Saturday, 27 September 2008

Admirable signs

Red Admirals and Speckled Woods rule our butterfly roost these last, sunny days of summer. So I was chuffed to spot a pub called the Red Admiral yesterday, far away from Leeds on the Cumbrian coast. It's better known to older people under its former name of the Boonwood, in Gosforth near Seascale, which in turn is near the big nuclear plant at Sellafield which, as you probably know, is near Barrow.

You need a lot of 'near's to define places in quiet country areas like this. The discovery got me Googling for other Red Admiral pubs and there are plenty. Is there some sort of crossover with naval heroes, who often decorate pub signs? One of the ranks in the old Royal Navy (we're talking Hornblower and Lord Nelson, now) was based on the red ensign, so your official title might be Rear Admiral of the Red. The best web page I found involved the Red Admiral in Runcorn, known locally as the Addy, where there's a vigorous online debate between critics and partisans of the current landlord. Is it a top pub, as some say, or a bad joke (the dissenting view). Click on and join in.
Moth pub signs? Well, there are several Gipsy Moths and one or two Tiger Moths. But they honour a yacht and a biplane. Genuine insect discoveries welcome.

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