Tar Barl’s..

Here we go; 2014 is well an truly celebrated. Ours kicked of with a trip to Allendale for the fire festival commonly known as the “tar’barl’s”.. or to use the Queens English. . Tar barrels.

It was my first time and didn’t know what to expect, so with that in mind we set out early and arrived just after 9pm.

The town square had a brash bonfire constructed on top of a sand base to protect the tarmac, there was a crowd control barrier set back some twenty feet from it and not much else. …

So Mrs R and myself duly purchased an alcoholic beverage from the middle pub, not wanting to be bias to the other two and stood outside. ..

The build up was interesting to see. .. all manner of folk in fancy dress and all of them brilliant. .. Each milling around the three watering holes and mingling with the ever increasing crowd, untill the pubs had to stop entry. … one in one out was the order.

At eleven forty five the band struck up…. a sure sign the festival had begun. By this time the town square was full.

All of a sudden there seemed to be an increasing amount of light emanating from beside the co,op.
And that’s it barl’s alight and hoisted onto the heads of the guisers the procession began.

From the co,op down past the pubs, up then back down the main street and returning to the square, whereupon the guisers stood around the bonfire at precisely midnight they turfed the contents out and lit up the sky with sparks and smoke. There was a chorus of auld lang sine and the bonfire roared into life. . Well worth the effort of going. ….. would be even better if I could have had more than a pint. ..

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New years day.

Now for those of you who know me, you will know that we started of our married life of in Wark some twenty five years ago. Back then pub opening hours where more social, you knew when it opened and when last orders was. Back then, an effort was made to be out together. The whole village seemed to turn out and mingle in the three pubs and sports club, also the licence was usually extended for the day which made for good craic. Each pub would buy the first pint for you as you went in and there was always lashings of free grub on offer.
This always made for a great day if not a drunken one.
Now we moved out of Wark after seven years, not far away but we never got back to a new years day in the village until this year.

Although Wark is a social place and we’ve been at the pubs on many occasions, it struck us this new year that the licencing law has killed the social aspect of the pub.

Gone are the characters that would sit in corner playing Domino’s supping a half pint with a whiskey chaser. Gone is the stream of folk that come in then join your company for that all important catch up only to move on and then be replaced with others.

The contrast to me was epic, the one or two in the bar was just a shame. Mind you we still had a catch up with them and enjoyed the craic. .

I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and New year. … all the best for 2014 and may your resolutions hold fast.

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