First rant of the year

I have to say that I’m beginning to dread the Christmas and New Year period. Let me be more specific. I’m beginning to dread Boxing Day and the first of January.

For the past few years December 26 seems to bring some kind of major incident somewhere in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people have died due to catastrophic earthquakes, tsunamis and mud slides. The killing of Benazir Bhutto (and many others in the aftermath) was the day after Boxing day.

On a more personal and of far less devastating consequences, the first day of the year has variously seen my skis stolen, friends going AWOL and just when I thought nothing was going to happen this year, the end of the current tennancy and closure of the Puzzle Hall Inn in my home town for the foreseeable future was announced at a “hair of the dog party”. This unique public house was once described in a national newspaper (alas, I can’t remember which or when) as a bar that everyone should experience before they die.

Increased local competition and invariably the smoking ban (which was cunningly circumvented on New Years Day by dint of the bar holding a private party) have been blamed by some. I think it has much more to do with changing public attitude to the culture of the local bar and downright greed of local councils and pub companies. New environmental health legislation also recently put pay to the weekly curry night that had spanned 16 years and 45,000 curries.

The bar will probably open once again but a unique place such as this needs a special character running it. If nobody is found who can make it work then I would think it’s a fair bet that the building will be demolished and the land sold for housing as is seemingly de rigueur these days.

A few tears were shed that night (and it was a long night – the last person left at 0530 the next morning) but there was some fun thanks to the musicians Kirk McElhinney, Becky Taylor and others who played at the hugely popular live music nights and festivals.

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