Among the most uniquely-named pubs in Britain is a pub in Prudhoe, the Dr Syntax. The pub is one of S&N's chain pubs and, as such, is no friend to the real ale fraternity.
Attracted by the unusual name and being parched one sunny afternoon, I wandered in there recently to see what they had to offer. As far as John Smith's goes, I suppose it was a decent enough pint (any port in a storm, as we old sailors say) and the food was basic but very cheap. It seemed a good enough place for the non-discerning drinker, thought I, and I suppose there have to be such places for Saturday night revellers.
Oh yes, Dr Syntax, who was he?
Well, he was a comic character invented by the eighteenth century poet William Combe (1741-1823) who wrote a trilogy of poetical epics about his hero - "Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque", "In Search of Consolation" and "In Search of a Wife".
Combe, along with his hero, has disappeared into the realms of obscurity but copies of his books are still much sought-after because of the brilliant illustrations, which were the work of the famous cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson.
And, of course, he lives on in the name of Prudhoe's pub!