Monday, March 31, 2008

The Bluebird

The Bluebird is the closest pub to my parents' house so I noticed something about it that others may not: here's something missing from this pub ~ no pub sign. There used to be one. It showed a painting of Sir Malcolm Campbell's land speed record breaking car of the same name and the fact that it is missing is a little sad. I wonder where it has gone? I guess the name must date the building of the pub, too. Campbell was the first man to break 300 mph and set a new land speed record at the Bonneville salt flats in Utah way back in 1935 and in doing so cemented his place in British lore as a lengendary, and classic stiff upper-lipped, National Hero. He got a pub named after him (or his car at least) anyway!!

Altogether Campbell set 9 Land Speed Records before his death in 1949:

25th September 1924 (Pendine Sands) 146.16 mph

21st July 1925 (Pendine Sands) - 150.766mph

4th February 1927 (Pendine Sands) - 174.88mph,

12th February 1928 (Daytona Beach, Florida) - 206.95mph,

5th February 1931 (Daytona Beach) - 246.09mph,

24th February 1932 (Daytona Beach) - 253.96mph,

22nd February 1933 (Daytona Beach) - 272.46mph,

7th March 1935 (Daytona Beach) - 276.71,

3rd September 1935 (Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah) - 301.12mph.

The final version was 28 feet long and weighed 5 tons!! It is massive and if you are ever in the New Forest I heartily recommend a trip to The National Motor Museum to see it. It's a wondrous thing of great beauty and it's shape is echoed in many designs emanating from that era. It really is a design classic in it's own right and looks totally unlike any modern vehicle.

The baton was picked up by his son Donald. Who set several new records himself and was the first to break 400 mph on land and 200mph on water:


July 1964: Lake Eyre, Australia. (403.1 m.p.h.)


July 1955: Ullswater, Cumbria. (202.32 m.p.h.)

November 1955: Lake Mead, U.S.A. (216.2 m.p.h.)

September 1956: Coniston Water, Cumbria. (225.63 m.p.h.)

November 1957: Coniston Water, Cumbria. (239.07 m.p.h.)

November 1958: Coniston Water, Cumbria. (248.62 m.p.h.)

May 1959: Coniston Water, Cumbria. (260.33 m.p.h.)

December 1964: Lake Dumbleyung, Australia (276.33 m.p.h.)

His story had a tragic end with his death on Coniston Water when he crashed at a speed of over 300 mph. The boat was salvaged and his remains finally found in 2001.

I'm sorry about the song. It's awful but the video is good. Watch it with the sound down is my advice.

Still none of that tells you anything at all about the pub. It is under new management and it's about a 2 mile walk to the ground from here and to be honest he bus link isn't much good so a taxi could be in order if you overstay and overdo it. It's quite handily located for access from the A38 and sits right next to a #28 bus stop. It is also located rather handily next door to a Friary Mill Bakery which gives it much credence as a pasty buying opportunity. For those so inclined there is a Bookmakers across the road too. Generally speaking gambling isn't for me though. You can either win (in which case you always wish you had staked more) or lose (in which case you wish you hadn't bothered) ~ either way the end result frustrates.

As you go through the door to the bar you might notice the number of signs on it. It must have more than any other pub door in the city (watch this space!!). Is there anybody left who needs to see a "No Smoking" sign as they go into a pub these days? Well if they do then there are 3 here. Count 'em!! The pub itself it opens out into what is essentially a large roughly horseshoe-shaped bar with the Lounge area to the left and the Public Bar to the right although there is no division between the two sections. The pub is a bit like the Golden Hind in terms of it's character and function. It doesn't excite or inspire but it serves it's function well. It's a largish pub with a small beer garden at the back. It serves bar food which includes Hingstons Pasties (which are very nice and, in my opinion, far better than the ones from next door) and bacon butties. The pub serves real ale. There is also the possibility of catching a band there from time to time. I'm not sure how often but there was an advert outside and it looks like a regular thing. On top of which there is Sky TV which was showing the early game, a pool table and darts for those that way inclined.

We got there fairly early. It must have been around 12:30 and the pub was very quiet. We got served immediately by the young lady working there who was very efficient. Even if she wasn't I would have hesitated to tell her. She was actually what might best be described as a "strapping lass". I don't mean this euphemistically to suggest that she was over-weight or in any way unattractive. That would be both untrue and unfair on her. She was very powerfully built in the athletic sense and, for a woman, surprisingly tall. Probably best to leave it at that. Our pints of guinness arrived with shamrocks carved into the head. It's only a small thing but why do barstaff bother with this? I'm not Irish and I really don't care about bloody shamrocks. Still it relieves the tedium for them I suppose and even though I don't actually want a shamrock on my pint I don't actually mind if I get one.

As we left it was just starting to get a bit busier and people were obviously meeting up for the game and the pre-match buzz was beginning to build. Finally an observation that is hugely in favour of the place: it had an Argyle scarf on the wall and you can't say fairer than that!!


At 8:33 pm, Anonymous Scott H. said...

Might this be the sign in question?

At 11:28 pm, Blogger Babararacucudada said...

Sadly no. The old sign was similar though. Maybe an artist's copy of the same design painted onto a trad pub sign.


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