Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Hadrians: The Boathousemen, women and other animals

Desperately trying to walk the heart out of Newcastle I ploughed onwards, along the river Tyne, heading out of town.

I was going to sleep out tonight, in just a bivvy bag - no tent! The only thing was, I didn't want to do it in the city. The thought of sharing a sleep-patch with gaunt, 'sleepy' chaps calling themselves Horse, Toady and Scabby did not fill me with delight. Wind in the Willows it would not be.

So, instead, I was intent in covering enough distance to get me out of town and into the countryside, where I could camp in peace and not in pieces.  Unfortunately, I had not counted on one thing, the suburbs. Smaller towns, sporting a fine brand of hoodies, burnt out cars and kebab shops surround Newcastle. If I was to get clear of this lot I was to put my foot down, well feet really. I marched on for hours.

 It was 9:30pm when, exhausted and harangued by a ferocious thirst I came upon The Boathouse pub.

Adorned with a long, white flag pole with what can only be described as forlorn tassels where a flag once flew, the 'Beware of the Children' sign should have been enough to stop me going in. But it wasn't.

It was the evening of a Bank Holiday, which would explain why the small gathering of mainly 50 and 60 something's were all bladdered (define: smashed, squishy, trollied). However, the days long alcohol frenzy could not explain the fact that everyone in the pub, and I mean everyone,  had a shaved head, even the women and pit bulls.

I half expected a resident barber with clippers in hand to be sat next to the door. Thankfully, there wasn't, but it must have been my offensive coiffeured hair that meant that the whole pub stopped what they were doing to see me step gingerly toward the bar.

The bar man, to be fair, was in his 20's and not drunk, but you can be assured that his head was as cropped and shiny as the rest if the cult. I asked for a Guiness and this seemed to be received as an acceptable choice  to the locals who immediately went back to their conversations, which, from what I could make out, all followed a similar pattern no matter which group I listened in to. It was like this: one person would, using simple accompanying hand gestures repeatedly slur the word 'feckin', over and over again, before the other cuts them short with the line. ' Ahh, yowl talking shite m'n!'

I was fascinated by this for a while, but not so much that I didn't down my drink and leave pronto.

I needed to find somewhere suitable to sleep, and fast.

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