During the Second World War my father did his bit for the cause by working as a mechanic during the day and serving in the civil defense forces before and after work. He was a member of the LDV (which officially stood for the Local Defense Volunteers, but was universally known by its members as the "Look, Duck, And Vanish"). He used to tell me that each morning before he went off to work, he would have to patrol the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near his home in Shipley to make sure that German submarines had not sailed up the fifty-mile long canal during the night. Just how German submarines would have managed to get past the eighty-odd locks between Liverpool and Shipley he never fully explained to me : "ingenious buggers, them Germans", he would say knowingly.
I like to think that I carry the wooden rifle of family tradition as I (along with my trusted guard-dog Amy) patrol the local area on a regular basis in search of signs of incursion by the forces of darkness which attempt to rip the heart out of the very traditions that make us proud to be British. I speak, of course, of the curse of pub closures. This morning my monthly patrol was enlivened by both a bright and clear Spring morning and the knowledge that I had just joined a Flickr group called The Dead Pubs Society which gathers together pictures of pubs that have passed on to the other side. If one of the six pubs on my monthly perambulation had gone under, at least I would be able to submit a photograph - a kind of death-mask I suppose - to the group.
But, I am glad to report, all six seem to be alive and well, all six received the tick of good health. Sadly it was too early in the day to call in for a drink in each : I will save the pleasure of such an expedition until The Lad and I have some time for a little father-son bonding. Then we can go round all six, have a quick look inside to check things are OK. a quick drink of ale, and then move onto the next one. "Look, Sup And Vanish" as my father might have said.