Although I can no means have been described as a regular at The Cottage – too far away from my home being the reason – it is evident that there was something special about this pub, which was clearly a success as the landlady, Sally, is held in such high esteem by those who are regulars. I’ve only been here to see gigs, and seen some cracking ones here, usually The Vagaband have been the ones to take me to this side of the city. Sally has a special, warm friendship with everyone here, Harry behind the bar seems incredibly popular and is a really nice guy. The beers are a reasonable price and there is a great selection of ales. Another attraction was the live music. Although the design of the bar doesn’t seem like it will be ideal for band (a bit of a squeeze to get by to the garden or the toilets) something just works and I’ve seen some cracking gigs here.
Seeing off the end of this live music era were The Vagaband. This afternoon they were without Ali and Tris, but they are so flexible and adaptable that they are always worth seeing. Ever the professional Jose led the band though two or three covers at the beginning of the set and tweaked the sound and by the time they got to Itchy Fingers, Aye Aye Aye, El Molino it was perfect and the absolutely rammed full Cottage was starting to move. Performing three superb sets they finally closed the music with a poignant All Night Long, raising the roof, Hugh playing the flugelhorn as he walked out to the beer garden was almost symbolic of the Last Post.
Outgoing landlady Sally addressed the pub from the top of the bar and it was a very emotional farewell, the looks on the faces of those listening to her were full of love and admiration. She had a good recipe here, a friendly local, good beers at affordable prices, free entertainment, and most of all a sense of community and togetherness for the regulars who will miss her enormously.
words and photos by richard shashamane 2013