social history, View from the bar on December 28, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Well the season of good will is upon us and excess is the order of the day.

Here at ‘The Hart’ we again put our greed and avarice to good use, we held a charity race night and raised £265 for cancer research. All i can say about that is well done guys well done !

Christmas eve and Christmas day passed as always busy in the bar with lots of regulars and many not so regulars reveling in the season of cheer and good will, it is a shame that people cant be as nice ( and free spending lol ) all year round. With the new year rapidly approaching thoughts turn inevitably to ‘the new years eve bash’ and as a publican to the out poring of an alcohol fueled emotion tsunami that is the chimes of midnight, with its attendant tears and Bonn hommee.

For myself  ‘the new year bash’ is more a trial of nerve and guile, as it is my role to keep the emotional torrent under control whilst supplying the emotional rocket fuel. I often feel that this night above all nights high lights the dualism of the publican, for we are in essence parasites living of peoples social interactions and weaknesses. We are both poacher and game keeper as we allow or even encourage social degradation and excess, we prey upon the weak addicted characters in our society whilst espousing social responsibility and all that is proper and honourable . We landlords are as is stated ‘fit and proper persons’ in the eyes of the law licensed drug dealers if you will, but drug dealers none the less.

A bit of history

In boating, camra, caravan club, caravaning, Country Fare, local history, social history, Uncategorized on December 16, 2008 at 8:53 am

Local History : The village of West Stockwith

The village has evolved over centuries to the ‘Stockwith’ of today, it reached its zenith  when transport relied upon water and waterways, the village then boasted far more than the current two hundred odd inhabitants with many pubs inns ale houses shops and water based industries such as boat building, chandlers, roperys. Other local industries that used the waterways for transportation such as a flax mill a chemical works ( fertilizer manufacturing ) and of course agriculture farming etc.

The village stretches for about one mile along the banks of the river trent, to one end of the village the river Trent is joined by the chesterfield canal, at Stockwith Basin half way through the village the river trent is joined by the river Idle ( this junction is coincidentally the site on which ‘the Hart’ is built .  the villages past glories can be seen when you wander down main street as many of the properties offer clues to the past in there names and styles of construction, ferry landing, the malting’s, ropery house etc, to name but a few.

The village boasts a wide variety of building styles and properties of varying size from grand Georgian houses to small Victorian workers cottages, many have been adapted throughout the years , to leave the eclectic individual homes that we see today.