I’ve been learning a whole new language since I moved to Cumbria, the latest word being flartching. Before you try Google translate, don’t bother. For all you offcomers there’s a dictionary at the end. And FYI it was my dog that was described as a flartch not me, but to be fair we’ve both been known to flartch to get our own way. Other words that have now entered my vocabulary include ratching, laal and lonnin. I’ve even uttered ‘aas gan yam’ once or twice but I might have had a few… Now I wouldn’t skelp you for assuming that Cumbrian words were corruptions of English words, I used to be feckless too. But according to historians Cumbrian isn’t a dialect it’s a complete language. You only have to hear my neighbour Harold yammering with his old pals if you need evidence. But what’s this got to do with interior design you’re thinking? Well stop your twining I’m getting to it.
Joe Fagan is a proud Cumbrian, Cockermouth born and bred and a local businessman. He is also the landlord of The Swan Inn in Cockermouth and I’ve been helping him with a refurb.
When Joe took over the pub he just gave it a quick lick of paint, but after a great year of increasing customer numbers he wanted to show the regulars his gratitude and invest some of his own money in smartening up the place. His brief was quite clear though, we needed to retain all the character but tidy it up without it being unrecognisable to the regulars, i.e. a change without change. We also needed to acknowledge the various communities that used the pub, which included rugby fans, a brass band, folk singers, the quiz team and scrabble fans. Some brief eh? Shall we start with a few before images so you know what I was working with?
- Original beams
- Original sash windows
- Natural zones – two lounges, a bar area and TV/darts room
- A few good pieces of furniture
- Lots of nice prints and photos of the local area
- Some vintage paraphernalia we could use to accessorise
- Bright red, chipped paint
- A mixture of REALLY ugly lights
- Some cheap pine furniture
- Faded curtains covering the windows
- Horrible pub carpet
- A jumble sale of cheap picture frames, dying plants and crockery
- Horse brasses…..
Want to see it now? Well come on into the bar for a deekabout, just watch your napper.
Much more inviting me thinks. Now lets move from the bar into the lower lounge, rarely used before but now much more popular. We moved all the old pews down there which really helps with the layout.
It’s also much brighter without the old curtains and you can now see the lovely sash windows.
Come on through to what the regulars are now calling The Library. You wouldn’t believe how many people have admired the new bookcase….
Pub goers love a good conversation point and this wallpaper has certainly given them that.
Obviously the new lights have swan necks, and I’ve added a few swans here and there. This pair came from a shop in Lisbon of all places.
I pillaged all the local charity shops for old books to scatter round the place as I love the character of an old book. If you pop in take a closer look there are some great reads among them.
This is one of only two lights that survived as it makes quite a nice feature between the lounge and the library.
I often tell customers that if there are 10 things they want to change but can only change 7 the other 3 won’t look so bad anyway, and this is definitely the case with the upholstery. Yes it is a little worn but it should be in a pub this old.
So this is ‘band corner’ a small area we have dedicated to the local brass band. The alcove has been papered with some very discreet musical note wallpaper, and there are pics of the band and a few instruments on the wall. They love the umbrella stand which I am told is an E-Flat Base not a Tuba.
I think the transformation is most obvious in the TV/Darts room. We’ve decorated with old pictures of the local rugby team and a few vintage rugby items. I let Joe keep one pub mirror but only because it has the local Jennings brewery on it.
The regulars love the new toilet signs. They also serve as a distraction, I don’t think anyone has noticed I’ve taken down all the horse brasses.
The bar rules are my favourite addition. The football lads can get a little rowdy you know…..
The signs above the arch are actually essential. Not for me and the landlord, us being a little vertically challenged, but the signs make everyone else take note before passing through. Keeps the accident numbers down.
So what do you think? Fancy a pint?
You should pop in if you’re in the area. Mr W tells me that Joe keeps the best beer in Cumbria and he always has time for a crack with everyone.
Cumbrian – English Translation
- Flartching – flirting
- Offcomer – non-native of Cumbria
- Ratching – rummaging
- Laal – little
- Lonnin – lane
- Aas gan yam – I’m going home
- Kelp – slap
- Yammering – speaking quickly and unintelligibly
- Twining – complaining
- Deekabout – look around
- Napper – head
- Crack – gossip, banter
- Lasses – women
- Marras – in West Cumbria women refer to their male partners as marras but its also a general term for mate or friend
- Grotting, gollering and brawling – spitting, shouting and fighting