You have to love the class system in Great Britain, it defines who you are and helps you fit into your neat little place in life.
Well, at least that is my take on it anyway…
Mind you I’m no expert on the subject, after all, coming from the Colony of New South Wales the closest I get to an insight to the lives of the upper class is watching The Real Housewives of St Kilda.
Just for a change I am not immersed deep in the Australian Outback, travelling along some dusty track in the middle-of-nowhere under a deep blue sky, or sitting beside a campfire under the Milky Way, telling a
I am entrenched deep in the Yorkshire countryside where you’ll get a few minutes under a blue sky every hour, if you’re lucky!
It is no wonder those Chelsea Housewives have got orange tans that are more fake than their boobs.
Hey, I’m sure they really do have nice personalities so let’s not get into a class war here.
Anyway, as you can see, my propensity to digress hasn’t diminished despite being on the other side of the world so let me push on otherwise it will take me another two gin and tonics to get this story finished.
Speaking of which, I was in a small bar in Bath the other day, well evening really, and strike-a-light, they had every type of gin known to mankind and that was all in a bar that measured six-by-six feet – cozy really. But hell, who designs these places?
And how good are those Country Estates they have over here, hey?
Manor Houses, where you cross the country from east to west just to get from the front gate to the front door and when you arrive there is a bloke all dolled-up in a penguin suit to greet you.
It reminds me of that television show starring Carson and the Gang down at Downton Abbey, which coincidently is set in the Yorkshire Countryside, despite being shot anywhere but near York.
But who am I to get picky, after all I’ve told one or two porkies in my time just to suit the yarn…
Hey, let me share my story of a “Call to Service”…
There I was being chauffeured through the York Countryside when we came across a sign for Harewood House, the ancestral residence of the Earl of Harewood, inviting all and sundry to come and visit.
For a fee of course.
You know what those Aristocratic Pom’s are like, never miss a chance that lot and good for them, strewth, it costs me a fortune to maintain my shed with toys, imagine how much it must cost to run a joint like that, especially with a stable full of Bentley’s!
Anyway, here was a chance to roll up the driveway and be greeted by Carson and the Gang. In reality, we were directed to a car park in a field and Janet was heard mumbling that I would indeed start looking as portly as Carson if I drank any more pints of that warm cask ale they serve over here.
Nice one Janet, but hey I’m not counting the number of cream teas you’ve had (fifteen).
Those three gin and tonics are starting to work their magic, so best I get on with this story.
What a fabulous home this was, truly Stately, and whilst we weren’t greeted by Carson, the staff were friendly and showed us around the home, which is full of artifacts and paintings collected by the Earl’s over the years.
And you oughta see the size of the bedrooms they had in this place. You needed a map and compass to get from the door to the bed and a bloke would need a rest before he mounted anything in here, especially the four-poster, which for some reason was about about ten-foot off the ground…
Now it was pointed out that the second wife of the Seventh Earl still lives in the house and occasionally one might catch a glimpse of her, rare as that might be.
Well stone the bloody crows, just as I was about to leave who should turn up but the Countess herself, who coincidently is an Australian.
Yep, a fair dinkum Aussie, all class and no
Anyway, standing at the front door in all-my splendor, wearing my usual bond’s black tee shirt, I opened the door with all the grace befitting of the occasion and welcomed Her Ladyship home…
And with all the air of the upper class she breezed by with a slight nod, but without familiarity, as it should be…!
Welcome to service Baz, where Timing is Everything, hey!
Photos: Baz – The Landy
Ps: Janet didn’t really say that I would look portly like Carson – she’s far to nice to say that!
Aberystwth, a seaside town deep in the Welsh heartland is about as far away from the red ochre soil of the Australian Outback you could get, but it has much in common.
The locals are warming and friendly, the beer is cold, and I’m sure if you drink enough of it you’ll be able to converse in the Welsh native tongue.
The amber fluid usually finds its way around most language barriers…
Strewth, speaking of cold, it is the middle of summer, 15 degrees and the wind so strong that it’d “blow ‘ya dog off its chain”…
But hey, I’m not complaining, blimey, I could get used to this, for a while anyway!
Photos: Baz – The Landy
Ps: Did Benny Hill ever “Carry-On” here?
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
I was reminded of this eloquent quote from Hans Christian Andersen as Mrs Landy, Janet-Planet, and I took an early morning stroll in the picturesque village of Dittisham, situated on the River Dart in Devon, England.
Yes, I hear the chorus ring out…
“There is no red dust or never ending blue skies in the South of England Baz”…
Crikey, I can live with that, for a week or two, but seriously, warm beer?
Mind you, after a couple of pints down at the Ferry Boat Inn, okay Janet, three, I didn’t realise we were counting, one can almost get used to it…
“To travel is to live”.
Photos: Baz – The Landy
“Do not be fooled by simplicity, both in training and life.”
When you let this sink in you begin to realise how easy it is to over complicate life and training.
It is easy to get away from the basics and it is easy to conclude more is better, or flashier is better. Truth be told, the simple path is often the tried and true path.
Photo: Baz – The Landy
Have we gentrified our pubs so much that the life and soul of “the local” has all but disappeared?
The thought came to mind recently as I sat in the bistro of our local, a typical suburban pub in Sydney within walking distance from home.
I lamented that there wasn’t anything as simple as bangers and mash on the menu as I drank a beer served in a glass that would look more at home as a vase with a bunch of flowers in it…
Let’s face it, there is nothing better than the company of friends and good pub food washed down with a couple of schooners of Fourex. Not some beer brewed with water taken from a stream on the eastern side of a mountain in some place I couldn’t pronounce even if I wasn’t into my third schooner.
I mean, what’s wrong with a good old Fourex? Okay, VB or Carlton Draught if you prefer and a Chardy for the girls…
Perhaps I’m showing my class here, but one of the things I truly look forward to is a trip into the bush, the outback, down a dusty track where you are likely to develop a thirst that can only be quenched with a schooner or two at day’s end in a pub that is most likely called “The Royal” or maybe “The Railway” or “Tattersall’s”.
Crikey, even Janet (Mrs Landy) has been known to down a beer or two in these revered establishments!
It’ll be nothing fancy mind you, a few bar stools here and there mostly occupied by Bluey and the boys who’ll tip their hats and give you a G’day as you step through the door. The menu simple, but tasty and its okay to toss your dog a couple of scraps to clean off the plate when you’re done…
The conversation is typical, but mostly amusing, no-one is taking it too seriously, or concerned that you are wearing the right clothes, after all shorts and singlets are the go, if you like, and you’re not going to need to mortgage ya’ house when it comes to your turn to shout!
Crikey, Mrs Landy and I have enjoyed some great moments in some out of the way places in the Australian Bush, The Outback – and we might have had just that one too many on an occasion here and there, but that is usually because our classic pubs in the bush are timeless, especially when the amber fluid flows and the banter ramps up!
So tell me, where is your favourite “watering” hole, hey?
Photos: Baz – The Landy