A seasoned look at life

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GREETINGS from Great Marton! With autumn in the air I bring heart-warming news to put a spring in your step.

I’m referring, of course, to new carpeting at our local - Blackpool’s oldest inn, the Saddle.

It’s good to see investment in resort pubs, especially one with so much history.

I mentioned the parlous state of flooring, echoing grumbles from patrons. Owner Stonegate Pubs acted – to the delight of customers, while also cheering caring manager and loyal staff.

What a difference a new carpet makes. Here I whisper as not to inspire She Who Knows, who oversees furnishings at Edmonds Towers. The difference, of course, is we don’t have crowds tramping through our premises every day.

Stonegate has lived up to its solid, traditional name, retaining popular hand-pumps and cask ales – particularly Blackpool’s king of beers Draught Bass.

But, as any householder knows, put down a new carpet and the need for a lick of paint glares! That’s the next job which needs doing.

What’s more, the old inn’s charm is its traditional style. Many like to chat at a bar but others prefer to sit. Cosy rooms with open fires are the perfect place.

Trouble is, those fires now need stoking. Come on, Stonegate, don’t leave the job half done – as She Who Knows would say. Get the coal in, lads! Regulars will be happy to provide kindling.

Barmaids like Luscious Lou, Sultry Sarah and Enticing Emma bring a glow but can also poke the glowing embers. It gives an opportunity to collect glasses while chatting with patrons.

Besides, as winter approaches, a fire attracts people into our hostelries and to comfortable drinking and dining areas.

If more pubs and clubs were welcoming there would not be so many closing down. Let’s turn down unnecessary noise, but turn up warmth and smiles.

One retiring landlord who prospered by knowing what most people enjoy is Ian Rigg. He managed another award-winning pub – The Taps in Lytham.

Ian wisely stuck to the basics of fine beer, no music and wholesome home fayre. This he provided in traditional setting without one-armed bandits (take them out please) but definitely with log fires. His success is legendary.

Ian, like me, was originally from Manchester. Before coming to the Fylde he ran two city pubs deserving that over-used adjective “iconic”. They were the Concert Inn and Tommy Ducks. Both, sadly, are long gone.

Let’s not desert the coast’s quaintest inn - but keep its homely fires burning.

☻Roy’s books, including a history of the Saddle (available at the pub, where he has done readings), are in paperback or on Kindle. There are signed copies at Plackitt & Booth, Lytham. Visit royedmonds-blackpool.com for full details.