Musings From The Padded Cell

The Idle Draper – Tailored To Fit.

“Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.”
Charles Bukowski

The Idle Draper

Mindful of avoiding staying in on a Saturday night to clean my hob, I took a leisurely stroll into my increasingly cosmopolitan village. Off I went to sample the latest addition to the area’s drinking holes, a micropub called The Idle Draper.

The micropub is a relatively new concept in the UK. According to the Micropub Association website there are now almost 300 although this may not be entirely accurate as The Idle Draper is not listed for one.

The growth of micropubs is a welcome fightback against the wanton destruction of the pub trade by big business, weak Government and vulture capital.

Whilst the big pub operating companies will not be shaking in their boots, it is a signal that consumers are demanding more choice. We have simply got sick of being ripped off to repay reckless corporate debt.

The Idle Draper scores on several points and small is good. It has brought back to life an empty building in the village, honouring the previous owner in so doing. This is a very nice touch.

Thankfully there is nothing pretentious about the place but it is comfortable and has a cosy atmosphere. There are novel things going on called conversations.

I understand there are plans to add a gin bar too so good to see such ambition. The Idle Lord wishes the Idle Draper a long life.

Our Patron.

Meanwhile, back up the hill there is also sanctuary for young and old especially every Sunday night. As another week with all its challenges looms in this uncertain world, The Scruffy opens her bosom.

Quiz night has enough of human life to satisfy Sir David Attenborough; this is Planet Earth.

A changing of the guard takes place around eight as the early afternoon drunks make their doddery ways home, replaced by our regular quartet and who knows who else to be lured through the door.

The Scruffy’s Bet

We choose our seats carefully under the suspicious eyes of our Bet Lynch lookalike barmaid. Hoping that she can actually be bothered to serve us, eventually we are granted most of what we wish for.

In a trade that is shrinking with every passing year, The Scruffy breaks the mould, a testimony to the old mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t twat about with it.”

Of course we’ve had the odd refurbishment but, in truth, hardly any of the punters noticed. A change of wallpaper is totally insignificant but God forbid anyone tampers with the beer.

An hour passes and the place is almost benign but then a steady stream of the good, the bad and the downright ugly pour through the door.

For a brief second or two the lights appear to go out but its only the giant Simmy filling the doorway. Simmy is a driving instructor but he must teach his clients in a Humvee.

His dad trails in behind him, bemoaning yet more disasters of the horse racing variety, poverty and bad luck equal bedfellows.

The jostling for seats begins in earnest as our singular Sunday Times reader decides to opt for the peace and quiet of the wife and kids. His treat of an hour of relative calm is over for another week, the agreed beer quota consumed, the paper barely opened.

Recently The Scruffy has begun to attract a younger gathering, sharp minds to threaten the regulars grip on the mountainous cash prizes on offer.

There is a rare hushed silence as Bet slips behind the microphone with the grace of Strictly’s Tess Daly and purrs through the solitary ex-army speaker cranked up to rise above the noise.

“Oi! Will you lot shurrup! Tonight’s jackpot – don’t stain your Tenas – is…wait for it (hushed silence)…£40!!!”

The place erupts with “oohs” and “aahs” as pencils are sharpened, heads go down in unison and suspicious arms cover coveted answer sheets.

Latecomers sneer at youngsters occupying “their” seats, forced to seek alternatives enquiring in their inimitable charmless tones.

“That seat taken?” says one wearing a jacket the local charity shop would burn in an instant. We look at him with secret and unsympathetic sentiments hoping he will not actually sit next to us and spread his one foot in the grave cheer.

Like royalty the fishermen stroll in, invariably with the quiz now in full flow, halted only by the drunken old lass in the corner whose hearing is impeded by a gallon of Carling and twenty Capstan by now.

With the arrogance of Bemoaners, they demand a judicial review – from Bet – to halt proceedings until seats are secured and now the quiz really is on.

Thirty questions to test Bamber Gascoigne’s finest commence with the halfway mark punctuated by a mix of sandwiches and pasties devoured as if this were the last supper.

The queue snakes around the pub like one from the Great Depression. They glance anxiously over shoulders hoping that the egg mayo will not have gone by the time they reach the front. Surely they would eat bird droppings if these were free too.

And then the excitement hits fever pitch as pound coins are flung with reckless abandon at landlady Sarah, who dishes out the weekly ticket to fortune or pin prick into gigantic never to be repaid student loans.

Quiet overcomes the room, albeit for silent drumming by Old Geoffrey, still remembering his Buddy Holly days. The number is called and the “winner” is greeted with the usual good wishes of “make it a tough question for the old bat!”

It is the luck of the draw as the questions can range from the unimaginable for those born this side of World War Two, to a walk in the park. Tonight its a win to suppressed groans from the audience.

Bellies are starting to react already to the dubious fillings sampled earlier, yet a gallon of ale is still to be won. We leave unable to bear the tension; maybe there is time to clean my hob.

Bet takes control of the room again as fights break out for our vacated seats and the last sausage roll. Our Geoffrey is still drumming to some deep seated tune from yesteryear playing away in a mind sound for now at least.

The cold night air envelops me as the cheering from back in the warmth begins to fade; time for home and the Brillo pads.

One Hundred Years Ago

News here of a new President for Idle CC, a health crisis in Baildon and more grim news from the front. Compelling stuff indeed.

One For The Weekend


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