So. On 18th April, Jonathan and Jane, owners of the Isis Farmhouse pub — home to the Bastard English Session, and most of my alcohol consumption — sold the establishment to Noreen and Adrian. I have met them. They are folkies. They do a mother of a version of ‘Come On Eileen’. But that is a tale for another time.
I remember the first time I walked into the Isis and thought: ‘This would be an amazing pub for a session’. So much of the session’s success is down to the shape, layout and general war-torn personality of that room.
But at least as much success is down to Jonathan and Jane themselves, who have been not only supporting but promoting the session for more years than I can remember. From that time when the 50 Morris dancers descended on the pub and started dancing inside, to the time when a very drunk and distressed ex-soldier (and all joking aside, with some legitimately serious demons to deal with, I don’t doubt) started to accuse us of being responsible for the deaths of his friends, to the great outdoor Delilah party boat sing-along, to a million and one emotional crises and people storming out in a drunk rage or tears or euphoria or all of the above. Oh yeah, to the time when Hannah and I had our wedding there.
Admittedly, the flip side is that, at some time or other, Jonathan has barred pretty much everyone I ever met. A friend told me recently that they stopped by the Isis for a farewell drink just before it was sold, and they mentioned to Jane that now all of the people who were barred could come back and drink! And Jane was apparently amazed, and said… “We’ve never barred anyone, have we?” And Jonathan just stood next to her, chuckling.
That said, they have both been really supportive to our little boatie community too, and Hannah and I were particularly touched and a little amazed to learn that Jonathan and Jane had actually specified in the contract with the new owners that the session must continue there!
So wherever the two of them may go, we wish them all the very best.
Actually, we know exactly where they’re going: they’re moving next door. So they still have to put up with 50 people singing ‘Living On A Prayer’ at the top of their lungs every month, but now they no longer collect any beer money from them. Not entirely sure they thought that through…