A Seasoned Look at Life - March 7, 2013

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IT’S a sign of the times that a ‘For Sale’ board is outside Blackpool’s once most popular pub.

In the 60s and 70s the Boar’s Head, in Preston Old Road, was waiter-service and packed. Its Fylde Room was the ‘in place’ for locals. At one time, even resort soccer legends had been regulars. Stan Mortensen would go in straight from playing at Bloomfield Road, one old boy told me.

“His hair were still wet from the shower. In fact, Morty often had a pint even before the match.”

But by the time I took up residence nearby, it was Great Marton’s other historic pub – The Saddle Inn – that was more popular. But its landlord Jim Dyson was renowned for barring at the slightest and oddest offence.

“One chap was banned for tickling up coals in ‘Commons’,” recalled a Saddle veteran. “Jim told him, ‘I’m t’only one allowed to poke yon fires!”

Another hearty regular was barred for “laughing too loud”.

Perhaps the oddest case, though, was an educated chap exiled for speaking French. He was a school languages master who got carried away celebrating end of term.

Jim was having no such swaggering and the eloquent speaker was told ‘au revoir’. (The happily retired teacher returned after Jim passed on – but has only been heard ordering respectfully, in English.)

My favourite story, however, was about an unfortunate fellow banned for stuttering. “Could I have a p-p-p,” the chap began but struggled to finish.

“A pint of Bass?” Jim demanded.

“No,” the man replied, then continued, “a p-p-p . . .”

“Pint of Special Bitter?”

Another shake of the head then, “A p-p-p . . .”

“Mild?” – No – “Guinness?” – No – and so on until, at last, Jim had had enough.

“Get out, you’re barred!” He declared, adding, “For wasting staff time.”

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