THIS WEEK’S MEETING, Wednesday 03 January

We held our first non-Thursday meeting in December – we now meet on the FIRST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH. It’s impossible to avoid clashing with events in Otley’s pubs, as there’s something going on every night of the week. It might be live music, quizzes, darts or pool, or just sports coverage on TV, so we haven’t changed days to keep out of the way! It’s just easier for most of the committee to attend on a Wednesday night, so we hope you can join us as well. We know it’s very VERY soon after the holidays, but this is where we’ll be:

THE OLD COCK – Meeting at 19:15; social from 20:00

THE RED LION – Social from 20:45

NORTH BAR SOCIAL – Social from 21:30

Starting opposite the bus station in Crossgate; then along Mercury Row and turn right down Kirkgate; finishing up back round the corner on Bondgate. Easy – see you there!



No, this isn’t the same as ‘Pub is the Hub’ that I mentioned in the November newsletter. The Pub Hub is a website set up by a group of web marketers and web designers who, like ourselves, want to #saveourpubs. There are other pub finder websites of course – CAMRA’s whatpub.com for instance contains almost 36,000 separate listings! This one however encourages individual landlords to describe their own pub, in their own words, with up to 50MB of photos, and they get a dedicated page on the website. There’s a map-based search function so it’s easy for people to find each pub, and the best thing is it’s absolutely FREE. So if you are a landlord reading this, why not check out how to get your free entry and register your pub now! If we could get all the pubs in Otley on the Pub Hub website in time for our Yorkshire Day/Yorkshire Celebrities event next year, it could certainly help to bring even more visitors to the town, spending even more money in the pubs!



Talking of our Yorkshire Day event, we’ve now had responses from 5 of the 21 celebrities chosen to have a pub named after them. I’ll keep you up to date throughout the early part of 2018 with more details of who we hope will be visiting. I was really excited to receive one particular response by email last week .  .  .  that we’ll be releasing soon!! It began –

“Dear Bob Brook –

How absolutely wonderful to have a Yorkshire pub named after me!  I could not be more pleased .  .  .”



Yes, I know some of you are already groaning – either because it’s about Twitter, or because it’s a ‘best of’ list – or probably both. But bear with me, this item on Boak and Bailey’s beer blog is worth 5 minutes of your time. Whether it’s to read that Virginia Woolf enjoyed a few glasses of wine with her mates; or to see Dr Who on his way to the pub; or to agree that the best motto to live by is “If at first you don’t succeed, anyone fancy a pint?” Just give it a go.


 Sounds ridiculous at first, doesn’t it? But the machine that’s been installed in Nottingham doesn’t require money to operate it. Those in need can obtain a free card from a drop-in advice centre, which allows them to choose up to 3 items a day from a range of food, drink and hygiene items. What do you think – a great way of providing essentials to people without a home, or [as some have said] enabling a street lifestyle by making it easier for people to sleep rough?

You can read more about the idea in this Guardian article.



By the time you crawl out of bed on the 1st of January [if you’ve even been to bed] and head off for a crisp afternoon walk up the Chevin, alcohol will possibly be the last thing on your mind. Not everyone ‘goes mad’ over the fortnight up to Hogmanay, but wine with the meals, boozy nights out with your workmates and drinks at family parties can make this the time of the year when your unit per day intake is at its highest. I do recognise that it’s bad for publicans when everyone cuts back on their drinking all at once, but you have to think of your liver as well!

So there are options for cutting back on the alcohol without cutting back on going out, or on the pleasure of enjoying different drinks. You can choose reduced alcohol wines for instance, instead of the ‘full 15’ reds you’ve been knocking back in December. You can get low alcohol beers and lagers [with an ABV between 0.5 and 1.2%] if you usually drink in pints or halves. And if you’re a cocktail drinker, you can get non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ in many bars and restaurants nowadays. If they aren’t on the menu, just ask for your usual, but without the alcohol! Just look at some of the available options, like a Virgin Mary or a Sparkling Pom Collins on the DrinkAware website. They also explain about low and reduced alcohol options, as well as how to ‘reset your tolerance’ to alcohol, if it’s been building up throughout December! Just remember, whatever drinks you’re buying – buy ‘em down the pub!



You might have read this quote, or part of it, elsewhere:

“FROM the towns all Inns have been driven: from the villages most. . . . Change your hearts or you will lose your Inns and you will deserve to have lost them. But when you have lost your Inns drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.”

What you might not know, is that it was written by a Frenchman – Hilaire Belloc – who became a naturalised British citizen in 1902. The inns that he was specifically writing about were those in what he called ‘South England’. The passage appears in a book called “This and That and the Other” written in 1912, in a chapter called ‘On Inns”. [You can read the whole chapter – it’s only 11 short pages – online here.] He also writes –

“For the truth is that inns . . . are the mirror and at the same time the flower of a people. The savour of men met in kindliness and in a homely way for years and years comes to inhabit all their panels . . . and lends incense to their fires.” I think he liked them! And although we live in God’s Own County, there is also a special beauty about the Downs in ‘South England’, which is tied in with nostalgia and what makes things ‘quintessentially English’. I think Belloc might have liked Terry Pratchett’s stories about the young witch Tiffany Aching, who lived on the Chalk Downland and brought ideas of responsibility and guarding the community to the personality of a witch, along with being a herbalist, a midwife and a person ‘who knew things’! He might also have liked this piece of music, because as the Inns were disappearing, so were the Downs themselves, and the songs and the old ways of rural living that went with them.



Whether you’re intending to spend the evening [and early hours of the morning] in your favourite pub, or at a house party with your friends and family – or both – I hope you have a wonderful time. 2017 was a bit messy and argumentative in a Political sense, both at home and abroad. Financially, not many people at all finished the year better off in real terms than they started it. And of course there were two horrific major terror attacks in London and Manchester, and more around the globe, that left families devastated locally, nationally and internationally. I’m sure we all spent some time during the year thinking of them.

We’re always optimistic at this time of the year, and here at Otley Pub Club we are especially looking forward to a year packed with fabulous events. I’ve mentioned them all before, and I’ll continue until each one’s come and gone – 2 separate stages, and days, of the Tour de Yorkshire coming right through the centre of town in May; a whole month of celebrations in June for the 300th anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth; and our own Yorkshire celebrities event on Yorkshire Day, the 1st of August. Throw in the Burns Night Ceilidh; the Otley Show; the Carnival; the Food and Drink Festival; the Folk Festival; the Vintage Transport Extravaganza; the Walking Festival; the Beer Festival; the Victorian Fayre; and of course the 21 pubs. Why would you want to live anywhere else?

[Well, living by the sea would be nice. More sunshine and warmer weather would be good. A railway station would make it much easier to get around .  .  . ] OK, STOP IT!! We’ll see you next year!



Just before I was about to publish this invitation, I noticed an article in the Wharfedale Observer that I thought I’d share. It was an appeal from Yorkshire Ambulance Service [YAS], asking people to ‘drink sensibly’ throughout the New Year festivities. Otley Pub Club repeats this sensible drinking message quite often in any case. We know everyone can get carried away now and again, but please remember that last year, 2,800 of the 999 calls received by YAS in December were alcohol-related. Ambulance crews attending those calls might not be available to attend life-threatening emergencies elsewhere, so enjoy yourselves, stay safe, and start the new year by doing your bit to help the emergency services!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

 27 December 2017

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