Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
God hates flags
Abbey Green - my favourite square in all of Bath.
Funnily enough, Bath is not really known for its squares - they are quite rare in fact, and the few that exist aren't even properly square. I think this place became a square by accident, sometime around the late 17th century. This is also one of the few places to retain the cobbles on its street as well. Most of the rest were tarmac'd over.
It is not even known by the name of 'square' either. Because it is called a 'green', the council sows grass seed on, or turfs over the area around the base of the tree every year, and every year the area turns into a wet, muddy patch suitable for pigs, because of the combination of rain and tourists. I hope they don't Astro-Turf it to save money, in the same way they have introduced vast, ugly, electronic litter-bins which only need emptying once a week or so.
Look at that little house with two windows and a door, squeezed in between a couple of richer neighbours. I hate to mention it, but it was a shop in this square which accused Jane bloody Austen's aunt of stealing one yard of blue silk ribbon. She was almost deported to Australia for the crime until - at the last moment - she was found not to be guilty of it. The shame...
It is astounding that the tree has survived as well. The Georgians were not too keen on municipal trees. The survival of both the tree and the tiny house is a testament to the general uselessness of town planners - things which go ignored or unnoticed quite often survive for years, until people grow fond of them, at which time they are protected by the town planners. That didn't stop the planners of the 1960s from tearing down whole streets of this age and charm, for the sake of profit from the developers.
At my back when taking this photo, is the later facade of the 'Crystal Palace' pub, which has - also miraculously - retained its original wood panelling from around 1720 (see below). The place has been taken over by a big London brewery, and is now almost worth visiting. For the last 40 years or so, it was an awful pub, but they seem to have got rid of the yob element, or the yobs have just grown up.
There are armchairs and there is a real log fire just out of shot there, but the corporate management seems to think that it is appropriate to play rap music over the speakers, and have all the staff dress in cheap, black clothing, for some reason.
The trend for piped music in pubs has been further spoilt by the trend to have that music controlled remotely by head-office. The staff working about 150 miles away have no control over the music, which is sent through the ether via the internet to come inappropriately out of the speakers over your head as you try to soak up the ambience with a beer or two. It is the same with most retail shops now as well. All it does is create an air of desperateness. You actually feel the management's concern over profits, all those miles away. Faster music encourages faster drinking - it's a known fact in the business.
I used to like those tobacco-stained pubs with a ticking clock, two old men by the fire and one mangy dog - even when I was young - but this is not an area where it is easy to harvest the Grey Pound, especially since the health police have been targeting the drinking habits of the over 50s, seeking them out behind closed doors and threatening to charge them for any more than the proscribed amount of empty wine bottles put out with the recycling.
Hark at me - I sound like a UKIP member. If I start blaming the weather on God as punishment for gay marriage, then stop listening to me. You'll only encourage me just for a laugh, and that would be cruel.