Sunday, 28 August 2011

Running Pump, Catforth Road, Catforth

Anyone who drinks regularly in a busy city centre pub will become accustomed to an unwritten, unspoken, maybe even subconscious code of practice, which should steer them away from bother, towards a good night out.
This ‘code’ for which I cannot think of an amusing name, contains rudimentary guidance such as ‘Do not go and sit at someone’s table you don’t know unless they invite you’, ‘Do not insist you want your beer in a jug with a handle on it’ or ‘Do not tie your dog up outside because it will either be clamped or stolen’.
There are, of course, variations and some codes are inevitably more effective than others.
Before I had even got the bar at the Running Pump I was faced with a dilemma which went against the grain, jarring horribly with my code that has served me so well.
Coat hooks. A line of them. All out away from view of the bar and the seating areas. 
‘If you leave anything out of your sight in a pub then don’t start sobbing when it disappears’, is one of the rules I live by.
But there were already a couple of coats which had been left there hanging, vulnerable and unguarded. So I thought ‘When in Catforth….
The 300-year-old pub was packed and we had to wait to get a seat but it was great to see a rural pub busy, with so many of them dropping off the map, including the Bay Horse just down the road.
Eventually, the perfect seat became free right next to the bar and close to a well-established open fire, I was made up.
In the two main bar areas there seems to have been a real effort to preserve much of its original character, rather than replacing features with modern, rustic-looking decoration, while a side room which holds a pool table, is a little more modern.
After enthusiastically seeing off a pint of Robinson’s Dizzy Blonde, I stood up to get in a pint of Unicorn, when I noticed a plaque on the wall above the seat which read ‘Old Farts Corner’.
A premonition perhaps but why fight it?
I had such a good night I forgot I had been away from my sweaty old coat all evening but it was, of course, still there.


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