In the summer of ’76 a frankly podgy 11 old (un)retiredmartin set off from a flat Waterbeach to less flat Swanage for a week of crabbing and crazy golf (both are legal activities, folks), and a shared room with my sister (legal at 11).

Unfortunately all photos from that week were destroyed in a bonfire in ’79, but no doubt the Chinese have copies.

Not much has changed in 43 years, anyway.


Swanage seemed a different world to the Fens back then. It even had shops.  My big purchases, apart from 377 Lord Toffington ice creams,  were a plastic statuette of Dennis Tueart in City strip and a poster of Bjorn Borg.

See the source image
Not Bjorn

The stone and steeps would have been lost on me back then.

Away from the numbers chips

I don’t recall us going to the theatre,

Design classic

and we certainly didn’t go in any pub, even though Whitbread houses were apparently corking in the ’70s. Whether a Panda Pop would have counted as an acceptable pre-emptive tick is a moot point.

Ambitiously priced at £250.

A mere six years after that trip I was recording “A Town Called Malice” off Top of the Pops, and now here it was, being given a 2019 treatment in the garden of the Red Lion.

Better than the original, says LifeAfterFootball.

Actually, their version of Baggy Trousers was better, and they’d attracted a decent Sunday crowd of cider drinkers to the only Swanage pub I’ve ever seen in the GBG, one which I inexplicably missed on a previous flying visit on the spurious grounds it had dropped out of the Guide in 2015.

Smokers at the front door scared me off taking an exterior shot, so make do with the window.

Lad on the right is a ghost of me at 11

Another Proper Purbeck Pub, with lads and lasses of all ages.

Why are all these photos so long ?

Not much has changed here since 1976, I’ll wager.  Roast potatoes on the bar would have contained no more than 2.7 million different bacteria, the pumps would show hunting scenes, and the beer range (Otter, Taylor, Doom Bar) would have stuck two fingers up to the craft beer over the border, wherever that was.

’76 or ’19

Back in that Summer of 76 the ale wouldn’t have been as aggressively chilled as the Otter now, but the garden warmed it up to an acceptable NBSS 3, just as the band reached Lip Up Fatty. Will they be playing Radiohead in 2037, I wonder ?


16 thoughts on “A HOMAGE TO SWANAGE

  1. Fantastic! I actually prefer covers bands these days as they generally have more energy and youth than the original bands!
    Would love to have seen their version of Baggy Trousers, which is an underrated tune….
    Top post and love the Dennis Tueart piccy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have explored Swanage thoroughly & found the pubs distinctly ordinary but we had a great time -as I recall we found nice places to eat(no fusty old roasties for us ! ) & I even had some cider -probably in the GBG pub.A pleasant old fashioned seaside town in a beautiful part of the world -we will probably re visit at some time before we are too decrepit to manage the hill !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mrs & I walked a bit of the coast from Weymouth to Swanage in (May or June) 2011. I remember there being a GBG pub, and we sat outside with some “construction workers” as we would call them where we’re from. I don’t remember the beer being great, but it was at the end of a long haul, with certainly several stops leading up to it, including the gigantic aggressive cock in the garden of the cider pub … the Square & Compass. Landlord’s name was Si.

    I believe we also did Lulworth Cove for lunch. We either taxi’d and/or bussed a stretch, certainly bussed or took the train back to Weymouth that night.

    I were a drunkard then, memory’s a bit foggy. Never forget the stinking oil cliffs though…weird, that was.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Might I remind you, that in eighteen forty-three, whilst performing a conjuring trick for the amusement of his children, Isambard Kingdom Brunel accidentally inhaled a half-sovereign coin, which became lodged in his windpipe. A special pair of forceps failed to remove it, as did a machine devised by Brunel himself to shake it loose. At the suggestion of his father, Brunel was strapped to a board and turned upside-down, and the coin was jerked free. He recuperated at Teignmouth, and enjoyed the area so much that he purchased an estate at Watcombe in Torquay, Devon.

    Liked by 1 person

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