A couple of hunting stories that I have just been reminded about.
The first was at a particularly busy meet of the Exmoor Foxhounds at the pub. The hunting was not considered to be particularly good in our piece of Exmoor because of the raging East Lyn River and the very steep wooded slopes, consequently the pub was doing a roaring trade with nobody particularly interested in anything other than a token hunt at closing time.
The bar was packed and an array of young horsey girls were holding the more lively horses the rest were tied to the railings.
There was an almighty crash and the main door flew open and a full size horse barged straight in looking for his owner who was standing at the bar. The horse being substantially larger than most people had obvious right of way and headed for Tom nursing a pint of beer, Tom continued drinking and the horse stood there for the next hour in a packed pub. I was concerned in case the call of nature took it’s turn, because there was no way that it could ever have got into the Gents Toilet.
The second story was that we were very honoured to be invited to a Hunt Cocktail Party at oneof the local Manors. My Wife and I went like Lambs to the Slaughter to this beautiful old Manor House. Cars everywhere the place was packed, inside it was like the Emergency Wrad in a large hospital, we had never seen so many collectively damaged people in a confined space, crutches, plastered arms and anything else that could be plastered, black eyes etc.
The Hunt must have tested the medical profession to it’s extreme limit. The injuries had absolutely no effect on their ability to drink and whatever medication they were on, it was a complete disabled riot, the food was terrible and great fun.
For the Anti Hunt Brigade it would have been a terrific advert to ban hunting, the cost to the medical profession far outweighed the smoking problems.
A conclusion to my speeding ticket incident that I received before I bought the pub had an unusual twist. I was standing in the bar about eight months later on a dull Winters evening and a couple came in.
The man asked me if I remebered him, which I did not, he said that he was the policeman that gave me the speeding ticket. He was a customer so I had to be polite and asked him how he was, he replied that he had been off work with a bad back ever since he had given me the speeding ticket. I jokingly said that my mother was witch and my father was warlock and got a blue effigy out and stuck pins in it and we all laughed.
I saw him three months later and he was in a plaster cast, I had got a second speeding ticket in Bristol and I told him that I had got the blue effigy out again and had stuck some pins in it and that another policeman would be in a plaster cast. He smiled and had a guarded laugh.
Since he was not working he became a regular customer, he was off work for the whole of the time that the endorsement was on my licence and he said to me when he went back to work that he didn’t know whether I was joking, but he would never risk giving me a speeding ticket again.
He also ensured that he became a very regular customer, he wasn’t sure what might happen if he went somewhere else????
We survived for four years with the total madness of Exmoor, the pub was successful, the bizarre antics of customers and almost unbelievable stories, were the same but slightly different each year.
My brother-in-law left the Merchant Navy and decided that he wanted to buy the pub and after due negotiation we settled on a deal, much to my Wife’s relief since we had four young children and a fifth on his way.
The rigours of late night drinking with the farmers and working flat out during the day, made me wonder whether I was verging on becoming an alcoholic.
I declined any form of alcohol for two weeks and had absolutely no side effects, much to my relief.
We then retired to Cornwall for a year before buying some more pubs and crazy businesses, I am sure that I will remember the odd humorous story to insert in this epistle and I hope that you have enjoyed our antics on Exmoor. I personally think it is something everyone should do, my Wife disagrees of course.