Tuesday, 19 May 2009

austerity Britain

"Make friends with your butcher" -Anne J.

A comment on Facebook got me recalling a story someone told me of the not-so-good old days. This is how it happened.

The Blue Flame is a pub which nestles in a lane between Nailsea, the bustling Somerset home of Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, and Kenn Moor, where Somerset goes into serious boggy mode.

It's a nice pub, and I would especially recommend their pickled eggs.

Anyhow, V was writing a book on pubs, and, as I occasionally pass by the Blue Flame I was asked if I knew how the pub got its name. I didn't, but as it was a good excuse for an outing (which, thanks to my navigational abilities, took us about 30 miles further than strictly necessary)....

here's the story.

We were in the Blue Flame at Nailsea last night, and I asked the landlord where the name came from. He said that originally it had been called the New Inn, but got its present name from goings-on during the war. A decoy Bristol was located on the moors around there, in a hopeless effort to persuade the Germans to drop their bombs on the marshes instead of the city; and the landlady of the pub had an illicit relationship with the man whose job it was to light the lights for the decoy. She lit a stove in the window (landlord obligingly points out stove in window) to let him know when her husband was out and the coast was therefore clear for him to come calling.

....it's no doubt a story the holes in which a squadron of Chieftain tanks could be driven through; but better a good story than a boring truth, I suppose...


...further to the anecdote about the Blue Flame... something trawled up in the 'net...

In addition to their normal operations, No.951 (Barrage Balloon) Squadron also controlled Bristol's six 'Starfish' Decoy Sites, the construction of which commenced in late 1940. They were eventually located at Stockwood, Chew Magna, Downside, Kenn Moor, Yeomouth, and Cheddar, and it was during the city's second large scale raid on the night of December 2nd that the first 'Starfish' site in the country was lit in anger.

...I told the story of the Blue Flame to someone, let's call her X, who had a good laugh about it and then told me that she used to do something similar with a box of Omo washing powder on her kitchen window sill. If it was there, the butcher's boy knew that it was all clear to come in and trade some of the contents of his basket (sorry, I'm trying to think of a way of putting this without it sounding smutty... I must have dwelt among English academics for too long...)...o God.... OK, the butcher's boy would then trade meat for sex.

And there we have it, story for today!