Wednesday, 21 May 2008

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.

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