Back in the days, 1989 that is, a pint would set me back one pound, later one pound and a tuppence. The Landlord in Social Club of Little Plumstead Hospital usually said, “Give us a nick and we call it quits.” as he knew he would get a tip later that evening when we ordered the last round or pay a 45p bag of crisps with a 50p coin.
On the wall of the lounge in that social club, there was a pub clock like the one in this photograph that would tell us when to order that last round and at eleven o’clock straight after the eleventh chime, he shouted: “Ladies and gentlemen, drink up time!” and gave us half an hour to finish our pint.
This is just a short story, the first chapter of a book I was going to write but I never finished it as I moved on to other challenges. It’s a nice beginning of a story though and there’s also a great picture of The Black Horse Inn as it was called once upon a time.
1. Arrival at the Black Horse Inn
It was back in the year 1826 and the wind was howling through the bare trees. I always liked October, I loved the smell of wetland and rotting leaves and all the changing colours but this time was different. It was nearly dark and bitter cold already and the rain and hail slammed my face so hard it hurt. It shouldn’t be long before Autumn was over and Winter would come now. I entered the inn and the door slammed shut behind me as the wind grabbed it and blew leaves inside. There were only a few guests in the room that was lit with a few oil lamps and candles and two candles were blown out instantly by the gust of wind.
The reverend was always there to greet you at the doorsteps and the heating was never turned off in winter, may the warmth of the Lord lure you in here he used to say with a big smile on his face at the entrance of a country church somewhere in Norfolk.
The Pastor had Dutch roots and he even knew a few Dutch words like “Hoe gaat het?”, -“How are you?” that he had learned from his great parents.
This is my poetic memory of Little Plumstead Hospital where I once lived and worked.
It is why I love those places
For those familiar faces
The smell of rotting leaves
Or the coach from Neaves
Pints of ale
The boiler room wall gone pale
Sun on the bowl green
A double decker bus
To a town you’ve never seen
In Spring, the sea side crabs
On a street
Where people greet
And evenings are supposed to be long
Never on your own, so no one is alone
A Christmas cracker
Another shiny red double decker
Crying for a hymn in church is touching the sky
Beyond the tall cathedral tower
A lukewarm Summer shower
Custard in a bowl
Toad in a hole
Red brick walls
Bridges in the country side
With little falls
A pint a pound
That railway station
Lost and found
A chest of drawers full of clothes
An old hall corner
Where the wind eternally blows
Those Autumn leaves will go away
Until the skies are grey in Winter O Holy Night sung by a choir
In knitted jumpers, all round a fire
A little eggnog
Piece of choc The church clock will chime And most of all friends can be enclosed
In warm embrace, til the end of time
I can’t help myself but other than most people my favourite subject is Autumn, specifically Autumn in England. I have no logical explanation for this, maybe it has something to do with a how I felt decades ago living in Old Hall in England. Then again, Autumn in this place is equally wonderful and happy.
A few years ago I wrote this poem, Why I love those places. It may also be connected to this feeling of excitement, a gut feeling so to speak as it was then and it is like that again my current mood and I like it. Thinking back after nearly thirty years of those times I was young and free doesn’t make me sad, they are very strong and happy memories.
Where shall we go for a drink tonight?
Shall we go for a few in The White Horse in Crostwick
Or have one in The Fur and Feather in Woodbastwick quick
It was then when the idea started to nestle in Netty’s head
That we should get a pint in The White Horse Inn in Neatishead
But did you just say this evening it is my turn
For a few more rounds in The Lion in Thurne
Maybe it is the right time for one with a frothy head
In The Brick Kilns, that pretty pink pub in Little Plumstead
But if you can’t decide please let it then be
The Never Turn Back in (or from) Caister-On-Sea
Should we have a lovely pint this evening instead
In the Irstead Staithe in the center of, surprise … in Irstead
Or we might as well stay and drink with friends for good
Til the end of times in The King’s Head in Lingwood
When I first heard of him I was living in England at the time. I was going through a difficult time, discovering who I really was.
But I was also experiencing new friendships in a totally different environment compared to where I grew up. It is important I tell you about the setting as you will understand how much this meant for me.