Everyone Welcome

If I've given the impression that the Knights was just for bikers and trainee drug squad policemen, far from it. We catered for everybody, hippies, rugby supporters, well, it was the Glorious Seventies of rugby, - and even people in suits if they behaved themselves! However, we did have a ban on Skinheads, they didn't get on with the bikers, and I didn't like their politics. The only Skinhead in the pub was my brother Ray, and he was a natural. At the end of our first season, we realised that all our hard work was paying off. Our customers now knew that a great time was to be had at the Knights, and we had a great crowd of regulars. They in turn had good booze, backed up by some of the best sounds in the area, and a safe environment for young first time drinkers. We now had to think how to attract winter customers. This we did by putting on live music, for which we employed local bands a couple of nights a week. We also had a popular quiz night, organised by the late John Long, whose name belied his size, - he was a very small chap, but a real character who is sadly missed. Talking about real characters reminds me of Johnny Scrumpo, who though long gone to that great scrumpy orchard in the sky, lives on in my mind as a happy go lucky chap who never had a bad word for anyone. I was moved enough to pen a moving epitaph in his memory! Johnny Scrumpo, character and clown, Except when sober, is never down. He laughs and sings, and dances the rumba, And brings the house down when he shouts "Akumba!" Day and night he's in my place Always a smile on his face I dread the day when Johnny will fly To that scrumpy orchard in the sky, On his tombstone, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, If the beer doesn't get me, the cider must. (And it did just that!) Another one who got away was Black Beryl, in these P.C days, no one would be allowed to call her that, but that was the only name by which she was known then. Anyway, in her youth, Beryl was apparently a slim Polynesian beauty. In her later years she had developed into a real character, wearing the most way out clothing, and was always recognisable by the most enormous hats, which she sported. Beryl was also a renowned cook, and her ample figure was a good advertisement for her culinary skills. Another happy soul livening up that great scrumpy orchard in the sky! Looking back over the years, I can say with sincerity that my customers were, on the whole, a great bunch of human beings, not only did they all help each other, but were very concerned about what was going on in the world. They were generous to a fault and helped the pub to raise a lot of money towards different charities. There was of course the odd arsehole, but these were soon rumbled and given the order of the boot, but on the whole, the youngsters were a pleasure to serve. During the day they were just average hard working people, but they all enjoyed their evenings and weekends, and boy, did they know how to do that! It was wonderful to see them coming in wearing their outlandish clothes and weird hair do's, though I have to say, the girls were even better!

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