I saw a press cutting recently which described a punch-up between two uniformed police officers in the Ring O Bells, Widcombe. Don’t worry, it happened in Victorian times, and only warranted a tiny paragraph in Ye Olde Chronicle. These days such an occurrence would almost certainly get national front page coverage.
Obviously, both Bobbies were banned from the pub. But even I, unassuming law abiding little ol’ me, have been banned from a couple of Bath hostelries in my time.
The once was justifiable. A group of Hat and Feather regulars ‘liberated’ the famous big brass bell from the bar. We planned to hold it to ransom to raise funds for some spurious project. It cut no ice with the landlord. He was furious and we were instantly sent packing with his lecture on ‘trust’ echoing in our reddened ears.
The other time was more bizarre. In the 70’s I was banned from a certain old fashioned real ale pub in town for the heinous crime of eating too many crisps! Whether the fearsome landlady was fed up with clearing up empty packets or (more likely) wanted to clear her establishment of what she perceived were long-haired layabouts I don’t know. But I didn’t go back there for years.
The most up-tight proprietor I have ever come across ran a café in days of yore in Tavistock. My friend and I were on a coach tour and popped in for a scone and a pot of tea one rainy day. We were rather taken aback to see a sign prominently displayed saying ‘Kindly do not write your correspondence at our tables’. What can it mean we wondered?
We soon found out when my companion set about writing a postcard to her mum. Said proprietor emerged from the kitchen, steam practically coming out of his ears. He told her in a performance worthy of Basil Fawlty that the writing of postcards was strictly banned. She replied that in that case she wasn’t going to pay for her tea. Basil then announced he was calling the police!
The episode ended with my friend running off down the street and having to lurk in the local market like a common criminal with her cagoule hood well and truly up until the bus came.