Saturday, 31 May 2008

Friday Night

In a comment on a previous article of mine (“A harsh solution”, 27th May), ycc-dubbel said "why not cage everyone who visits horrific town centre bars on a Friday night?"

Well I wouldn’t know, as it’s not my habit to go down the town centre on a Friday night nowadays. Last time I did so, some years ago, I witnessed a scene like something out of the movie “Gangs of New York”. People were urinating in public and aggressive-looking roving gangs were hurling greetings and abuse at each other in the foulest of language at the tops of their voices.
Meanwhile, the “police” (actually, they looked like “specials”) were sitting in their van, which was parked up on the pedestrianised crossroads, no doubt adopting a “softly, softly” approach.
Suddenly a big drunken lad came out of a pub and hurled a bottle high in the air for the pleasure of seeing it shatter on the pavement. Leaping to avoid the shards of glass which exploded in all directions, I banged, red-faced and angry, on the side of the police van.

They rolled the window down and I shouted “aren’t you going to do something?”.
“Yes” one replied “we’ll arrest YOU if you don’t clear off.”
Is this unique to my town or are there similar scenes in other parts of Britain?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Boon of the 'Spoon (part three)

Further to the ongoing debate about the merits of Wetherspoons, I have to say that there are several real-ale pubs in South Shields, but my local Wetherspoons, The William Wouldhave, consistently serves the best beer. Besides their standard brews, Marston's Pedigree Bitter and Greene King's Abbot Ale and IPA which are always available, the pub normally has at least two "guest ales" on tap.

My wife Marion and I make a habit of trying them all, buying two pints and swapping them between us, sharing "tasting notes" and opinions. Yesterday the guest ales, pictured right, were Marston's Merrie Monk and Anker Bruin, a Belgian brew from the Anker Brewery, Mechelen. At first, we agreed that we preferred the rich, dark, sweetish Belgian brew, which seemed a lot tastier than the Merrie Monk. But, as we went on drinking, the sharp, refreshing, more subtle taste of the Merrie Monk began to get through to us and won our vote for a second pint. Marion usually drops out at this point and opts for a light meal, such as the baked potato with crayfish and Marie Rose dressing shown in the photo below, occasionally sipping from my beer as the mood takes her.

Among our past favourites during such tasting sessions are Titanic Brewery's Lifeboat, a fruity, malty darkish beer which is nonetheless quite dry, enabling the drinker to sink quite a few pints. Devon's Butcombe Gold is another beer that we really appreciated. As its name suggests, this is a blonde beer, light and bittersweet, being made from English malt and fuggles hops.

The products of local brewers such as Big Lamp's Prince Bishop and the Allendale Brewing Company's Tar Barrel Stout have also won our approval in the past. This latter brew, with its rich dark texture and creamy head, impressed me so much that I have promised myself (and you) to get up to Allendale Town to sample more of the micro-brewery's products. If I remember rightly, there are four good pubs in the little Northumberland town and The Golden Lion bids fair to be called the Brewery's "tap".

All this talk of beer is making me thirsty and they'll be open soon so, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see what the Wouldhave has on offer today.

The Boon of the 'Spoon (part two)

Our local Wetherspoons is the pub I most frequently visit in the town. It is named after William Wouldhave who, together with boatbuilder Henry Greathead, designed and built the first purpose-built lifeboat in the early 19th century. The boat subsequently saved over a thousand lives and there is a monument to the famous pair down by the coast in South Shields.
As with all Wetherspoons outlets I have visited, the interior of the pub is disappointingly modern, but very comfortable. As you know, I prefer traditional, quaint, old-fashioned pubs but you can't have everything and an effort is made to add local colour with paintings and pictures of local scenes and personalities.

In the cockpit of the bar there are leather sofas on which customers can sprawl, though these are very difficult to sit on whilst eating. A raised area at the end of the bar, supplied with dining tables, serves as a sort of restaurant and the menu is reasonably priced, good food at fair prices. A mezzanine floor serves as a family room and no children are allowed in any other area. This rule is firmly but politely enforced, thank heavens.

The manager, who buzzes about busily whenever he is on duty, is a rather stern-looking no nonsense sort of chap and his choice of staff cannot be faulted. You will find no bimbos who cannot do the job in the Wouldhave. All the girls, like shift manager Kelly and Sam (the taller of the two pictured here) are very pleasant and efficient and they keep up a light bantering relationship with regulars which generates an excellent atmosphere in which to relax and enjoy a drink or a meal.

Whoever does the cellaring must be congratulated on the quality of the beer. I don't think I've ever had a bad pint at the Wouldhave, though of course I have tried brews which didn't suit my palate. There are always at least two guest ales on tap at any time and I make a point of trying them all, as I will relate tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

A harsh solution?

The members of the Brigham & Cowans Club in my hometown of South Shields have found an effective solution to the menace of smokers.

They imprison them.

As soon as they arrive at the Club, they are rounded up and herded into a special jail which has been purpose-built on the side of the building. Here they are kept until closing time, when they are released to inflict themselves again upon the world.

Personally, I find this solution to be a little harsh. After all, I was a smoker myself once, when I was young and foolish.

Monday, 26 May 2008

The Old Club, Rookhope (part three)

In previous articles, I have recounted how I came to buy The Old Club at Rookhope in Weardale, a former licensed premises still graced with a bar and many of the features of its former usage. The building seems to have dated back to the 18th century, although legal papers earlier than 1840 were missing. These referred to earlier documents now lost, however.

The walls were at least three feet thick and were of stone, infilled with rubble and the original building had been a "four-square" Dales house, two rooms upstairs and two down. During the Club days, however, the partition walls had been removed to make a large bar downstairs and a "lounge" upstairs.

The tremendous advantage of this modification was that there was a fireplace at either end of each of the rooms and the place could be made as warm as toast by lighting more than one of the fires! Elderly people like my parents and my wife's mother loved the comfortable nostalgia of sitting in front of a roaring fire, toasting-fork in hand.

I used to gather driftwood from our local beach (we live near the sea) and saw it up, so that we always arrived with the car boot full of logs for the fires. Sometimes I would invite large numbers of people to the house and a company would form around each fireplace, so that there was a choice of conversations. If you didn't fancy the craic at one fireplace, you could always move to another! Once or twice I managed to get locally famous folkies to come and rough it for the weekend and we would have a good old sing-round. In winter it was great to be warm and cosy in that old house while the snow lay thickly outside!

I spent many hours sanding down and varnishing the oak beams in the ceiling and holystoning the floorboards until they were as white and shining as a ship's deck. Womenfolk in high-heeled shoes were definitely not welcome.

The house was a marvellous base for walkers too, and there are many interesting industrial remains in the hills around the village. A branch of George Stevenson's pioneering Stockton & Darlington Railway terminated at an old engine house at the top of the fell behind our house and the ruins were still there for all to see. Mileposts inscribed "S&D" marked out the route, like lonely testaments, stark against the brooding sky.
Just to be there conjured up a myriad images of those bygone times.

Due to changes in the rating assessments (my bills quadrupled overnight!), the house finally became too expensive to run and I had to sell it. A guy from Luton bought it and, the last time I passed there, I saw that he had cast the bar and its fitments out onto the veranda and demolished the stable to make a hard standage for his car.

It broke my heart to see it and I never want to go there again

Lifelong Pub Run: Newcastle Brown Ale on Tap?

Take a look at this article by SheyMouse. Is it a dream?

Lifelong Pub Run: Newcastle Brown Ale on Tap?

Cragside & The Newcastle Hotel

Yesterday I went up to Cragside in Northumberland, the former country residence of Sir William Armstrong, the Victorian arms manufacturer. My daughter-in-law, Shao Xin Ying, is a film-maker and hopes to make a documentary about him, so my wife and I took her there to take some outdoor shots in the beautiful landscaped grounds. The house is a fantastic hotch-potch of different styles, as bits were added willy-nilly as the years went by, but it is certainly fascinating and well worth a visit.

In this house Armstrong entertained Edward, the Prince of Wales, and many foreign diplomats to whom he hoped to sell arms. He actually supplied both sides in the American Civil War and was a major supplier to the rising Japanese Empire, very much enabling them to become a modern military power.

On the other hand, he founded a college at Newcastle University, gave his town house and grounds to the people as a park and restored Bamburgh Castle, among other philantrhropic deeds. As the historians say, we must judge people by the standards of their times.

We ate our pic-nic by one of the artificial lakes Armstrong had created and wandered among the bright rhododendrons, many of which were just coming into flower. It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for our subsequent visit to the Newcastle Hotel in nearby Rothbury.

There was a fair range of real-ales on offer, but none were at their best. The Black Sheep Bitter was the worst I have tasted for a long time, positively sour. The Deuchar's I.P.A was warm, weak and innocuous. The best brew they served was Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin, which was clear and tasty, with a heavy chocolate flavour.

Glancing around, I noticed that the bar had been "decorated" with the most obviously fake ceiling beams I have ever seen in my life - they looked like plastic! We were finally driven out when the bar staff turned the music up to full volume and everyone in the bar began shouting over the din. This was NOT an experience to be repeated!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

The Black Bull, Reeth

There are three good pubs in Reeth, but the Black Bull looked the most cosy on the day I visited recently, so in I went. The pub is the oldest in Reeth and the significance of the upside-down sign above the bar door is that, when landlord Bob Sykes removed the rendering on the front of the pub to expose the original 250-year-old stonework, the National Park authorities objected, threatening legal action. So Bob restored the rendering and whitewashed it, but locals objected so strongly to the high-handed attitude of the authorities that they turned the sign upside-down in protest. And so it has remained ever since, a visible mark of rebellion against outside interference!

Yorkshire people are like that.

Inside, the pub is very traditional in terms of decoration but all the partition walls have been removed so that one bar can serve all areas. I can see the economic advantages of this in terms of staffing, but those of you who have read my past blogs will know that it is not a practice I like or approve of. I love old-fashioned pubs with lots of separate rooms and booths and little nooks and crannies where a discrete company can maintain the privacy of their own conversation. The Eagle and Child in Oxford, where Tolkien and his cronies used to meet, is an example of such a haven.

The beers on offer were typical of the area and the Theakson's brews were the best on the day. On tap were Old Peculier with its dark fulsome strength, the very tasty, malty Best Bitter and a special brew for the pub, Black Bull Bitter. On this occasion, they pushed Black Sheep Bitter and Riggwelter into the shade, I felt.

The jewel in the crown for the Black Bull, however, was their barman, "Spider". A perfect, old-fashioned barman, industrious, rapid and courteous, the sort of chap I thought had died out in this country. He was totally on top of the job in every respect, enforcing the bar rules with unfailing authority, shouting out "shut the door, please" if any unthinkingly selfish fellow blundered in and left a howling gale to blow through the premises. Old dogs who lay prone were left alone, but frisky ones would attract a cry of "Get that dog on a lead, please!" It was a joy to watch him work, but I couldn't get a decent photo of him: he was always moving too fast!

When I mentioned the eccentric lady who ran the bar at the Red Lion, Langthwaite, he grunted "Aye, she makes her own rules, that one."

So does he, I thought, but they're good ones!

The Old Club, Rookhope (part two)

When I bought The Old Club in 1983, it cost me £6,300, a sum which seems ridiculously low by modern standards. But the only other interest had been from the guy who lived next door, who wanted to knock the place down and sell the stone, adding the cleared site to his garden!

It rapidly became obvious to me why there had been so little interest. A burn descended steeply into a drain at the back of the house (see pic) and the debris swept down from the fell often blocked the drain and flooded the area. Once we arrived at the house to find all the carpets floating in brown peaty water! Not a good start to a holiday. Though I dug out the drain and extended it as much as I could, the problem was insoluble without major expenditure. The back of the house, which was set into the hillside, was always damp as a consquence.

But it would have been a crime to demolish such an historic building. Besides its latest usage as the village club, the house had once been a Blacksmith's dwelling and the detached building to the right still had the relics of the blacksmith's furnace. On the left-hand side was a stable, which had also once been used by the whole village as a slaughterhouse for their livestock. In the days of the Club, its latest use had been as the Gent's urinal and this was a source of great amusement to my solicitor, Mr Ian Winskell, when he handled the sale. I can still hear his chuckling voice "I've never had a client who purchased a URINAL, Mr Bell". He's long dead now, poor soul.

Inside, the bar was still in good order and, with a bit of spit and polish and a coat or two of varnish, I soon had it in excellent condition. This was to be our kitchen area and, with high bar stools, it was possible also to use it as a breakfast bar. We got the lights on the mirrors and fixtures working and the "kitchen" became a very pleasant place to be in. One disadvantage of retaining the bar, however, was that more than once we had strangers bursting in and bellying up to the bar, ordering a drink. I remember one couple who seemed very reluctant to believe that we no longer had a license to sell alcohol and we more or less had to push them out the door!

The Old Club had been well-beloved in the past and was to see some good days yet, as you shall hear.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Dr Johnson

Further reading of Old and New London reveals that Dr Johnson actually "toiled for Cave, the editor of The Gentleman's Magazine" in a room above the old Jerusalem Tavern at St John's Gate.

Like the ladies of the night who recently lived above the modern Jerusalem Tavern (see Stonch's Beer Blog, 8/8/2007), no doubt he complained about the noise too!

The Jerusalem Tavern

I see that reprobate son of mine (see Stonch's Beer Blog) has been ratting on again about his favourite drinking den, The Jerusalem Tavern. Buck up, boy, there's more to life than getting bladdered and swearing at pigeons!

Actually, The Jerusalem Tavern's present decor, though it may date back only to the 1990s, is a very clever reproduction of what it must have been in Dr Johnson's day, though I couldn't imagine that grim old fart going there often. Hanging around coffee shops and forcing his views on other people was more in his line than wassailing with the lads. In fact there was a Jerusalem Coffee House in Exchange Alley in Dr Johnson's day, but it was swept away by fire in 1748.

The original Jerusalem Tavern was adjacent to St John's Gate in Clerkenwell, that eminent structure which still stands today. The tavern was "on the east basement" of the gate where "a south side-entrance was ruthlessly cut through the angle of the projecting gate-tower". The quotation is from volume two of Old and New London, a rare set of magazines I bought at auction, dating from about 1880. I believe that the tavern can be seen in the engraving shown here, which dates from 1860.

The keeper of the tavern at that time, Mr Foster, "a great lover of ancient architecture", displayed a large oil-painting in his premises, representing the Knights of St John starting out for a joust. Perhaps the proprietor of the present Jerusalem Tavern should commission a modern replacement!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Boon of the "Spoon"

I can never understand why so many real-ale drinkers disparage Wetherspoons. True, they are a "chain" pub (a great sin in many people's eyes), but the company is based on the soundest of principles: i.e to give good value in an old-fashioned conversation-friendly atmosphere.

My local "Spoon" at South Shields, The William Wouldhave, always has at least four real ales on tap and there is no "music", piped or otherwise, to drown out conversation. I notice that, recently, T.V screens have crept in, but the sound is turned off. Having emerged hoarse from shouting over the din which passes for music in some bars, I find it a great boon to be able to hold a peaceful conversation with friends while I enjoy excellent beer in a clean and friendly environment.

In a future article, I intend to write a full, illustrated, appreciation of the Wouldhave. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Old Club (part one)

When I was passing through Rookhope Vale in the early 1980s, I camped for a night up on the Fell above the village at Wright’s Groove. The groove had been made by the Old Man (a term used by miners to describe those who mined the hills in centuries gone by), probably as a "hush".
Lead had once been so plentiful in that area of the Pennines that it was only necessary to scrape away the topsoil on the hills to reveal the rich veins which lay close to the surface. An easy way to do this was to select and enlarge a V-shaped groove above the spot where the vein was suspected to be, dam it up and wait for the Pennine rains to fill the groove. When the groove was full, the dam was knocked out and the water would rush down the hill, taking the topsoil with it, revealing the bare rock and lead ore. This was called "hushing", and Wright’s Groove was a visible relic of the process.

The smell of the woodsmoke from the village and the prospect of a pint or two in the Rookhope Inn attracted me down that night and, as I passed through the village, I noticed a grand four-square stone-built house with outbuildings for sale. It was right in the centre of the village and a few questions in the bar-room of the Inn told me all I wanted to know.
It had lately been the village club but, a fine new purpose-built premises having been built, the Old Club had been put up for sale at a very modest price. To cut a long story short and despite much advice to the contrary from the locals ("Ah wouldn’t give tha tuppence for it"), I bought the place. After all, it had to be better than a tent!
As a young family, we had some wonderful times in that old house, but I had much hard work and many problems to resolve too, as I will relate on another day.

They must breed 'em that way....

"She was a well-known hostess who could be warmly hospitable or bluntly outspoken: ready, according to her whim, to gossip or tell one plainly that it was time to be moving on...".

No, this is NOT a description of the eccentric landlady I encountered at Langthwaite! The lady in question is Susan Peacock, one-time licensee of the Tan Hill Inn, and the quotation is from that classic book "The Pennine Way" by Tom Stephenson, first published in 1969, not many years after the long-distance footpath was opened.

They must breed 'em that way in Yorkshire!

Susan presided over the famous remote hostelry from 1902 until her death in 1937 and a memorial to her has been crudely carved into the rocky crag behind the Inn by some grateful wanderer who appreciated her plain-speaking Yorkshire wit.

On the subject of pub landlords and landladies, a correspondent tells me that The Beamish Mary was for many years known as a "filthy hole" which sold "sour beer".

If that is the case, all I can say is that the present landlady, Sally Crowther, has turned the place around. It goes to show that a pub, ANY pub, is only as good as the manager allows it to be.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Victor Sylvester's

The behaviour of the pub landlady described in my last article reminded me of another eccentric publican I met over 20 years ago. This chap ran the Cowshill Inn, at the head of Weardale. He objected so strongly to anyone entering his bar wearing wet clothing, muddy boots or even working apparel, that his establishment became known as "Victor Sylvester's" among locals! I wonder if anyone else remembers him?

Monday, 19 May 2008


After our recent visit to The Tan Hill Inn (see Stonch blog), we decided to venture into unknown territory and go home via Arkengarthdale. With my loving wife Marion at the wheel (drunk or sober, I do not drive) we were soon off the bare misty tops as the road dropped down into a verdant valley. Reaching Langthwaite, formerly known as "Arkentown", we came across a "Waterloo" church, one of many which had been built as a form of thanksgiving at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. These particular churches, having been recently built, escaped the attentions of the Victorian "restorers", those pious vandals who set out to "Gothicise" every church in the land, ruining many beautiful buildings in the process. Inside the church, the neo-classical structure was untouched, a perfect example of the genre.
The village itself seemed untouched too, a time-capsule of old Yorkshire, like something out of a film set or a Hovis advert. Here there were steep winding streets, mossy dry-stone walls, quaint little cottages and idiosyncratic nooks and crannies. The village pub, the Red Lion, was built into one such little corner and we bundled in to share their fire and sample the beer.
The pub is run by an eccentric middle-aged lady who opens and closes the bar as she pleases. She served us only one drink, an excellent pint of Black Sheep Bitter, before announcing that she was closing because she "needed a break". I later found that she is well-known for such behaviour, it was nothing we had said or done.
During the half-hour we spent in her cosy little bar, we fell into conversation with a holidaying couple from Bala in Wales and I happened to mention that I had once known some Romanies who frequented that area. But that gave the landlady the opportunity to pour out her feelings of scorn and resentment of such "criminals". I’m afraid she shares the opinion of most country people, who forget how vital the Romanies once were to the rural economy before we ruined our agriculture by joining the (French-dominated) E.E.C. Even as late as the 1960s, the seasonal labour of the Romanies was so essential to our farmers that they would often go in search of them, to "bring them in" if they were late arriving at harvest-time.
But now, like coalminers and steelworkers, all this has been forgotten and they are consigned to the rubbish-heap of history.

Friday, 16 May 2008

A Visit to No Place (part two)

Since I left you at the door of the Beamish Mary with your tongue hanging out, I had better get straight down to describing the beer.

There were six real ales on sale that day, and another settling. On tap were Hill Island Brewery's Merry Month, Theakson's Old Peculier, Hadrian & Border Brewery's Gladiator Bitter and Tyneside Blonde, and Big Lamp Brewery's Lamp Light and BSB, a brew made solely for the Beamish Mary.

All were very palatable, but Tyneside Blonde definitely took the first prize - sharp and refreshing, a lovely light hoppy beer!

Temporary manager Sally Crowther tells me that she does all the cellaring herself, and an excellent job she makes of it, I can tell you!

The layout of the pub itself is truly to my taste. As with most modern licensed premises, the Beamish Mary serves food, but the dining area is completely separate from the bar, being a part of the L-shaped lounge, so that decent men can enjoy a drink without having plates of food passed over their heads.

If you do wish to eat between drinks, by the way, the menu offers good solid trencherman fare such as black pudding, leek and cheese hotpot and other such rib-sticking Northern delicacies.

Even the games area is separate, so that there is no risk of being poked with a pool stick while you are seriously bending the elbow. Outside, there is a beautiful tiered garden, so that the poor outcast smokers can enjoy their ale amidst birdsong and barking coughs.

The pub hosts live regular music, including a fortnightly folk club, but this is held in a separate room too, so you can take it or leave it as you please. Bearing in mind what sometimes passes for music nowadays, this has to be a great advantage!

As a matter of fact, there is nothing negative I can say about Beamish Mary, she is a true temple to the real-ale tippler and long may she flourish, say I!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

A Visit to No Place

No Place is a former mining community near to Beamish, Co. Durham, and I went there to visit the famous Beamish Mary pub, well-beloved of real ale drinkers in the North East.
In order to work up a thirst, I walked the mile or two from Chester-le-Street along the disused mineral railway track which once served the Consett Iron and Steel Works. Along this track there are some fascinating sculptures, made entirely from scrap metal, such as the Mechanical Cows, pictured here. Just before reaching the cows, there is a path on the right of the line, leading up to the road. Walk left to the roundabout and follow the sign “No Place”. The Beamish Mary is soon sighted at the first curve of the road.
The pub is over a century old and, until 1987, was called The Red Robin Inn, a name which many of the locals still insist on using. The photo shows the Inn as it was in about 1900, when it was in the charge of the Cranston family. Money was so tight in those days that the licensee had to go down the pit to supplement their income, where he was killed in an accident below ground.
Beamish Mary was actually the name of the nearby pit, which closed in 1963. Apparently the pit was itself named after the Victorian mine-owner’s daughter. Not surprisingly, there are many “pitmatic” momentos to be enjoyed and reminisced over inside the pub.
When I arrived, I was really looking forward to the real ales which the pub serves and for which they are justifiably famous. They always have at least FIVE on sale at any particular time, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about them.

Walking to Heavenfield

Heavenfield lies to the north of Hexham, just beyond the line of the Roman Wall. It was here, in the year AD 634, that a little-known but momentous battle was fought, a battle which determined the racial destiny of the north of England, for it was at Heavenfield that the Celtic people lost their last hope of reconquering their lands from the Anglian invaders. At Heavenfield Cadwallon, the last Bretwalda (High King) of Celtic Britain met his end, and the hopes of his people died with him.

On a scorching day in early June, 1993, I decided to go to Heavenfield, to walk over the battleground and attempt to understand the events which had happened there all those many centuries ago.

My route took me through St John Lee, where I visited the beautiful, historic church, then through an overgrown bridleway with enough nettles to attract a Sunday School picnic, before I arrived at Acomb, a village blessed with three fine pubs. Never a man to spurn hospitality, I visited one before pressing on.

Three miles of idyllic country walking later, I saw Heavenfield over the yellow gorse which lined the lanes. A church has stood on the spot since the battle, and a cross has been erected by the local history society. I had the whole place to myself and was able to visualise the whole battle. Before leaving, however, I was saddened to see that the collection box in the church had been prised from the wall and robbed.

Back on the road, my spirits were raised by a visit to the "Fox and Hounds", a real-ale pub which stood on the crest of Stagshaw Hill. It was here that the famous horse-fair was once held, mentioned in Sir Walter Scott's "Guy Mannering". Sadly, the pub, like the horse-fair, is no more. It fell into the hands of the bank and was finally closed - another victim of "progress".

When I finally staggered into Corbridge, after many adventures with bullocks, closed "rights of way" and anti-hunt saboteurs, I was tired but happy. I really felt that I understood the battle, and, anyway, I had witnessed some marvellous scenery in the attempt!

The Battlefield
(This article is an extract from my 20 page, lavishly-illustrated A5-sized booklet "Walking to Heavenfield", available at £2, inc P&P, from the author at the email address given in the left-hand column above. The booklet describes all my adventures that day and gives a full account of the historic battle)