Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The neighborhood 'local'.......................

Snow started falling heavily at noon today and it's building up so quickly we already have several inches covering everything.  

Don't ask why I'm posting on the pub - perhaps I'd prefer to be there, at home in Devon at my 'local' sipping a sherry by the open fire. Perhaps on a day like today here in North Carolina I should be satisfied and happy with snow because, over there in Devon, they have horrendous rains, winds, and flooding so bad the main railway lines from London to the west country (Devon and Cornwall) have been washed away along parts of the coastline.

The local pub in Shiphay, Torquay 

Although I left home over fifty years ago, one of the things I've missed is my 'local'. English people living in villages and small towns usually have their favorite pub (public house) within walking distance of home. It's not just a place to have a drink, or even a meal, it's the social center of that particular community. The pub has been the heart and soul of British life for centuries. 

When I was growing up this old building was part of an angora rabbit farm - later it somehow morphed into a 'school of dance' and I took ballet and tap classes there for a short time. It then became our local pub while I was still a child - I recall being sent there for a bag of Smith's Crisps (potato chips) now and then. I probably had a drink there of and on before emigrating to the States, but not often as I was young, but I have always stopped by on visits home. There is a Beer Garden, an outdoor area where you can take children - they are not permitted in pub bars - and 'The Dumpling' is quite well known for good pub food.  Meals are served both in the bar and in an upstairs dining room - we always try to get a little table by the fireplace. I've had several suppers there with family members and old friends during visits home, and one very enjoyable reunion several years ago for the 'kids' of my childhood village neighborhood. I got to meet playmates and school friends I'd not seen since I was eight when we moved to another area in town. It was certainly a night to remember and I won the prize for having traveled farthest to be there at 'the local'.

I traveled many, many times along that now seriously damaged railway line over my lifetime. Seeing the devastation in photos and videos online these past days just made me think of my true home far across the pond. I know many people are suffering and it will take time and money to return these lovely English seaside towns, as well as many flooded inland areas, to what they were before this terrible Winter.


  1. We've seen some of the havoc wreaked by the storms on our television news broadcasts. Such tragedy for the people whose homes and businesses are affected.
    Snowstorm after snowstorm for you, rain upon rain for parts of England. Such a winter is one for the history books. I hope you stay warm and safe, Mary.

  2. Loved your description of a British pub. I remember visiting a few when we traveled primarily in the Cotswolds.
    It was wonderful and I have fond memories. How lovely to grow up in that atmosphere.
    Oh yes, I have thought a lot about the flooding, as I have a friend that lives very near to it. She has been
    sharing pictures on Facebook. Oh my!
    Hope you are staying warm in your cottage and no power outages. xoxo m

  3. The pub sounds like a wonderful place to be. I wish we had local neighborhood places to go like that here in the states. It is sad hearing about the problems happening there. We are at about 7 inches so far at 7PM and it is still snowing like crazy!

  4. It is a wonderful custom for the local pubs to serve as a social center. I remember Irish pubs (when we traveled there) were also gathering spots after a long day. There is nothing that compares over here to that. I didn't know that there was anything dire going on over there. I must not be plugged into the news about it. In any event, I hope that weather the storm, so to speak, at your current home. The snow is finally starting to stick here, but I think we're only catching a slight edge to the storm system.

  5. I thought when I saw those railroad tracks swinging in the breeze on the evening news last evening that it certainly put our snow in perspective. May they get all the help they need to regroup and get things back on track as it were. Your description of the pub is so interesting. Guess that our local pizzeria doesn't count.

  6. Mary, I am so sorry the area you so beautifully describe is being devastated. Hopefully this wild weather roller coaster we are all on will settle down soon. Stay warm and safe. Bonnie

  7. This is such an interesting look into your past, Mary. And I think it's wonderful that you have been able ot reunite with friends from childhood!

    I hope you are safe, staying off the roads. There was footage on our 5:00 news of Raleigh and some very congested highways with vehicles not moving very far along. I trust you and Bob are safe and snug inside!


  8. The weather all over the world seems to be extreme at the moment. I know parts of Australia are having incredibly high temperatures and the US has all the snow and here the flooding is devastating in many areas. Last night there were hurricane force winds going up the Western side of the UK, I'm hoping our house on the Lancashire coast has escaped unscathed as rooves were being ripped off buildings in some places. Here on the edge of the Peak District we've been fortunate and have escaped the worst of both the rain and the winds. Think everyone is looking forward to spring and some blue skies and sunshine.

  9. Dear Mary, Thank you for sharing your early days while living in England. It seems that life was less complicated then You described the Pub scene so vividly that I could imagine you sitting near the fire enjoying a cozy visit with friends and neighbors.
    Te devastation in England caused by floods is horrendous. I am so sorry for the many people that will be struggling to get things right again. It will be a long and arduous process.


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