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The view from the window at a pub with rooms in Malton

When we arrived at the pub we didn’t realise that my wife had forgotten to change her phone to British Summer Time. So when we went to bed that evening she set her alarm so that we wouldn’t miss the pub’s breakfast time. However, of course, it went off an hour early!

 

Waking that early was never in our plan nor my favourite occupation. So being woken, I got up and sat at the bedroom window, looking out onto the backs of the town’s houses and their roofs. They seemed all in line pointing up to the dark green of the Yorkshire dales on the horizon as the sun started to peek into the valley.

When we registered, we were told that “Breakfast is in the bar”, so an hour after the alarm went off, we got dressed and went down to the bar. We found ourselves in a large room with a central pillar decorated with car memorabilia and hung with three big TVs, thankfully all on the same channel, though sadly not our favourite BBC channel. Only a few tables had been set for breakfast since it was quite early in the season and there were not many guests.

 

There were two other couples at table when we got there. Nearest to my wife was an older woman in her seventies with a much younger man. She had curlers in her hair, and a flowered scarf to cover them and he had a white business shirt and tie. They nodded towards us.

The couple on our other side, in response to our nodded “Good morning”, told us that they were taking advantage of a business trip to enjoy a nice dinner and a night in a hotel, but it had been 20 years since they were last here when it was a proper hotel. They weren’t too impressed with the ‘pub with rooms’ as it was now.

“Are you working today?” I asked. “Yes, it’s a Castle Howard year 7 day’s outing studying history.” “Oh, are you a teacher then?” “No, I am a Punch and Judy.” “Good gracious. How did you get into that?” “I saw a show once as a child and was captivated.”

 

“May I ask, do you use one of those metal things in your mouth to make the strange voice?” “No, I have never used one.” “Aren’t you supposed not to be a proper professor of Punch and Judy until you have swallowed one?” “Yes, that’s what they say. I nearly used one once when another professor offered me one to try. I asked him the same question and he said yes, and that he thought that the one he was offering me he had swallowed! I wasn’t at all convinced by his cleaning skills, so I declined his offer. I never got over it!”

 

We nodded, smiled, and turned back to our breakfast, trying not to think about the implications.

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