As a title I think that is the first time I have managed to use those words together, yet that kind of sums up the morning I had today.
The Tan Hill Inn is a pub steeped in history. High up on the moors in North Yorkshire, it’s one of those places where it is a pleasure to get stranded, largely thanks to the staff and the famous Black Sheep Ales they serve.
However, as I’m sure I’ve said before, Tan Hill Inn is no ordinary pub. It’s unique. One of those rare to find places where just about anything can happen, and ask any of the regulars or staff and they’ll tell you it usually does.
Most people know it for the double-glazing and solar panel adverts off the TV, but the media spotlight hasn’t spoilt the character of the people or the place at Great Britain’s highest pub at 1732 feet above sea level. So when I was asked to get a photograph, I knew where I would be heading, though as usual, nothing really prepared me for what was to come.
My mission this morning was to get a photograph of the pub with the flag of the Falkland Islands outside as part of a campaign on Twitter to support the self-determination of the islanders. However, my plan of checking it was ok with the staff and getting a quick photograph of the flag draped over the tub under the pub sign quickly unravelled. Whenever you pull into the parking spaces outside the pub, you kind of expect a little weirdness. Not too long ago a bright orange tracked vehicle (think tank, but with a passenger cabin rather than a gun) was the company car parked outside. I’ve seen the place inundated with Minis and Morris Minors before, as the more ‘normal’ motor-bikes during the summer months. This morning there was a Peugeot Rally Car. Nothing out of the ordinary you may think, except that was parked next to Starsky & Hutch, who were next to the Trumpton Fire Brigade, who were next the USS Enterprise. In the other direction lay a Batmobile parked opposite the Ghostbusters. A bit unusual for 10:30am in the middle of nowhere on the moors, on a Saturday morning. A man dressed as a ballet dancer crossed the road and went inside.
I went into the pub and it was packed. Teas, coffees, bacon sandwiches all round, with the staff taking it all in their stride.
Standing at the bar with a mug of coffee, I turned to my left and asked a Ghostbuster “Stag do?” (That’s possibly the weirdest sentence I’ve ever written.) Without interfering with my Protons, the Ghostbuster told me they were fundraising for Tabitha’s Toys, a Weardale based registered charity set up in memory of Tabitha Lees-Moore to help other children with Edwards Syndrome by providing sensory toys and environments. Feeling a little weird on the drive to Tan Hill in explaining what I was doing, I had been out-weirded in fantastic style by this lot. I went on to tell the Ghostbuster what I was up to and seizing the moment asked if they would allow me to take a photograph of them below the Tan Hill Sign. They agreed, but I suggested to avoid a riot we should wait until they had finished their bacon butties.
Walking out to the car to get the flag I passed a rather tired looking chef. It’s fair to say his morning had been busier than expected. As we both looked at the assembled cars I said “Only at Tan Hill eh?” Through his laughter he agreed he was just thinking the same. So here they are, “The Tan Hill Mob” as I’ve called them, posing with the flag of the Falkland Islands to support the islanders’ right to self-determination.
So thanks to all for being photographed. Let’s hope that the government of Argentina realise that the islanders have the Ghostbusters, Starsky & Hutch, Spock, Mr Wharf, Batman & Robin, the Trumpton Fire Brigade and the rest of guys supporting their right to self-determination.
N.B. The Legal Bit: The people pictured in the photograph all took part in their capacity as private individuals, not as representatives of the charity.