The Drunken Duck
The Drunken Duck, Tytherton Lucas
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The Drunken Duck is a “backyard boozer” that started life as a garden project but has become a regular Sunday evening gathering place for friends and residents of the Bremhill Parish.
The bar is in the garden of Broom House1, Tytherton Lucas which was purchased by Stephen and Jane Cook in April 2003. Part of the garden housed an old stone building which had a fireplace in it (but no chimney!) and was in need of some repair. It was obvious that the building was too good just to use as a storage for garden tools and furniture, so Stephen set about doing up the building and it was incorporated into an outside patio, barbeque and entertaining area, and converted into a bar.
A grand opening took place on 3rd September 2006, at which the “Landlord” announced that he would open every Sunday evening between 6pm-8pm for anyone who fancied coming along to share a drink or two, catch up with local news and partake in a fine selection of cheeses. This has now continued for the last 14 years except for a break on Easter Sunday and over Christmas or if the landlord is away on holiday. The 8pm finish time rarely happens as visitors outstay their welcome and the calling of “last orders” is a rarity!
A name was needed for the bar that reflected the environment in which it was set, and as the rivers Avon and Marden merge just outside of Tytherton Lucas and we have a lot of ducks here, the Drunken Duck seemed a very apt name. There is a duck theme throughout the bar with various pictures, wooden and plastic ducks, and of course a proper Drunken Duck pub sign. A tenth anniversary celebration took place in 2016 when the landlord was presented with an engraved bench which now sits proudly outside the bar.
The weekly format is that visitors bring along a donation of drink for the bar, beers, wine, spirits, to share with the other guests and the landlord supplies the cheese. This tradition has developed over the years with the visitors often bringing an array of savoury homemade snacks, and quite often hot food is rustled up on a cold evening.
One not so welcome tradition that has developed is that anyone travelling abroad will try and bring back a bottle of the most unappealing and worst drink that can be obtained, which is used as “fines” for anyone who is reported as having mis-behaved during the week or is guilty of inappropriate language or behaviour on the night. The landlord often resides as judge, jury and executioner and it is noticeable that there are numerous repeat offenders.
Another tradition that we have is that several of the regulars over the years have qualified for a special Drunken Duck multi-coloured jumper. These were knitted by Stephen`s mother, who although is no longer with us, watches over us between November and March each year as the rules state that jumpers must be worn otherwise a fine is imposed.
The jumpers are also particularly useful at this time of the year as it is obviously quite cold in the bar, although a wood burning stove and chimney flue has been installed so that visitors are kept reasonably warm although thicker winter garments are recommended. During the spring and summer if the weather is suitable, we will all sit outside to enjoy the garden, and we take the Drunken Duck on tour as regulars take it in turns to host the Drunken Duck at their house and/or garden, and over the last few years we have visited properties outside of the Parish.
Mostly when we meet, we talk about life in the Parish and we regularly stray into news and current affairs. A few years ago, we decided to form our own Political Party, complete with a Party Leader (the Landlord of course), and shadow cabinet ministers, the Shadow Foreign Secretary being the one that went on holiday the most, the Shadow Education Secretary chosen as he had started his education at Bremhill School, the Shadow Home Secretary was the one with most homes, and the Shadow Health Secretary chosen as her daughter was training to be a doctor.
In recent years we decided to have our own Space Programme and to send a man into orbit but although several interesting rocket designs were submitted, this failed to get off the ground! In January 2019, BBC Radio 5 did a feature on garden bars and sent a reporter to interview us about our views on Brexit, which was broadcast to the Nation the next morning.
Sadly, the Covid19 pandemic has restricted our meetings over the last year apart from several socially distanced gatherings in the garden as the first lockdown was eased, but we hope that by Spring we can resume our Sunday night ritual and hilarious banter.
Narrative provided by Stephen Cook for use by the Bremhill History Project
19th January 2021
- The current Broome House was previously called Manor Farm Cottage. It is next door to Lucas House, which used to be called Broome House.