Posted by: docdenbow | February 22, 2011

The Abbattoir & Bambi


The pub Bar was closed for refurbishment. It was the brewery’s decision to ruin a perfectly good Saloon Bar, and update it. Update it for the benefit of the clientele to introduce a more bistro like atmosphere – or “atmos” as the barely post pubescence regional ambience director called it.

The bistro idea and the serving of food in the “Abattoir & Bambi” was an idea of the most catastrophic proportions. All of the pubs patrons were drinkers to such an extent that solid food was a distant memory. Liquid lunch took on a new meaning here – more like liquid breakfast, liquid lunch, liquid dinner, liquid supper and all variants that you can think of. (Liquid treats you can drink between meals without ruining your appetite springs to mind)

Let us sojourn then with all due haste, to the unspoiled (and you may say unclean) Lounge Bar. The bods from Time Team would have a field day in there seeing as it was only the recent commencement of the work to “improve” the Saloon Bar that led to this room being reopened in much the same way that Howard Carter battered his way in Kings Tuts final resting place. The double doors had not been locked when the Lounge fell into misuse – that would have been far too obvious. It was bricked up & thus, much like Tut’s final resting place, perfectly preserved the day when the last brick was mortared into place with a gentle finality.

Given that the dirt & detritus in the Lounge Bar was of epic proportions some of the signs contained therein were somewhat incongruous. Especially the “No Denim” which mine host ignored as it was unreasonable to expect anyone to enter the Lounge Bar in their finery. Other signs were mainly “dress code” related – “No Cowboy Boots or Stilettos” was another. These were originally intended to preserve the high quality parquet floor from damage by the feet of the patrons. However, since most of the floor was now missing the sign regarding now well out of date fashion footwear was somewhat redundant.

Mind you Mine Host also considered the thought of cleaning this Lounge Bar redundant – especially as the Brewery had fired him (or as they said gave him a “negative employment enhancement”) to make way for a new manager when the refurbishments were completed.

So what to drink in the reopened Lounge? Normally – or in the old Saloon Bar a pint of Usual was the best bet. But given the state of the Lounge, Usual was perhaps not the best choice. In fact a drink from a bottle may well prove to be the least injurious to the well being of a person of normal fortitude & constitution. However, and it is a big however, most of the clientele didn’t worry about the health effects of their consumption and could never be considered “normal,” so carried on drinking Usual as usual which was not unusual. Furthermore, the bottled beer & spirits behind the bar had in the main gone the same way as the floor, missing. What was left was just as dubious as the floor.

Besides in the Abattoir & Bambi bottles were not allowed to be removed from the Bar area to the tables & the patrons quaffed their Usual from plastic pint pots. That lack of glass was the only consideration made to Health & Safety by Mine Host.

So what of the Abattoir & Bambi? And more to the point what of the name? Some folks seem to think that the epithet by which the hostelry goes is the ultimate in bad taste nomenclature. In fact in the 1970s the pub was a part of a none too successful chain of houses that were all named after each towns biggest employer and a Disney character. So you had the Car Factory & Dumbo, the Sawmill & Goofy, the Steel Works & Mickey Mouse.

The fact that the chain was largely unsuccessful came as a shock to the managers, directors and shareholders who could not understand how such a widely appealing enterprise could meet with such abject failure. So saying that, each pub not only was named after the local big wig employer, but was also decked out appropriately, and had colourful cartoons of the Disney character on the walls. How could they fail? But fail they did !

One by one these pubs closed, some reopened with more sensible names, the King’s Head, the Rose, The Hollybush, but only one retained its’ original name & decor. That pub was the Abattoir & Bambi. It was probably the first example of “people power.” Inspired by that John Lennon hit, “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” the regulars of the Abattoir & Bambi got together & decided to save “their” pub.

The Lounge Bar

The pool table which was located in the lounge bar of the Abattoir & Bambi was several years old, reflecting as it did the length of time that the lounge bar had been closed. In order to get a game required the insertion of coins long since ceased to be legal tender, so the easiest thing to do was to boot the hell of the said table (or indeed Mine Host) until either the required balls fell into the tray or in the latter case Mine Host gave you the key to free the balls in a more orthodox manner.

Playing pool was a manifold challenge – as discussed already the acquisition of the balls was “interesting” – the usual accoutrements required to play pool, the triangle to set up the balls and the cue with which to cause, create collisions between the said balls was also missing. These disparate factors led each game of pool to be a rather interesting contest and battle not only of conventional pool skills but also of ingenuity and inventiveness. In addition the application of new rules, old rules and some frankly strange rules and the referee responsible for their imposition made for truly rich lounge bar entertainment and violence. This is why there were plastic pint pots.

So much for the Abattoir & Bambi, but what of its’ clientele or as they had become preferred to be known – the Denizens. They were, and perhaps one day will become an “are” once more, a wildly diverse bunch of misfits, dole hounds, slackers, loungers, drunks, dreamers & office workers. All with a common interest – dipsomania. Most started their collective lunchtime with their usual Usuals, which is not unusual – before moving on to an eclectic range of chasers & shorts. Everything, once the regulation half a dozen Usuals were consumed, tended to get a tad out of focus for the Denizens as they moved up oh so sweetly through the gears of intoxication. Protestations & proclamations of “bestmatedness” were ejaculated from the various nooks & crannies of the Lounge Bar & gave rise to a feeling of bonhomie & a general sense that all was well in the world as the Denizens all became “superpally.” As in many occasions throughout history this was merely the calm before the storm that would inevitably follow as the Denizens one by one returned to the Job Centre, the DHSS & their offices.

So what the inevitable storm that was to follow I hear you ask ? Well to be honest working with your life partner (sic) is never the best idea. In fact it’s a lousy idea & not really recommended by anyone without the most severe of masochistic tendencies. The only thing that makes it bearable is the company of others – so as the Denizens drift away in ones & twos, then Mine Host is forced to face the ferociously fearsome Florence all on his lonesome. Mine Host himself no shrinking violet, and was well capable of sorting out the Denizens when they got lively. He was not averse to the banging of heads & the Punching out of the illuminations. However, he was terrified of Florence – for Florence had her special friend, the obligatory Staffordshire Bull Terrier who went by the stunningly original name of Tyson. This squat muclebound dog was indifferent to everyone except Florence. Tyson would bite, growl, snarl & attack to order. But Tyson could show initiative – & carry out his snarling unbidded. You see Tyson, reserved special hatred for Mine Host

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