Bunhill: The murky tale of Sooty and his extra-mural activities

I can exclusively reveal that scandal has broken out in the oh-so-respectable streets of Fulham, west London. Seven weeks ago, a new pub was opened by Hugh "Sooty" Corbett. It is called the Fulham Tup and it has a large mural outside of a tup tupping. Now if you don't know what a tup tupping is, I suggest you go back to agricultural college. Suffice it to say that a tup is a ram and that the result is often lots of frisky little lambs.

Mr Corbett received first a letter then a phone call from the local council telling him that his picture contravened all sorts of planning regulations and was in any case ... unacceptable. He is philosophical but determined to enjoy himself a bit more at the expense of the bureaucrats.

"I'll let them get a bit cross and then take it down," he says. "I'd like to get their blood pressure up a bit."

The reason I was talking to Mr Corbett was to find out whether he was going to make any beans out of the sale of his namesake "Sooty" Corbett, the well-known glove puppet. Sadly no, he said. He explained that one of his chums is David Bruce, founder of the Firkin chain of pubs. Mr Bruce started calling him Sooty for obvious reasons, and he rather took to the idea. All his pubs now have Sooty and Sweep in them - but there is no link between the two families.

In fact this Sooty is probably worth quite a lot more than the puppet version. He is on his third pub chain now: he started with the Slugs and Lettuces, then moved on to Harvey Floorbanger's, and has now started his Tups. The second one has just opened in Marylebone High Street.

We agreed that pub names have become pretty naff. Slug and Lettuce was fine when it started, but now every would-be landlord seems stuck in the same groove - Rat and Parrot, Toothbrush and Condom, that sort of thing.

Where did the tups come from, I asked? "I like sheep and have two tups in my paddock," he explained, and started telling me about the harness a ram wears before it tups. This Sooty beats the other one on educational value, too, I reckon.

But is he more valuable than his namesake, I persisted? "Size for size I'm not worth anything like as much," he replied cunningly.

TALKING OF David Bruce, I wonder if he knows that a shirt maker almost shares a motto with the Firkin chain he used to own. The Firkin motto, as I recall, is usque ad mortem bibendum, which means "Drink yourself to death" and seems perfectly logical for a pub company.

But my former colleague Mike Duggan has written to say that he recently bought a striped shirt made by a company called Taylor & Butler. It has a label bearing a coat of arms and this motto: usque ad morte bibendum. Note the missing "m". I may be wrong (I was once), but I distinctly remember that ad takes the accusative. In other words, the Firkin version is right, this shirt is wrong.

There is the little question of why a shirt maker should use such a motto, but Mike points out something else that intrigues. The date on the crest, MCMLVIII, appears to predate Mr Bruce's creation by a couple of decades. A mystery. Can anyone solve it?

Sick joke

Nature apparently abhors a vacuum. Well I don't care much about vacuums, but I can tell you that Bunhill abhors a blank airsickness bag. As the possessor of several hundred of same, I get very disturbed when I learn that an airline is sending passengers aloft without even the comfort of decoration on their bags.

So you can imagine how anguished I was when chatting to the amiable Stelios Haji-Ioannou, about whom you can read on page 8. He confessed that his airline, easyJet, uses blank bags. Tsk, I said, tsk, tsk, tsk, and managed to convince him that he had erred gravely.

But what should he put on his sickbags, he asked? I pointed out that some airlines promote them as film developing envelopes, others advertise airsickness tablets on them. TWA used to have a Gin Rummy score card. I also said that Bunhill's readers would think up an excellent idea that will make his bags stand out from the crowd.

OK, he said, I will give a free ticket to anyone who comes up with a real cracker. So there we have it: the Great Bunhill/easyJet What to Put on a Sickbag Competition. Enter now, and you could soon be winging your way to Nice (or even Luton).

By the way, last week's Bunhill competition had an excellent response. Many thanks to all who responded. Hold on to your zimmer frames till next Sunday to learn the result.

Money for nothing

Following up on last week's Bunhill, here are some more things to spend all your excess money on, courtesy of Benetton's Colors magazine: dinner for your dog, including a cracker shaped like a human ($5.95 - pounds 3.97 - per mutt, in Florida); toilet paper that lets you know whether your urine is too acid or too alkaline ($4.30 a roll, in Japan); a diamond-studded collar for your dog ($11,510 from Harrods); and locusts (pounds 800 a kilogram, in Scottish hotels apparently).

A story that won't run and run

A few weeks ago I reported that Paul Sykes, millionaire businessman and prospective Tory candidate for Barnsley Central, had given Studley Royal cricket team pounds 20,000 in the hope that it would give him a place in its third team.

The question has now been turned on its head. Does Mr Sykes really want to be a member of this side, which is based near picturesque Fountains Abbey and competes in the sixth division of the Nidderdale League?

Or rather it doesn't compete. It has lost all four games it has played so far and last week was all out for five runs. This is a record in minor league cricket that you have to go back to 1855 to beat. That was when Hereford was bowled out for four runs.

It must have been quite a sight. Raskelf B, the opponents, bowled five batsmen out for ducks in the first six deliveries. One of the Raskelf bowlers took a remarkable eight wickets for three runs, and its batsmen took less than five minutes to score the six runs they needed to win.

Will Mr Sykes give up on Studley Royal? I doubt if he is such a quitter - he is standing as a Tory in Barnsley Central, after all.

He sure can pick 'em: Tory candidate Paul Sykes (left) and the Studley Royal score

Photograph: GUZELIAN

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea