When I was a lad my older sisters used to tease me a lot.
It’s tempting to spill the beans and tell the world who these nasty girls are, but I will keep their anonymity safe by refering to them only as Sister A and Sister B.
While me and Sister A sat quietly watching the latest episode of Kojak, Sister B – who I thought was out in the back garden doing cartwheels – would stand behind the door and make a scratching sound on the paintwork with her fingernails.
‘They’re coming to get you,’ Sister A would whisper in my ear.
‘Who?’ I’d reply, with a pained expression.
‘The Scratchers. They coming to take you away,’ she would add in a sinister tone.
To put it bluntly, I’d crap myself at the thought of being carted away by these strange creatures known as the Scratchers.
Nice girls, my sisters.
Thirty-odd years on, I walked through the doors of the Three Lions, Farncombe and stopped in my tracks when I saw a chap getting the stage ready for a gig and splattered on the wall in big white letters behind him was the word SCRATCHERS. It sent a shiver down my spine.
Thankfully, these days I can resort to booze to help settle my nerves and I opted for a pint of Shepherd Neame’s Late Red (4.5%) before sitting down and taking some big deep breaths.
However, I needn’t have worried. It appears Scratchers is the name of the live music nights for which the Three Lions is well-known locally.
The boozer has that lived-in feel that you’d expect from such a venue. It was quiet on my visit but I gather from my West Surrey spy that it can get pretty busy once a gig gets underway.
The walls of this pub are plastered with posters advertising up-coming gigs featuring such sinister sounding acts as Swampsnake, Brass Knuckle and Malfunction, but on the flip side there’s a certificate of merit on display from the 2000 Godalming in Bloom competition in which the Three Lions was highly commended for its floor display.
The windows have a lattice design, there are tankards and horse brass hanging from the low ceiling and beams, and a roaring fire crackled every-so-often, all of which lent a traditional air to the place. Well, that’s hardly surprising considering there’s been an ale house on the site for over 300 years.
There’s plenty of seating and a pool table which gets moved to make way for the live music but sadly I didn’t hang around for the gig. I had places to go, people to see, beers to drink and Scratchers to avoid, you know how it is.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY…
ADDRESS: THE THREE LIONS, 55 Meadrow, Farncombe, Surrey, GU7 3HR. www.thethreelions.net
ATMOSPHERE:** It was quiet. Q Radio was playing in the background as the wisecracks at the bar attempted to raise a smile from the barman but they only succeeded in cracking themselves up. Those guys are the funniest people they know.
DECOR: *** Exposed brickwork is always a winner with me. Some gig posters gave the place a gritty feel.
SELECTION: *** The usual Shepheard Neame staples such as Spitfire (4.2%),Kent Best (4.1%) and the seasonal Late Red (4.5%) are always worth a go.
PRICE: ** £3.50 for a pint of Late Red is quite enough.
SERVICE: ** It was OK, but a smile wouldn’t have gone a miss from the chap who served me.
HIGHLIGHT: The crackling fireplace on a winter’s evening and, I can only assume, the live blues nights.