Inside Out

Well, the past couple of days were pretty unusual. The BBC’s Inside Out team were filming in the pub for a programme about how hard it is to run an independent bar.

The team (Chris, Andrew and Phil) we’re great, particularly presenter Chris Jackson who kept on working behind the bar when he was no longer being filmed.

The day was so busy, there was little time to take pictures.

What we’d not expected was that the team would be such a nice bunch of people.

There was obviously a serious theme to their visit; running a pub isn’t easy, particularly one that that wasn’t surviving when we bought in. However, after a few months, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

The programme will be shown on BBC1, on 10th February.

Castle Eden

I’m currently drinking a (cheap) pint of Guinness in the Castle Eden Inn. In Castle Eden.

I’m here while I wait for my beloved to collect me after a rural development grant workshop. The workshop was fine, as fine as any I’d experienced in my days as a Civil Servant. But I’d already read the material, so didn’t learn a lot. Still, the presentation gave me a couple of things to take away and think about. So that’s a good enough outcome.

My beloved rang a few minutes ago. The mobile signal here is awful, but I ascertained that she was around 20 minutes away.

However, I’m hoping that I misheard that she was 20 minutes away from Castle Dean. Which isn’t anywhere near my location.

Root canal fillings

Don’t. Don’t have a root canal filling. I’ve had two, with the same outcome. Pain.

The trouble is that the tooth is dead after a root canal filling. It becomes brittle and can’t last forever.

Just over a year ago, December ’18, I experienced a failed attempt to remove a root canal filled tooth. It was pretty horrible, with two dentists trying to remove the tooth, which had broken into pieces. This resulted in extreme pain over the next few days; relieved only by a cocktail of pills and alcohol.

Several months later, the remnants of the tooth were removed at the dental hospital. Surgery was involved.

Today, after a peanut break, my second root canal filled tooth was extracted. The experience wasn’t great. But, while there is pain, fewer painkillers have been needed.

Tooth removal on a good day is brutal. I’d describe my recent experiences as nothing short of barbaric.


This week and last, I painted a pub. And, you know what, I managed to do a decent job. The place looks like a pub, rather than a pub pretending to be a cafe.
A little more work is needed to get it right, and I neglected to take a picture at the end of last night’s decorating shift, but it’s pretty much there now. Anyway, I’m now in a pub other than our pub. And it’s nice. And I can have a pint without thinking I might need to nip behind the bar if it gets busy. The guy who’s singing here has also played in our pub. He’s ridiculously good.

Christmas shopping

Well, I’ve now officially started some Christmas shopping. Like I used to do years ago, I opted for the hell that is the Metrocentre, with the aim of picking up most things in one go. Naturally, that hasn’t happened and a return trip will be needed. Anyway, to ease the pain, I’m currently with a pint in Wetherspoons, before returning home. Which I would generally do years ago, too. More recently, though, I’d have a quick pint afterwards working in the van, which is a convenient ten minutes’ walk from here. While that would have been through August, and maybe a couple of days in early September, it feels like a matter of days, rather than months. Apart from the drop in temperature, of course. I should probably call-in to check the van, but the last couple of nights’ working in the pub have taken their toll and I feel really sleepy. After working through the night, I’ve found it difficult to sleep during the day. Still, my labour is starting to pay off.
And, apart from a couple of small finishing touches, the accommodation above the pub has worked out well.
I’m pretty happy with the end result, particularly since we have our first bookings.

Pub II

I’ve been quiet lately, I know. Much of my time these past weeks has been spent in decorating and odd-job activities. These include renovating a flat, repairing chairs and bar stools, adjusting a door closer, removing a deceased dishwasher and making useful things. I’ve only changed two kegs, but I recently tapped my first cask (that might not be the correct term).
I’ve moved quite a few kegs and casks around, in and out of the cellar, and have occasionally served on the bar. Although I didn’t really know what I was doing. Anyway, enough of the routine of pub life. And a little more about the pub. The Schooner, originally the Ship Hotel, was built around 1880. I’ve not been able to learn much of the pub’s history, but it was the subject of a film in 1967, The Ship Hotel Tyne Main. This clip was taken from a compilation of pub-related films; I’ve not had a lot of luck in locating a copy of the full film. More recently, the pub featured in a TV commercial. The exterior is only very briefly visible, in the first few seconds, but the remainder was filmed in the bar. I’ll write more about the pub if I’ve time to look into its past. Meanwhile, some old pictures.

Kill the Beast

A bunch of us went to see Kill the Beast’s Director’s Cut in town at the weekend. It was a little mad, but fast paced and genuinely funny. Admittedly, the production had probably only caught our attention because of the Felix Hagan connection. But I’ll certainly looking out for future tours.


As of yesterday, I’m part owner of a pub. Well, I do spend a lot of time in such places, so I may as well make it my job. This pub.