When is say “ by the River” I mean by the Severn which runs through Gloucestershire. These two buildings have looked like this for years. The one at Leckhanpton Hill, from where on a clear day you can see the River. The other close by the River in Purton. Top photograph taken in 2008, bottom one around two years ago.
What I like about these images and places is that they don’t seem to change much. The old farm buildings at the back of Leckhampton Hill have looked like that for years. The farmer uses them but has no need to do much more than store a bit of hay in themk. There is a former waterworks building near to here that has been ‘ampersanded’ which is my word for gentrification. The place is now a huge house and is a massive statement on how bloody successful the owners are. It goes without saying that all their paint will be Farrow & Ball. All the soap in the cloakrooms will have an ampersand in the brand and the toilet seat will never be warm from a previous visitor as there are multiple cloakrooms to choose from. Even the toilet seat brand will have an ampersand in the brand name between two German sounding names, though it will have been made in China. The house might even appear on telly in one of those programmes that seem to make you feel inadequate. It’s value will have multiplied as a result of its telly exposure.
The house in my picture, close to the Severn, very close. It’s in the village of Purton. It does not get a lot of passing traffic and gives the appearance of being closed. It’s not. It apparently opens when the owner can be arsed to. I like that. There’s another such pub further down the River where the owner opens when he feels like it. I’ve been past it several times and it’s always been closed, the exception this year when Robin, my walking pal, and I found it open. No one else was at the place on a sunny afternoon and because of Covid we could only be outside. The landlord was outside the front too enjoying his own drink, bottled only available. We loved it. The one in the picture here I have never seen open, perhaps they open it late at night whenever the chance of anyone venturing near, won’t.
These pubs will have no “ampersand” involvement. They could almost have a sign to go with the fading tourist recommendation sign they have from1974. It will be an ampersand with a Red Cross going over it. Soap will be a block of what looks like lard,which has a label that seems to hang on to the soap even when it’s not much bigger than a postage stamp. You will never see a new soap in a place like this, the word soap dispenser is not in their dictionary.You’ll dry your hands on a towel roll with a real towel that rolls around. You’d be wise to use your trousers instead. The water into the old basin will only come out of one tap, the cold one. Get used to it, this is real life.