Quiz night

Quiz night tonight and our regular team was  lacking the Ice-creams, our team-mates who have one o the best Ice-cream parlours in the country weren’t with us, my son and his team were elsewhere so it was just daughter and me who wandered down to the Dolphin at about a quarter to nine.

The pub was really full – lots of people for the last quiz of the year, and no doubt lots of people had taken advantage of the delicious meals on offer and had dined at the Dolph. We know most of the other ‘teams’ – I use inverted commas because the whole concept of teams is rather loose and flexible, not rigid at all. So in their usual places was Tim and his chums, the chap we think should be called Michael but is in fact called Scott was sitting round the corner at the other bar, strangers were sitting in our usual places, and at the bar where Taz, Nick and Tony usually sit were two other people. Taz & Co. were sitting in the far corner and daughter and I sat beside them.

There are two rounds, and because of the season there were loads of Christmas questions, but to be honest, they were so obscure, even collaborating with Taz & Co we struggled… This is the great hign about the quiz – obviously we want to win, but mire important is to have a good time. We did have a very good time – we compared notes with Taz, Nick and Tony, we chatted and gossiped and didn’t win anything!

This is the whole point of the quiz – to get to know other people and to have a good time – o and to enjoy a few beverages!!

3 T’s and B

We went to the Dolphin tonight in the hope of seeing our friend Terry. It’s his birthday today and e hoped to buy him a pint of Otter or a pink gin, whichever of his favourites appealed. We arrived and sat with the two T’s, Trev and Tim, and after a little while Terry arrived. We sang happy birthday and bought him a beer. He had had a lovely day, a party with his children and grandchildren, a lunch (at the Dolphin) and now he had wandered down in the hope of seeing friends.

Tomorrow it’s my husband Bari’s birthday, he’s a year older than Terry. … and the two T’s, well, Trev’s birthday is on Wednesday, Tim’s is next Saturday – according to astrology, my husband, Terry and Tim are Sagittarius, Trev is Capricorn (like me!)

This got me thinking… these four men are all great friends and have been for a number of years, mostly in the pub but also Terry and Bari were in a band together, Trev is an adopted grandfather for our children, Tim has been a good friend for any, many years… and yet… Imagine they were at school.  Imagine Tim was five, Terry was ten, Bari was eleven and Trev was twenty-sixt… would they have been friends? Well maybe Tim and Bari would have been. Move on ten years, Tim fifteen, Terry twenty and Bari twenty-one, Trev thirty-six – they would have had nothing in common, nothing at all.

Now, now they are all friends, and chat and talk about all sorts of things – the years have vanished!! Happy birthday Terry, happy birthday for tomorrow Bari, and good wishes fr next eek, Tim and Trev!


Splinters and dead ringers

Having just written about beer we tootled off to the pub… sadly I am not drinking beer or any alcohol at the moment, but the great thing about great pubs is that that doesn’t matter! You can still have a very pleasant and enjoyable time!

We met up with two of the three girls first of all – girl three is in Canada at the moment (the ‘girls’ are all seniors, by the way!).  Harley the English bulldog came over for a visit, he is gorgeous, and just wanted a bit of a scratch under his receding chin and a rub of the ears and then he wandered off again. Then the two T’s came in, Tim and Trev and we caught up with each other’s news.

Tim told us the story of his injured finger (finger and hammer… the end) and how his wife who was a nurse nearly fainted at the sight of it.  Daughter showed her war wound – a bizarre injury which came from a bit of the protective screen of her mobile phone splintering off and going under her finger nail… yes, nasty, makes me shiver to remember it! Tim then told us of a similar injury he received except this was with a piece of wood. He’d been at work and had a young work-experience student with him (school children have to go into places of work for two weeks to learn what the real world is like) This young person wasn’t that interested in the area in which Tiim worked because he wanted to train to be a nurse when he left school. Tim was using a plane on a plank when something came adrift and a long splinter of wood went up under his fingernail. A few naughty words and Tim grabbed some pliers and pulled the offending piece of wood out… at which point the boy fainted!

We talked about many things, the last bowls match of the season for Trev, plaid after it was dark with candles in jam jars to light the direction in which to bowl – like a flight path which was apt as Trev had been in the RAF. Somehow we got onto the subject of wakes, and suddenly Tim said ‘Dead ringers!’  and everyone nodded and laughed… Well, I was a bit confused… ‘Dead Ringers’ is a popular radio programme… but no, Tim however, was talking about the practice of having a bell rope dangling into a coffin so that if someone was not really dead, they could tug on it and alert someone once they had been buried… I had heard of that – but never associated with the term dead ringers! Surprising what you learn in the pub!

Animals in pubs

Our pub the Dolphin (named after an animal) is a creature friendly pub. Dogs are more than welcome, in fact there are two resident Jugs (pug/Jack Russell cross) Tim and Sim. There are other dogs who visit, some are regulars, but none is as famous as Penny, known as Mrs Pen, who died several years ago but is not forgotten.

I was researching something else and was looking at the names of pubs in Cambridge – well, the names of old pubs, so many have now disappeared or changed names. Cambridge not so long ago was little more than a market town with a university – although in actual fact it is a city. The rural nature of its surrounding countryside is reflected in some of the old pub names…

Animals of various colours and although there are some exotics, many reflect animals seen in the Cambridgeshire countryside  –

  • The Blue Bore/Lion
  • The Black Bear/Bull/ Lion/ Swan/The Little Black Bull
  • The Green Lion/Dragon
  • The Red Bull/Red Cow/Red Lion/ The New Red Lion/Old Red Lion
  • The Cock x3
  • The Cow and Calf
  • Dog and Duck/Hare and Hounds
  • The Horse and Groom/The Light Horse/The Race Horse
  • The Eagle/The Hawk/The Peacock/The Crane
  • The Lamb/The Ram
  • The Roebuck
  • The Pike and Eel/The Pickerel/The Salmon

… and of course there had to be…

  • The Dolphin

Penny, Mrs Pen at the back door of the pub


Two shorts in the Dolphin

For various reasons we went to the Dolphin tonight; we don’t usually go on a Thursday – Tuesday for quiz, the occasional Friday or Saturday, then Sunday to meet up with ‘the girls’ and the 2 T’s, Tim and Trev.

So we drifted down this evening at about quarter past ten, just for the last three-quarters of an hour, and we sat in what we call the cross-benches, the bar between what I guess used to be ‘the lounge’ and the other bar which would have been ‘the public’. Such distinctions are long gone, the pub is the pub, but there is definitely the quiet end, and the TV/darts board end. (The cross-benches, by the way is actually a parliamentary term for where those minority parties sit, between the government and the opposition)

We sat next to a table of four jolly, youngish people who we didn’t know, two couples who were having a social time with each other. We were just sitting, drinking our drinks, when the two ladies of the couple stood up and back to back compared heights. It was plain that the blond lady was a few inches shorter than the dark lady…

A friendly row broke out between them because the blond lady thought she was the same height as the dark lady… I chimed in because I am 5′ 4″, the same as the blonde lady. Soon I  had my shoes off and we were back to back comparing heights. Then the husbands joined in, and I have to say my husband, 6′ 6½” was way taller than anyone else… there was much laughter and banter, and then a lady from the other end came over, she wasn’t even 5 foot!

Anyone coming into the pub and seeing all these laughing, arguing people with no shoes on, standing back to each other would have thought us most strange! However, that is just a typical night in the Dolphin! The two couples departed with shaking of our hands and farewells to us, and us promising to bring a tape-measure next time, and then we sat back to finish our drinks…

Yes, a typical Dolphin night!

Ir’s Sunday night…

It’s Sunday night, and unlike the previous three nights when we have thought about drifting down to the Dolphin for a jar or two and been trapped by rain, rain, rain, tonight it was not raining – in fact there was even a sliver of moon in the sky. So hopeful of meeting the two T’s, or ‘the girls’ we set off down to our local.

The pub was fairly empty tonight, but the two T’s, Trev and Tim, were ensconced in their usual corner, so with a couple of pints of fine Otter beer, we joined them. When we arrived they were talking about painting and decorating; we exchanged news – we had been to a family wedding last week and the beer festival today, we had bowls club news from Trev, and painting and decorating news from Tim.

We were drinking mighty fine pints of Otter, as was Trev, Tim was on our local cider, Thatcher’s Gold. I really wish I liked cider; local product, organically grown, giving employment to local people, a traditional product… what’s not to like… well… it’s just not to my taste. I don’t like any cider… there is something about the smell, as well as the taste, as well as the after effects… We had a bit of a discussion about it, and we reported back to the 2 T’s about the cider on offer at the beer festival (this is Somerset, traditional home of cider, as well as the home of some brilliant beers!)

As usual we had a really interesting evening… we talked about Legionnaire’s Disease (a friend is in intensive care with it) – Tim in his professional life had to deal with its prevention so is very knowledgeable; we talked about coach holidays and going to see the WW1 battlefields; we talked about civic works in our town, the power of the local college, the town, our village… and our last discussion was on the corrupt practices in British industry in the 1970’s…

Time was called, we hugged, said goodnight, and tottered off to our homes… what a pleasure it is to be able to walk home down the middle of the road!

This is our way home… no cars, no traffic!


And it’s Sunday, the Dolph, the girls, and the two T’s

We talk about our local the Dolphin such a lot, and yet we don’t actually go there that often… wait a minute… Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday… but wait another minute! Tuesday quiz night! Thursday we had been very busy and it was very hot! Saturday my drummer boy had been at a gig in deepest Somerset so came home tired and very hot and thirsty since he couldn’t drink as he was driving! Sunday we go to the pub to meet the two T’s, our friends Tim and Trev.

We drift down latish for the last hour, and when we arrive, no T’s but the girls. This isn’t meant to sound patronising but affectionate… three very clever, and amusing women who live locally and are always out on jaunts and adventures together, and also play badminton in the village hall. Two are sisters, and dog people; Shirley was the owner of the amazing Thatch, a dog of great character who used to sit on the front lawn arms folded (OK forepaws folded) presiding over the street. Thatch’s cousin/brother, Shirley’s sister Maureen has Hamlet was a more laid back and maybe timid character who Thatch led into various adventures. The third is Jean who comes from the Lake District, and we were talking tonight about the fact that it has become a World Heritage Site.

We have great fun, a real craic (the sisters are from Ireland) talking about all sorts of things,sport, County Antrim, geese, a strange farm they had recently stayed in, drinking champagne and eating canapes in a barn until Maureen accidentally threw her cider over Jean. As she was offering a hanky to dry jean’s shoes, the two T’s arrived, one of them looking slightly less sunburned than the last time we had seen him – he’d been sitting in the garden and fallen asleep… great redness ensued!

We were all up ‘our’ end of the pub – if you can imagine the letter E with the middle bit missing, that’s the shape of the pub. A bar at either end and the cross-benches as we call them between. (The cross benches is a parliamentary term for the benches or seats  between two different parties – this is just a joke… people float round all the areas of the pub!) There may have been a few folk in the cross benches at some point, but when I drifted through in search of a bar man (when it’s quiet like on a Sunday there is only one person on) it was empty. Down at the darts board/TV/other end there were a few regulars, but on the whole it was quiet, typical Sunday.  The jukebox was playing,  a varied selection but predominantly Country and Weston. I was glad to hear one of my all-time favourites ‘Human’ drifting through!

The girls departed, they’d been out and about and they were ready to go, then time was called and we finished our drinks, too our glasses  to the bar and shouted ‘cheerio’ and off we went…

I wonder if Jean’s shoes are dry… but that’s another story..

. as is the tale of the friendly geese…