I mentioned to the Church Mice group that I’d been reading a wonderfully nostalgic book documenting the author’s fifty-year relationship with the pub round the corner from his home in Beeston, Notts.
Reading it reminded me of pubs in my youth and some of the characters who drank there: Billy the triathlete, the work-shy ‘Spen’ (who painted our living room for us once, including – inadvertently – floor and gas fire!) and the old guy in the corner with his bag of ‘knock off’ tat. Then there was the half-empty ‘hush’ of a pub just opened on a Saturday lunchtime and the ever-present smell of beer which pubs no longer seem to have.
The author – the poet, John Lucas (who was a tutor of mine back in the day) – talks about Saturday ‘oyster clubs’ traditional in the pub in Edwardian times, made possible by branch line trains bringing the morning’s catch from Grimsby and brought to an end when Beeching closed those lines in the 60s.
Members of the group went on to write their own ‘pub memories’ but the snippet about the oyster club prompted a particular memory from Train David, who has loved steam trains since his youth. You can read the piece he wrote about it here.
John Lucas’s book is well worth a read – you can read a review of it on Facebook by Nottingham’s Fives Leaves Bookshop here.