Posted by: docdenbow | June 10, 2012

A Reading Frenzy In A Temperance Bar In Rawtenstall

Do you read? I mean read books or EBooks? I do especially now that I have my Kindle I seem to have gone into a kind of reading frenzy (like that – a bit like feeding frenzy? I thought it was pretty good) Anyway since the purchase of my Kindle I have munched my way through some Robert Rankin and a few Sherlock Holmes tales. I’ve read just about all of the Robert Rankin books before, but to re read them was rather like catching up with old friends. Jim Pooley, John O’Malley, Neville The Part-Time Barman, Old Pete and his dog Chips and not forgetting of course Norman Hartnell (not to be confused of course with the other Norman Hartnell) Professor Slocombe I don’t see as a friend more of a paternal advisor.

The Sherlock Holmes are/were a revelation to me. How the hell I’ve got to my somewhat advanced age without reading them is a mystery to me. I’ve read tons of crime thrillers by all of the so-called great detective story writers. From Hammett and Chandler to Agatha Christie and Ian Rankin and so on. Conan Doyle’s hero although a bit of an egotistical druggie is a very compelling character and the few stories I’ve read so far were really enjoyable.

Anyway this rather neatly leads me on to the point I was going to make about books. Especially books that end up getting adapted for TV or film. Almost invariably they make a right old balls up of not only the storylines but usually take liberties with the characters and the casting. For example, I decided to give Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson a rest and read something else. So I decided to have a go at M.C. Beaton’s series of novels about Hamish MacBeth. You may remember the TV series starring Robert Carlyle. Well for starters he was horribly miscast. Hamish in the first book at least is described as being very tall and skinny and in possession of a shock of red hair. Robert Carlyle? Draw your own conclusions. Oh and it was the same with “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.” Randle McMurphy as played by Jack Nicholson was another very tall ginger. I see and feel a bit of discrimination going on here.

“Morse” was no better. I mean Lewis was meant to be a middle aged Welshman so how on God’s green earth did Kevin Whately get the part? I wonder if Lewis was ginger in the books. Do you know I remember. Now a TV series that, as I remember it, was faithful to the books was “I Didn’t Know You Cared.” This series was based on books by Peter Tinniswood and featured a cast of well knows and no so well knowns like Robin Bailey, John Comer, Liz Smith, Deirdre Costello,Keith Drinkel and Stephen Rea. As a kid I thought it was brilliant and being a secret swot I read all of the one’s I could find. Brilliantly funny they are, I urge you to check them out – proper gritty sarcastic Northern humour.

As Wiki points out –

The clever dialogue and wordplay in the books shows up in the TV series.
For instance: Pat criticizes Carter for doing things “not concomitant with being a young executive”
and hopes her son will become “Professor of Difficult Sums”;
Mort says of the “Three Great Aunts from Glossop”, “You can allus tell when they’re coming, cause t’water curdles in t’goldfish bowl”.

Anyway in the TV programme and the books Uncle Mort used to lead young Carter Brandon into a temperance bar when the pubs were shut and generally moan about how “London” has ruined everything and that set me thinking. Do any of these temperance bars still exist? I guessed that it would be a longshot so I decided to dive into Google and have a lookie see. I was surprised, saddened and pleased to find that there still is one! Tucked away up t’North one survives. Being a non drinker with a driver license due pretty soon I will be paying it a visit where once esconced I shall quaff a selection from Sarsaparilla Cordial, Lemon & Ginger Cordial, Black Beer & Raisin, Blood Tonic, Dandelion & Burdock, Ginger Cordial, Elderflower & Apple, Blackcurrant & Liquorice and Cream Soda Cordial.

Here’s the address – Fitzpatrick’s Herbal Health 5 Bank St Rawtenstall, Lancashire BB4 6QS

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Ciao For Now




  1. Good blog, I read Peter Tinniswood’s Uncle Mort’s North Country during a train journey today, had me in stitches !

  2. And what about Wycliffe? The TV series ain’t a patch on WJ Burley’s books.

    • Hi Jill,

      I’ve never read any of the Wycliffe books, but I’ll have to try and find one. Are they any good?


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