The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Local Fare
by Jackie Macintosh

“It’s a lovely walk over the fell to Arncliffe,” said the landlady of our bed and breakfast.

And so it was, but deceptively difficult too. The reality of trudging to what we thought was the top only to find yet another summit on the horizon, not once but three times, was quite a test of endurance. However, the view as we descended into the next valley was spectacular. We could see the village nestling among a patchwork of dry stone walls and began anticipating the possibility of a welcome pint or two. We quickened our pace.

Two men in brightly coloured waterproofs strode energetically up the fell towards us. As they neared, we had to pass with caution on a narrow track. We exchanged greetings and asked about the pub.

“The Falcon,” said the red anorak, “yes, it’s rather special. Old Fred has run it for years with his wife. He’s dour and won’t contemplate any help. In fact, when they had to go to a family funeral once they left the door open and an honesty box on the bar!”

We said our farewells and continued on our way with renewed enthusiasm.

We arrived at the village green just at opening time but had to wait with other thirsty hopefuls while Old Fred opened the creaky wooden door to the old, stone building.

The hatch which served as a bar was at the end of an uneven and foot-worn flagged passageway leading from the entrance. The sun might have shone outside, but the interior was dingy. It was a pub in a time warp in deepest rural Yorkshire.

The landlord served his renowned ale from a jug filled from barrels on the floor. Indeed, beer and little else, with no concessions to modernity apparent.  

My companion found a seat whilst I waited my turn at the hatch. Old Fred looked past me to the men behind.

“Yes?” he said to them.

“Two pints of Best, please,” I interrupted.

Old Fred looked disapproving; he obviously did not consider it seemly for a woman to buy the beers.

As I pocketed the change, picked up the two glasses and had a sip of the best ale I had tasted. I noticed a well-dressed holiday-maker reading a ‘Dish of the Day’ board, which had just one dish listed - Meat and potato pie with peas.

The gent looked at the Landlord. “And the vegetarian option?”

“Peas,” was the gruff reply.