I don’t know if there’s any connection with the aforementioned pub sign showing a man and a devil, but the village pub in Grosmont is called The Angel. I could maybe work in a line about non angli, sed angeli if I tried, but I don’t know if it’s worth it – anyway, it’s a great local pub and last night as I met a couple of the inmates I found out some of the history of the place.
Above the bar there’s a sheep’s head. Not a real one, you understand, but a reasonably convincing one at that. Turns out the sheep’s head is a prop from a film made a few years back and set in the village. Mick was scratching his head trying to think of the actor’s name: I assumed, being a low-budget film, it’d be someone obscure. First he came up with Damien Hurst until his wife pointed out that the sheep’s head was misleading him there; then, not really believing it would be him, I came up with Damien Lewis. ‘That’s him!’ they cried triumphantly. ‘Really? Damien Lewis? Blimey!’
‘Yes, they said. ‘And that Michael guy. Something to do with ham.’
‘That’s right. Him.’
Bloody hell. So in a film that went straight to DVD and was set in Grosmont, they had Damien Lewis and Michael Gambon. He was very nice, apparently.
The film is called the Dandelion and they’re going to try to dig out a copy for me to watch.
Not only that, but there’s a book set in the valley as well! On the walk I took yesterday which went rather drastically uphill and then obviously equally drastically downhill on the way back, I went through a farm. Now apparently on that farm there were six brothers, none of whom ever married, and when Bruce Chatwin visited the area he was so struck by the story that he put it into a book, though he changed the six brothers into twins. ‘On the Black Hill’ is set in and around Grosmont and also features the Black Mountains, which you can see quite clearly from the road. I can’t find the film on imdb, but here’s the book:
It’s amazing what you find out when you go down to the pub!