Greetings from Great Marton!
My last missive, about dykes and development on the Moss, struck a chord and raised a few horny digs from old Mossags – or Mossites, as one insisted.
I told him it was my custom to leave in a few deliberate mistakes, to keep mithering folk like himself occupied.
“Mithering,” said another chap, “there’s a fine, old, Lancashire word.”
We were in the Saddle Inn, also in Great Marton.
“Well, I’m no expert on local slang,” I admitted, searching for a quiet corner, “my name’s not Benson.” – Former columnist Jack, by the way, is a pal and enjoying semi-retirement in Rural Fylde.
Still, as I moved off to read my Gazette, everyone standing at the historic bar agreed it was important to preserve traditions and relics from the past.
Glancing over my paper, it struck me as little wonder our once famous British pubs are disappearing. The diverse companies now running them only seem interested in profit.
Take the Saddle itself, Blackpool’s oldest inn, yet still a popular and enjoyable drinking hole.
“It’s a goldmine.” A former landlord informed me, while pulling a pint of Draught Bass.
That was the reason, apparently, there would never be an old-fashioned tenant installed, with a decent share of profits and – therefore – personal interest in customers’ well-being.
Also the cosy, old inn would be unlikely to be sold off as a ‘free house’. Its patrons just drank too appreciatively and even added the icing by tucking into good-value meals.
So, why was the carpet I was staring at so old and worn you wouldn’t let your dog lie on it? If, that is, dogs were ever allowed back in again. Come to think of it why, in winter, were the old coal fires no longer flickering for our comfort and drawing in still more passing custom?
I am no businessman but it seems to me that, as in so many of our coast’s now rundown pubs and clubs, investors seem to be taking far more out than they are putting back in.
The bar staff are still hard working and cheerful.
At the Saddle, the landlord is a bright and likeable fellow. The historic setting and surroundings of our great resort are all there – the places just need properly maintaining.
God forgive us, we patrons are loyal enough.
Blackpool’s visitors are benefiting from restructuring and investment; now let’s look to the locals’ comforts too. Cheers.
n Novels and other books by Roy – many set on the Fylde but others in even more exciting places – are available in bookstores or online. See his regularly updated website royedmonds-blackpool.com for full details and special offers.