Sunday 4 June 2023

The Abbey Inn is open again

The Abbey Inn at Byland Abbey has opened it doors again as it is the Banks family from nearly Oldstead who have taken it over. Tommy Banks you may have heard of is a chef and likes cricket. It is nice to know that it is no longer shut. I went along the other night to eat with a friend who was staying with us. We both opted for the burger as the Banks are farmers and have their own meat. I was interested to see what they had done inside as over the years as it changes hands every new tenant put their own slant on it. The best days for me were in the 70s when Mrs Bush owned it and it was something like no other - she did lock ins and told the policemen to as it was "opening hours" then and the police were keen to stop late night drinking. Opening hours in Mrs Bush's eye were she opened when she wanted to and closed when she had had enough of the drinkers . A character who kept pigs in the back yard. With every round that was bought, you could stay as long as you bought Mrs Bush a drink. She had her own bottle a rare whiskey that no one else was allowed to taste. Probably twice as much in cost as Grouse or Bells. Up to the whiskey optic her glass would go and the unsuspecting person buying the round never knew that what they were paying for was cold tea that filled the whiskey bottle. Of course the locals knew, but that was the price they paid to drink into the early hours. I studied this the first time or two when I went in, but was warned never to question it.If I had I would never have been allowed over the door step again. Why Mrs Bush never ever seemed worse for wear ,not the slightest wobble on when hardened drinkers were rocking about. It was her domain and she ruled it with a rod of iron. She put up with women going in, but she preferred the mens company. I didnt go in until was 21.It wasnt the late night drinking which attracted me, it was the farmers son who lived next door .... Jack lived next door grwoing up there as a lad and it was nearly his second home. There are so many wonderful tales to tell about Mrs Bush. All I could think when I was in there ,was I wonder what Mrs Bush would make of it all now. She would have certainly spoken her mind. The door where the police used to hammer on to try to get in was built up many years ago. I am sure she will come back once in a while to have a look round especially when it is a full moon as it was the night I was there. It wont be through the entrance they use now, but through that side door that is now built up. God Bless you Mrs Bush ,they dont make souls like you any more. It was such a privilege to have known you.

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