There’s a pub I used to drink in years ago. It’s called The Blackboys Inn. I wonder how long that’ll last…

A great spot – the Blackboys Inn near Uckfield in East Sussex

It always goes too far doesn’t it?

Of course the Black Lives Matter campaign is right and justified and will hopefully achieve what should have been achieved decades if not centuries ago.

But like many of these campaigns, it has been infiltrated by intolerant fundamentalists who want to abolish, well, everything.

I lived in England in the 70s in a place called Uckfield in East Sussex.

Nearby, there was a pub called The Blackboys Inn.

Disgraceful eh? (I’ll get back to that.)

It was a mad place at the time.

The man who ran it was called Sandy Johnson Smith and eccentric doesn’t even begin to describe him.

He had a sign outside saying “Coaches welcome” but if a coach came near the place he’d run out and tell them where to go.

He refused to serve anyone with a beard.

And one day, when a colleague and I dropped in for a pint, Sandy asked us if we’d mind keeping an eye on the place for the afternoon as he was off to watch some local cricket match.

“Feel free to help yourselves to a pint or two,” he said as he left without waiting for our answer.

There were two other men at the bar. And no sooner had the door swung closed than of them was over at the till looking at its contents.

“Ah here lads,” I said. “We can have the free drink. You don’t have to rob the poor man too.”
He sheepishly closed the till and sat down.

“Sorry,” he said. “It’s just that we’re both a bit short of money. We were only released from Lewes prison this morning.”

So Sandy had left his pub in the capable hands of two ex-cons and two journalists both of whom like a jar.

The lads, in fairness, had a few pints and left and we had a few more until Sandy returned from the cricket…and offered to buy us a pint each.

Oh. The name. The Blackboys Inn.

I have no doubt there will be those calling for it to be changed immediately to Nelson Mandela House or The George Floyd Inn.

But hang on. There’s a story behind the name.

It is called The Blackboys Inn, and has been for more than 500 years, because of the colour of the boys who emerged from the local wood and went in for a drink after burning charcoal for the day. They were always covered in soot!

The pub is believed to be haunted and there are various stories as to the identity of the ghost (Thought to be female).

It is possible that the inn was also founded as an overnight lodge for the drivers transporting charcoal from the local woods to Lewes and other towns.

But of course there’s another reason for closing it down altogether. Isn’t there always?

A visitor – actress Vivien Leigh

One visitor to it, when she lived nearby, was the actress Vivien Leigh who was the star of that, eh, dreadfully racist film, Gone with the Wind. Her ashes are scattered in the mill pond in front of the pub I’m told.

And if that’s not enough, it’s located close to an area called Tinker’s Park.

Will I organise the protest march or will you?
We can have a pint or two afterwards in the…

…oh. Sorry.

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