This is one of Mr Thorburn’s best lines in the book and I much enjoyed doing the drawing for it.
What a wonderful name for a pub instead of all those faux trendy slug and lettuce places.Brand managers take note, this one’s a winner.
The Surly Old Git
….is exactly as it was when its purpose in life was to cater for the eager, laughing crowds coming off shift from the drop forge. Now, hidden away on the canal bank, mid city, between the back of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Yeung Chow Chow Fan Wholesale Warehouse, it has two sorts of customer: regular and unwary.
The regulars, mostly journalists, are there in the hope of witnessing a Heritage Moment, when a stranger walks in and catches one of the last genuinely baleful glares left in the British leisure industry. The facial expression they are waiting for should have its own brown sign on the motorway.
Infallibly, it is induced in the eponymous landlord by a new and insensitive customer’s recitation of the following lines.
‘Ah, mine host! A foaming pint of your finest draught mild, if you would be so kind. Very well then, I shall have bitter. Yes, the smooth will be fine. And a spritzer for my good lady here. Dry white wine and soda. Ah, right, well, a cider would be excellent. Or, indeed, as you say, a half of smooth. And what flavour crisps do we have this fine day? Two packets of pork scratchings, of course. Could you just top that pint up for me, please?’