Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Days Of Wine And .....


Called in for a lunch-time drink at the Ring O'Bells in Halifax yesterday. Sat in that old eighteenth century inn - there is said to have been an inn on the site from the fifteenth century - enjoying a pint of Barnsley Bitter and leisurely reading the morning paper I felt at peace with the world.

The Ring O'Bells stands at the gate of what used to be Halifax Parish Church and is now Halifax Minister (how it received its ecclesiastical promotion, I know not). The current building, which was originally known as the Sign Of The Church, dates from 1720. Until the last century it formed part of a ramshackle collection of tenements and back-to-back houses, but redevelopment stripped it of its neighbours and left it with a rather inside-out look to it. It is supposed to have a resident ghost called Walt or Wally, but I saw no sign of him unless it was that odd chap with a Tesco bag full of old rags sat at the end of my table. The West Yorkshire Paranormal Group did an investigation of the ghost last year and conducted an extensive interview with him, but if you believe that you will believe that Anheuser-Busch brew a decent pint of beer.

My feeling of being at peace with the world was slightly disturbed when I started reading the quotations and homilies pinned to the walls. These were hand-written on blackboards and designed to increase the ambiance and feel-good factor. One, for example, stated "Reality is an illusion caused by a lack of alcohol", which was mildly amusing but hardly original. Another stated "When I read about the dangers of drinking I gave up reading". It was the third notice which caused me to drink up my pint rather quickly and make a swift exit. The signs were written in a kind of mock handwriting and it wasn't always possible to distinguish individual letters. In particular, it was all too easy to confuse a "w" for a "ur". The off-putting sign declared (I think) "I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food".

11 comments:

  1. i saw the title and thought you were going to celebrate a rose is a rose is a rose lady!!

    love stumbling on that little bits of humor in establishments....funny signs, isn't that last quote from julia child!

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  2. Confuse ur with w.... Funny, Alan. Looks like a delightful place.

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  3. That last quote is Julia Child, I believe. With a pub walls as soaked with history and merriment as those, the contrived added ambiance of the signs probably isn't necessary.

    I like the way the church rises out from behind the pub. At first glance, it appears a part of it. No doubt there were many who were patrons of both!

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  4. Well, at least you were just having a pint and not actually eating anything cooked there! Now I'm trying to imagine handwriting so horrible that "w" looks like "ur".

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  5. WC Fields.

    Although why you'd want a WC in a field is beyond me.

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  6. Probably written by Floyd, the TV chef who died a little while ago, he used to cook with wine (quick slurp or three) and was also known to add it to the food.

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  7. Oh, you know I do love a good ghost story. I had three extensive phone interviews a few years ago with a well known TV paranormal show. I think they decided against filming a segment at WM since I wouldn't say we felt physically threatened by our friendly ghosts.

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  8. I havnt been in The Ring Of Bells for ages.Good to know it's still open (was it closed or under threat recently?)Infact ,My Sister-in-Law was thinking of buying it at one point last year!
    Yes,I,ve heard the Ghost Stories.I 've never been sure if that is likely to keep people away or pull'em in?
    by the by,I was drinking in Halifax last night & i saw that Lewins in closed at the moment.Very Sad.

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  9. The liquid added to the food would certainly make it aromatic!

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  10. Sorry I wrote that. I cook with wine, but sometimes I forget to cook

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  11. My favourite pub in the area was the now defunct Withins Inn, up on moors on the way to Oxenhope. Used to go there often when I lived in Halifax for a walk and a pub lunch.

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