Even I’m getting sick of the rain and strong winds now! Getting up to take the dog out at 7 in the morning, when neither of us really wants to drag ourselves out to slip and slide up Otley Chevin in the mud, is becoming ever more difficult. Why can’t we have some proper fresh ice and snow, and early dawns with crisp blue skies? I even went to Riga for a weekend, where the temperatures had been as low as minus 22, only to find out that it had warmed up and it was just damp and overcast all the time I was there!FEB NEWS

Even more depressing is walking round Otley in the evening and seeing some of our pubs closing early, because the income from very few customers can in no way compensate them for the outlay on heating, lighting and staff costs if they are open all day from 11 to 11. Unfortunately, miserable weather can lead to miserable sales figures, so here’s hoping for an early spring and a long hot summer!



 I am absolutely never going to discuss this again, because opinions are as entrenched on both sides of the argument as they were on the miners’ strike; whether we should leave the EU; whether Jamie Vardy’s better up front for England than Harry Kane; and (speaking of Leicester) where the remains of King Richard III should have been interred! And of course because ultimately you’ll all be bored stiff reading about it . . .

As I’ve said before, there are real risks and undoubtable dangers in the over-consumption of alcohol. The real arguments are around whether low and/or regular drinking pose a concrete threat to our physical and mental well-being.

There was a brilliant 2 page article in the Winter 2015 Wetherspoons magazine, (which is always worth picking up – especially as it’s free – or you can download the pdf containing the whole article, from the Wetherspoon’s website) about the new NICE “Guidelines on Delaying Dementia, Disability and Frailty in Later Life.” As you can see from the title, this was not a document specifically about the consumption of alcohol, and yet it contained phrases like “Alcohol is an avoidable risk factor for dementia”; Alcohol can increase the risk of dementia”; and “There is no safe level of alcohol consumption”. It was these statements that were picked up by the media, and from which many a lurid and frightening headline was created.

However, author Tony Edwards quotes several medical and peer-reviewed research projects which prove exactly the opposite – that drinking, even from an early age, can delay or even prevent dementia. The results were particularly strong in relation to Alzheimer’s disease, and amongst wine drinkers. He also quotes the findings of three meta-analysis studies [the pooling of results from a larger number of individual research projects, the results of which might vary from one another – which is often the case in scientific and medical research.] All 3 analyses – all completely independent – from the UK, Australia and the US, found that moderate drinkers in fact showed a reduced risk of non-specific dementia. A physical study of drinkers’ and non-drinkers’ brains in the US in 2001 showed that moderate drinkers had healthier brains, with a lower prevalence of 2 classic physiological precursors of dementia.

BUT THEN, Tony Edwards asked NICE where they had got their opposite evidence from. They said they “had asked an outside expert”, [whose report, on which they based their statements, was less than one page long]. That expert was Professor Ian Gilmore – a gastroenterologist and not a brain expert – but more relevantly the president of Alcohol Concern, which is an anti-alcohol pressure group.

As I said, there will always be fixed views on ‘the demon drink’, and holders of those views are unlikely to be swayed by me, Tony Edwards or Ian Gilmore. Tony admits that although moderate amounts of alcohol seem to protect against dementia, very large amounts can do exactly the opposite. On top of that there are the horrors of liver disease and cancer from alcohol abuse – and that’s the last you’ll hear from me on this topic. [Except perhaps for this item from The Telegraph website . . . ]

FEB NEWS1 2016


 Antonio Docampo García from Vigo in North West Spain, who died earlier this year at the grand old age of 107, attributed his longevity to his drinking habits – four bottles of red wine a day, and no water. Mr Docampo liked to have two bottles of wine with lunch, and another two with dinner, his family told reporters. [Right. That’s it. Finished.]



This Thursday – 18 Feb at The Horse and Farrier. 20% off for our members, and CAMRA. More details in pub section below.



Otley’s becoming a minefield of weird acronyms nowadays. After Otley Development Disgrace, and then Friends Of Otley Lido, we now have the Give Otley its Town Hall campaign. OK, I lied about the last acronym – but the campaign does exist, and is supported by Otley Pub Club. The object of the campaign is to bring back into use the front part of the Civic Centre – the original Mechanics’ Institute with its stage and 400-seat auditorium or dance floor. Our reasoning is that the more big events Otley could put on in that large venue, the more visitors would come into town, and the more trade there would be for the local pubs! So please support the campaign – there are copies of the petition in pubs, shops, cafes and restaurants round town, or you can sign online here. The more signatures they can get, the more pressure they will be able to put on Otley and Leeds Councils to bring the building back into use.



This is mainly one for the Otley pub landlords reading this, but might also be of interest to anyone else who lives along the proposed route of the TdY this year. A member of Otley Chamber of Trade has asked me to publicise her attempt to flood the town with bunting this year. Here’s her email:

“Hi Bob
I was wondering if you could possibly share this with the pub club members and any of the pubs you support.
It was myself and a friend that made most of the bunting that went round Otley during the tour de France (about four miles of it ! ). The town wasn’t decorated very much for the first tour de Yorkshire. I am going to make bunting in the recognised tdy colours and sell it at a competitive price, to try and encourage businesses and individuals to get behind the tour. Prices are below.

1-10 m = £1:75/m
11-20m = £1:50/m
21m+ = £1:25/m
Amounts over 30m = £1:00/m

Anyone interested in having bunting or has any questions/request can contact me directly via easysqueezybaby@yahoo.co.uk or thecottageotley on Facebook.

Best wishes
Rachel Michael”



A couple of weeks ago I told you about the apparent effect on our wellbeing if we had a ‘local’ nearby. Well, as it’s Valentine’s Day this month, CAMRA are acknowledging that effect by asking people to say why they love their pub. Just go to their ‘Pubs and Wellbeing’ page, and tell them all about the love you have for your favourite Otley pub.



I know we don’t want to encourage people to visit pubs elsewhere, but a good news story is a good news story, and always worth re-telling [even if it’s in Leeds!] At a time when the country still seems to be suffering the closure of a couple of dozen pubs a week, it appears it isn’t only new shops that are springing up in Leeds. Leeds List have conjured up 3 new pub crawls – in the Northern Quarter, Greek Street and along the River Aire – visiting no fewer than 19 new bars that have opened in the last year! Admittedly these are bars, and the ones closing in great numbers are traditional pubs, but the tide of micropubs and bars can’t seem to be stopped at the moment – a similar change is happening in Bradford, and the North Bar chain are opening their latest outlet in Harrogate. You might think you don’t have the right beard, haircut or woolly hat to visit these places, but give ‘em a try. They’re just as sociable and welcoming as pubs everywhere – they just look different!



 It’s a short month, and we’re half way through February already, so although we’ve been pursuing progress on all the projects I mentioned last time, there’s nothing really outstanding to tell you about. Hopefully there’ll be some more positive news on the Roundhead front next time, but we might have to forego a Carnival float as well as a lost and found service this year, as we’ve had no offers of extra pairs of hands to help out.



As I’ve said before [probably ad nauseam, sorry!] Do keep checking individual pubs’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, and their websites [and ours!] There are so many regular quizzes, beer promotions, carveries, pool or darts days, snack offers and a thousand (?) other things that go on in Otley, that you should never be at a loss for some pub activity or other, every single day of the week. Every now and again I’ll mention some of them, but generally I’ll just concentrate on the ‘special events’ Here are just some activities coming up.



DJ Richard, last Friday of every month, from 7 to 11:30 pm


You might know about The Film Club, which shows family friendly films on the last Sunday of every month. But did you know about the ‘specials’, starting on Saturday 05 March at 8pm? It’s really worth checking here for TRHPS details!!


Latest Spring real ale festival is coming up next month, from the 11th to the 27th of March, with up to 50 beers from the UK and overseas. You’ll be able to buy three one-third of a pint glasses for the price of a festival pint, to try out as many as possible. [Not quite up to the Riga tasting tray of 4 half pint glasses seen here, but a good try!]


Now with freshly home-made food! All day Friday and Saturday, hot roast meat baguettes and chips (with gravy if you want!) for just £4:95. Then on Sunday from 3pm onwards, full traditional roast dinner for only £7 [and if you still haven’t had enough, Ian will try to rustle up some extra servings!] But do let the pub know you’re coming in advance if you can, to avoid disappointment.


The pool table’s back in the front room after all these years, so come down and try it out! And you can’t miss their new signage round the front seated area as you drive into town from the West.


Great Heck ‘meet the brewer’ event, this Thursday, February 18th. For £15 you get half a pint of 4 cask ales and 1 keg, plus a glass from each of 4 bottled beers, as well as free ‘nibbles’ courtesy of the pub. But the really good news is that Otley Pub Club and CAMRA members get a full 20% reduction!


The usual traditional music sessions, and an open mic night [first Sunday; second Wednesday; and second Friday – every month.] Still looking for experienced staff. And I think there’s something on March 17th!


Thu 18/02 – New Tap House Quiz [every 1st and 3rd Thursday] 50p entry includes supper]

Fri 19/02 – Farrago (duo)

Tue 23/02 – Open Mic [every 2nd and 4th Tuesday]FEB NEWS7

Fri 26/02 – Joe and Anne Gallagher


Showing all 6 Nations rugby, but also still showing all football on separate screens. Full programme of entertainment as usual – see picture.


Second pool table now installed upstairs, and 2 teams in the local pool league. There’s now a jukebox as well – but beware – if you don’t feed it for a while it might play random music that everybody hates!


Terrific Tuesday Menu!! 2 courses for £10 set Menu all day [at food opening times]. Please book early for Mothers’ Day, 06 March, to avoid disappointment.


Book early for Mothers’ Day and over Easter [they’ve already taken bookings for Boxing Day 2016!!] Quiz night on Tuesday, with free supper after.


Northern Soul night going strong on the first Monday of every month, bands on Saturdays, carvery on Sundays and a quiz every Thursday. Also –

Tue 23/02 – Psychic Yorkshire event, with mediums, tarot, crystal balls, angel cards and psychometry. UK’s finest psychic reader, so book in advance or make sure you come early.


Early warning that the swan will be closed for a week, from Feb 28th to Mar 7th while the new proprietor settles in. They’re also seeking new experienced staff – call in and see Chris.


Sat 20/02 – Whiskey Pistols

2 main courses for £12, all food serving times

Quiz every Tuesday and Sunday


– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


As ever, I might have missed things or misrepresented the facts, for which I apologise.  Thanks to all those pub landlords and staff who gave me their time and information – and remember, the more you give me, the more I can tell potential customers about!

If you no longer want to receive these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club, just email the return address. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just send an email to secretary@otleypubclub.co.uk , or via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

14 February 2016

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