She loved everyone, and we loved her. There was no jukebox, and basic food. This was not a food pub. This was a drinking and talking pub. God knows, we did a lot of both.
It was almost in your job description that you'd go to the pub, as if I needed an excuse.
I'd rarely leave without an exclusive for the following day. Councillors, lawyers, they all knew where to find me, and they always did.
He had no books to read, no TV, meals were delivered to the door, and if he needed to go to the toilet he had to knock on the door to summon a member of staff. He told me this was known as Pindown. A year later, the word would enter the British vocabulary. I can't recall the exact sequence of events, but I know I contacted a lawyer friend, Kevin Williams, explained the situation, and within days the High Court in London granted an injunction halting the practice.
To cut a long story short, the Children Act was amended in Parliament, senior staff in the department were moved or sacked, and the "victims" sued the county council. It was front-page news in every paper in the UK for more than a week, and it was stopped. The story of a lifetime which cost me a cigarette and a glass of Coke.
The first news bulletin was at 7, the last at 1.
The pub closed at 2, so my friends would have at least five pints lined up for me when I got there at around 1.30. I'd get home around 2.30, eat Christmas lunch and then nap for an hour, before starting to drink again with family and whoever else we'd invited round for the day. I had it all worked out well.
A great show, we loved it and the crowd loved it. Afterwards we went backstage to see him, and were introduced to the others.
When Davy unexpectedly died a couple of years ago it was a huge shock. It was a pleasure and a privilege to know him.
I was putting my first bulletin of the day together at around 5am, when the phone rang. Unheard of on Christmas Day. It was the police media man, telling me there was a huge story and I'd better get a reporter in. A taxi driver, Steven Johnson, had been murdered overnight at the village of Mow Cop. This turned into a huge story, and only recently has there been a development. A man's now on bail, 24 years on.
People move on, people die. I'm sure it's probably still a good pub, but when I was there it was a great pub. It was as much a part of the community as the church next door. It was a home away from home for me and many others, who I've now lost touch with. This is the back of the print, with signatures.
I'd be long, long gone if I did. If you enjoyed reading this, give me a Facebook "like". If you haven't, I'm sorry, but it's the best I can do. I've enjoyed writing it here in the Queensland sunshine, looking back on those great nights, with great people, in a great English pub. Cheers.