Once upon a long time ago me and My Best Mate Aky entered the Scawfell
hotel, Seascale, West Cumbria (aged 19 and ¾ ) at about 10:00pm one evening. The pub was then run by a local ‘entrepreneur’ (ie Layabout/small time crook) called Joe Smith.
He had a wife who seemed to model herself on a mixture of Zsa Zsa Gabor and
Joan Collins, swanning from bar to lounge , carrying her stupid poodle and
bestowing her conversational benediction on her adoring audience (ie. her
foul-mouthed tales and bitchy gossip) Never fond of hard work, hubby Joe is
behind the bar ‘supervising’ clearly inexperienced (or inefficient) bar
Well, as me and Aky wait patiently at the public bar, nervously twitching
and eyeing the clock – remember, these were the days of a strict regime of
‘last orders’ at 10:30, out by 10:45 (11:00 on Friday/Saturday) unless of
course you were a local ‘entrepreneur’ or member of the constabulary,
in which case, ‘last orders’ was anywhere between 01:30 to 03:00am. The bar was busy, the number waiting to be served increasing all the
time. Reluctantly, poor old Joe dives into the fray as the clamour for
drinks reaches fever pitch and proves as feckless as his dopey teenage
barstaff. It’s close to 10:20 now, and already two people, have been served
before us. Aky and me are thinking the same: What can we order, when he
(finally) come to us, that will really fuck things up for him? ‘4 pints of
Guinness: 2 each?’ I suggest ‘Make it six’ says Aky. Well, you know how L – O
– N – G it takes to pour…… Joe’s face is a picture ‘Six pints of Guinness?!’
he repeats. You can see he’s on the verge of refusing to serve us. So at
last orders, 10:30 on the dot with 2 packed bars of drinkers waiting to be
served we watch with glee as he attempts to cope with our order. Wonderful!
Only one problem remaining….Well there wasn’t a problem with the first two
for me but I must admit, the third in 15 minutes was a bit of a struggle. Of
course ‘The Fish’ Atkinson, just glugged them all one by one; the downing of
the final dregs of each followed a wiping of his mouth with the back of his
hand and his familiar beery grin. What a laugh!
God, when I think how much I used to drink then…………….
© Andy Daly 2010