The Local Pub.

roversreturnI can’t believe its another storm day , the schools are closed again! Another day of the snow blower and shovel, its enough to drive one to drink. Speaking of drink made me think back to my days stationed in Portsmouth and the locals that I liked to frequent.  The pubs were much like the original Rovers Return, but not much like the way its portrayed on the popular Coronation Street show these days. In the 1960’s pubs were plain with no fancy drinks or cocktails. You ordered a pint of Mild or a pint of Bitter, the more classy drinkers might order a Lager or Brown Ale. Ladies rarely entered the pubs unless there was a snug, a small room where the ladies could gather to have a quiet drink. Maybe a cheap glass of Port, or a Lager and lime.The air was always thick with smoke,Players Please or the cheaper Woodbine smokes. The men stood at the bar and drank their pints, smoked and talked. There was usually the odd table and a few chairs but they were generally reserved for the old pensioner who liked to sit close to the fire place slowly sipping a pint. On really cold days he would stick the poker in the fire, when the tip was red hot he’d dip it in his pint to warm the beer.  He usually nursed his pint hoping some one would offer to refill his glass. Often the pensioner had his old dog with him, the dog lay quietly under the table looking out for a treat or maybe a saucer of beer. Most pubs had a piano and on the weekends they often had a person hired to play it. I don’t think they were actually paid ,more likely got a few free pints. Weekends were a time of boisterous sing songs such as “Knees up Mother Brown” etc etc. I see the Rovers today and customers ordering a red or white wine!!! Egads!!! Pubs didn’t sell wine, that was for the upper class.The only risk of injury in these old pubs might have been getting speared by a dart. Darts were always the sport of choice, and most players challenged for a pint for the winner. One needed to be careful because just like a poker shark  there was always a dart shark who planned to drink free all night. Many a poor sap ended up paying the price. The advantage of being a local was knowing who the dart sharks were.  I could have had a great night out for a couple of shillings even win the odd game of darts. Alas today, one would need a thick wad of bills and probably have to sit next to a person eating Betty’s Hot Pot. The police didn’t have to stake out pubs to catch drunken drivers. Most of us walked, a few came by bicycle, none by car!!!who could afford a car????  How the world has changed. Time to go, the snow is calling me!!!!

God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Belfast Social History, family, vehicles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Local Pub.

  1. Tony Miles says:

    What good memories, we had six pubs in our village, varying from sawdust on the floor to the more posher ones with a bit of carpet. Not a television in sight. In the US I am forever amazed at what is ordered by the strapping 6′ 2″ 250lb hunter. a whiskey glass of something with a straw to drink it through. BE A MAN MY SON. Drink a pint of Newcastle Brown, Double Diamond, or sommat. Wuzzies the lot of them.

  2. irishroverpei says:

    Be A Man My Son??? not sure that was what Kipling had in mind when he wrote the poem IF. but hey a Brown Ale is good!!!

  3. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    I am assuming that would be a Newcastle Brown Ale or if it was in Pompey a Brickwoods. Do you remember the Shamrock Pub, just out side the gate on the street right opposite the RSHC . The landlord Derek Annals was married to an Irish Girl, they moved to the Blue Anchor opposite the HMS Victory when they closed the Old House. Was my local when I was in RGP as the skippers writer. Many a Happy Hour.

  4. irishroverpei says:

    Newcastle Brown Ale was the best! I don’t recall the pubs you named although its likely I was in them at one time or another. When I was on Amphion (in Refit) I lived ashore in Fratton so most of my locals were in that area. The Fitzroy a little pub on Harley St, and around the block the Navy Arms. I remember a pub in downtown Pompey, the landlord was a retired submarine cox’swain what amazed me was the big and heavy brass and wood name plate that would have hung on the side of the conning tower. It was hanging over the bar amid hundreds of cap tallies. How it was ever smuggled out the dockyard gate is anyone’s guess. The good old days!!!!!

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