I am becoming a bit disturbed about how many pubs are being forced out of business in my local area. Recently, ALL four pubs which once served the Boldon Lane area of South Shields have closed down.
One has already been demolished and is being replaced by residential units. The other three are pictured here, one having been converted to a Fast Food Takeaway and the other two being up for grabs at any price. All boarded up and silent, they make a pathetic sight.
Now some would say good riddance, the pubs were seedy and served a run-down area of the town. But variety is the spice of life, say I, and I used to occasionally enjoy going back to my disreputable roots and visiting again the haunts of my youth when I was an under-age drinker.
It's very sad for me to see them gone, like a part of my life disappearing forever.
Now I know that there have been tremendous pressures on the pub trade in recent years which have led to a steady shrinkage in the business. But it can hardly be a coincidence that the rate of pub closures has accelerated since the no-smoking ban came into force.
At the time, I was greatly in favour of the legislation. It was marvellous to come home after a night out and to be able to actually hang up your clothes in the wardrobe rather than the back garden, but now I'm not so sure.
I'm beginning to wonder which is better - no smoking or no pubs?