Thursday, 9 October 2014

Child friendly


The pub landlady from Leighton Buzzard must have got a bit more trade by putting up this helpful sign.

People are generally split down the middle when it comes to children in pubs - some watch their antics with smiles on their faces, and others whisper threats of murder between gritted teeth.

The age of choice that we all now live in means that pubs have to formulate a policy when it comes to children and dogs, and aside from a rule which states that children under 16 are not allowed to sit at the bar, the days of them being barred completely from the premises are gone along with the other rule which disallowed black leather jackets on men.

I regularly broke the latest rule up until quite recently, when my little 5 year-old friend would sit with me at the bar, keeping me entertained wonderfully, when I was supposed to be doing that for her whilst her father was outside entertaining himself.

I would go out the front for a cigarette and she would accompany me, and it was then that she came up with the question, "Why is that man running in the middle of the fucking road?" I was wondering exactly the same thing, but she actually said it.

If children run riot in pubs, it is always the parent's fault, but it is always the children who are on the receiving-end of hostility like the above. I have saved quite a few 5 year-olds from running straight out of the door and under a bus at our pub, and the first thing I do - or the second thing - is give the parents a good bollocking.

Bollockings like this are never well-recieved by parents, because it makes them feel useless and irresponsible. If they get angry with me about it, then I say that they ARE useless and irresponsible, and that makes them feel even better.

Of course, any interaction between strangers and children is socially unacceptable these days, but I still don't think I could stop myself from grabbing a child if it looked as though it was going to run under a lorry. I once grabbed a full-grown man when he was about to step out behind a car which was towing a trailer that he hadn't spotted, and he gave me such a look of hatred that it was hard to believe I had saved him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

I was setting off a giant mortar firework in the dark at Kiel, Germany, once as part of a theatre show.

I had buried the huge tube in the grass during daylight, and cordoned-off the area for about 100 yards all around it. On the night, a half dozen local (and elderly) police were stationed all around it to stop anyone from wandering in the danger-zone.

I had lit the slow-match on the fuse, and it was only a matter of about three or four seconds before the fast-match ignited, and a six-inch ball of high explosive launched itself from the end of the it. The fall-out from these mortars is quite wide, so I ran for cover as soon as I lit it.

As I ran in one direction, I noticed someone walking in the other in the dark, and by the time I had run back to him, he was peering down the end of the tube to see what was inside it.

There was no time for an explanation in bad German, so I simply grabbed him, flung him to the ground and pinned him down. He thought he was being mugged - until the firework went off.

He peered up at me from the grass and said, "Ach so!  Danke!"


29 comments:

  1. You are a life-saver!

    When we were young, my Dad would do the grocery shopping on a Saturday, and take one or two of us along with him. Afterwards, we would stop into his favorite corner bar (right next door to the grocery store) and he would say hello to the regulars, have a beer, give us money (was it a dime? a quarter?) to play the bowling machine and buy us a Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers. I loved those Saturdays.

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    1. Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers? Exactly how old are you?!

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    2. Tom, on Saturday I will be 55!

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    3. Well happy birthday, you Spring Chicken.

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  2. How odd. In the puritanical US of A, you must be 21 years old to enter a bar.

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    1. Or in Utah, you have to be dead. I was always slightly embarrassed to see young, bearded men being refused service in the US.

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  3. I rarely spend time in pubs these days but children in shops upset me. The ones who race round the supermarkets unchecked and the crying babies who are ignored. I've just made a rare trip to buy some new clothes and everywhere I went there were crying toddlers, tired, bored, hungry, ignored. When I was a (single) parent I made sure my children didn't have to come on major shopping trips with me except in emergencies until they were of an age to enjoy helping. Surely today's parents don't live in such social isolation that they need to subject their children to such tedium?

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    1. I loved being taken around the huge London stores at Christmas time - magical, with the smell of roasting coffee, etc.

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  4. Im with Marianne, organic children in the supermarkets drive me bonkers. My friend and I saw a little girl of about 3 wandering in the street. could not find her parents. Scared to touch her, I ordered her to stand still right in the middle of the pedestrian zone whilst my friend watched her. I ran in and out of the shops and the bank and low and behold her dirty stained shirt wearing father abled out of the betting shop and tugged his trousers up so they were still showing bum crack and headed up the road. she called out to him and he kept walking. It was lucky the community police came by then. one officer chased the man, he came back roughly grabbed the girl by the arm and frog marched her up the road f'ing and blinding at her that he should have left her at home. Its times like that I feel like saying to people, if you don't want that child they can come home with me. I don't have any kids but I can do a bloody darn sight better than some of these ones that seem to drag them up. makes me want to cry.

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  5. I love the sign just because it is so cleverly worded. You British people just have a way with words. American English is rather like a poor cousin.

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    1. I bet the Germans could have tripled the word-length too...

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  6. I once walked in on a wedding party in a bar in Wisconsin, and was pulled into a circle of guests doing the funky chicken. I remember toddlers on each side, participating with gusto.

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    1. Funky Chicken! They knew how to party. Thank you SO much for the towels! I will thank you properly later. X

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    2. You need towels? You mean you don't have any? Is there anything else you need? I know you work hard for very little but even so. Do you want a food parcel?

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    3. Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooh!

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    4. Anyway, who said I worked hard, and who said I earned very little? I work very little and earn a fair whack (commensurate to my limited requirements, which do include towels).

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    5. Whatever. You won't be needing me to send you a food parcel across country then?

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    6. You can go to the skipchen in Bristol if things get really bad.

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    7. I've only just heard about that place. Sounds good, but I bet they get large contributions from guilty people.

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  7. Why is it that almost every day (unless you happen to be in a very morose mood) you make me laugh out loud and bring the farmer out to read your blog?

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    1. If I knew that, I wouldn't be in the mess I am now, Weave.

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  8. I have never been in a family pub.... And certainly would never venture into one which had one of those ball pools in it....
    Loved the sign picture

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    1. So you're not thinking of adopting, then?

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  9. Other people's kids eh.... don'cha hate em!

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    1. And doesn't everyone else think that their children are the best?

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  10. I dont go anywhere described as child friendly.

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  11. I was at a wedding reception years ago and one of the (very inebriated) bridesmaids had let tear through the rather crowded venue like she was running a race. One the third or fourth pass by my table, I hooked the kid with my arm, pulled her to my lap and told her quite firmly to 'knock it off'. She looked shocked, didn't say anything, but also didn't get up to run around again. Fortunately, I didn't hear boo from her Mom. I think by that point she was out front sucking face with a groomsman.

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