Those of you who have been around a while, and have been following my rather random journey as I dip into the large resource of lost hostelries to drone on about, may well recall me saying that upon my arrival in Derbyshire, at the start of the 1980s, I lived for a short while in very close proximity to the Carib in Derby before moving on. If not, you can read about it in this post. Where I moved to was a shared house in the Normanton area of the city. One of my new housemates, to save him from embarrassment I'll call him Andrew...
No. Bugger it! I'll call him Andy. I've always called him Andy. It was he that felt that he'd become a bit old and responsible to be called Andy and dumped the diminutive. If he's embarrassed by that, then sorry but tough!
As I was saying, one of my new housemates was called Andy and we soon discovered that we shared a lot of common interests. In the years that followed we spent a lot of time in the mountains together. Wales, Scotland and the Lakes here and also in various parts of the Alps on skis. We went to see Springsteen together, we played squash together and, of course, he took me to a lot of pubs where we drank a lot of pints together.
Years passed, jobs changed. I married Mrs Bygone Boozer – Andy came to the wedding – and moved to south Derbyshire. Andy went to work in Sheffield which necessitated a move northwards. He settled on a place in Eckington and we would often visit him there. We'd usually choose a weekend after his parents had been. That would pretty much guarantee that the thickness of the dust on the carpets was at its minimum before increasing in depth until it was time for his folks to stay again.
These weekends would usually follow the same pattern. We'd arrive on Saturday afternoon, nip to the Derby Tup in Chesterfield before moving along the road a little for a Begum Behar or similar in the Star of Sall. Sundays would entail a leisurely start, then Andy would put a lump of dead animal of some kind in the oven on a low heat before he took us to either the Butchers Arms in Marsh Lane...
...or the Yellow Lion in Apperknowle.
When the roast was almost finished we'd head back to Eckington to finish it off in a different way.
Years passed. Mrs. Bygone Boozer and I moved up to the Peak District. Andy moved to Hereford, then to Ketton in Rutland, on to Peoria in Illinois and back once more to Ketton. We kept in touch whilst firstly the Yellow Lion...
...and then the Butchers, shut up shop.
What's brought on all this reminiscing? Tucked up during my Covid-induced bed-rest, not having heard anything from Andy for a couple of months – he usually makes some comment about my posts – I started tapping the keyboard.
"And another one gone and another one gone..." If we allow Freddie to continue belting out John Deacon's lyrics...
"And another one gone and another one gone, another one bites the dust..."
And that's just it. Another one has bitten the dust. My digital digging threw up something of a shock and an explanation for Andy's recent radio silence. Just like the Lion and the Butchers he's gone too. Gone! Dead and buried without even telling me. And I'm sure that it was his round next. He wasn't even three years older than me. I think I need a beer.
And the moral of this tale is to make the most of your friends and pubs whilst you can, for you never quite know how long they'll be around to enjoy.
Dr Andrew Neil McGilvray. 1953-2022. Thanks for introducing me to all those Derbyshire hostelries. And I'm sure that it's your round next.
Neil Theasby's image is copyright and is reused under this licence.
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