Dave Hadfield: Watching England get taken for a ride in the Padstow home of the ’Obby ’Oss

Parking the Bus column

When I phoned the Golden Lion in Padstow at the start of May, it sounded as though the World Cup final had already started and was being played in the bar.

“Sorry,” a voice on the other end of the line shouted above the din. “Can you phone back when we’re not as busy? And the credit card machine’s gone missing. It’s bedlam in here.”

It was nine o’clock in the morning – a little early for uncontrollable merriment, even in Cornwall. And then it struck me. It was 1 May – ’Obby ’Oss Day.

The ’Obby ’Oss, a large, decorated figure that leads the crowds through the streets of the town in Britain’s most famous May Day celebration, lives in the Golden Lion.

The other thing Padstow is famous for is the Rick Stein seafood empire. The TV chef has a number of outlets in the town, ranging from arm-and-a-leg expensive to almost affordable. I head for what might be termed the Rick Stein Chippy.

One thing it doesn’t have is a Uruguayan restaurant. A Montevideo Bar and Grill on the Quayside would have solved my World Cup viewing issues at a stroke.

I had been through several towns and cities where finding a screen would have been no problem. After England versus Italy in Ludlow, my itinerary took me through Hereford, which for me denotes the Mappa Mundi – no bus routes marked – and Ronnie Radford’s strike against Newcastle in the mud at Edgar Street, arguably the most famous FA Cup goal of all time. Not such uplifting times for the Bulls these days, with the club just kicked out of the Conference for not paying its bills.

From there, south-west through Gloucester (with a side trip to Cirencester, where the first pub proudly displayed a sign reading “No TV, No Football”), Bristol and Taunton – where I subsisted on cider but there was regrettably no cricket at that rare asset, a town-centre county ground.

Someone was playing at the County Ground. Unfortunately it was Rod Stewart.

After the delights of Barnstaple and Bideford, there was a mixture of locals and visitors making their way through the door in Padstow marked ’Obby ’Oss Stable.

“Suarez, you’re a toss-pot,” they shouted, along with the more tactical “Don’t give it to he!”

Like every bar in the world, there were two old blokes agreeing with each other that they wouldn’t have rolled around like that if they’d been shot by a sniper.

When Wayne Rooney equalised, however, one of them threw himself bodily at the screen – no small feat when it was on a bracket above the dartboard.

But don’t expect general pandemonium in Padstow, a place where international sport denotes surfing down the coast at Newquay and where the walls in the public bar that might hold pictures of footballers instead feature photos of a man dressed as a horse. As for this, it was pretty exciting, but not quite ’Obby ’Oss Day.

Dave Hadfield’s account of his journey, “Route 63: Around England on a Free Bus Pass”, will be published by Scratching Shed early in 2015. scratchingshedpublishing.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living