I joined Westland Helicopters in Yeovil after successfully bringing Rolls Royce to its knees in 1971 – it took five years while I did an engineering apprenticeship but it is a big company
Anyway, one of the guys in the office lived in the small village, Sandford Orcas, about four miles to the east of Yeovil. The only way into the village was via single lane roads with the odd passing place and ten foot high hedges and/or banks on either side.

The Mitre, Sandford OrcasThat’s his house on the right at the centre of the picture. The building on the left is the village pub, The Mitre.

During the long warm summers (and the dark winters) we used to go there quite often for some lemonade.

I was a late starter as regards drinking. When I arrived in Yeovil I was not into “bitter”; “mild” was a bit better but the preferred drink was bitter shandy. As shandy can be very gassy I could not drink very many of them and so missed out on many rounds. This had to change so during my stay in Yeovil  I gradually trained myself to drink pints of bitter. This acquired skill has been useful ever since.

At 11pm, if there were any “new” faces in the bar, closing time would be called and the bar closed. Once this happened the locals would slowly drink their last pint until such time as all the “new” faces had gone. Then, the bar would re-open and the festivities could continue. Rumour had it that the pub was often frequented during these times by members of the local constabulary.

One of the songs around at the time was “In the Summer Time” by Mungo Jerry. Somebody had made several “swizzle?” sticks (i.e. bits of wood with bottle tops nailed on plus the odd ribbon) which were shaken or banged on the floor every time the record was placed which I seem to remember was quite often.

[Sandford Orcas]


06 April, 2010 


Fri 28 Sep 2007

Wed 12 Sep 2007

  • Reworked for Family Only Area.
  • Various corrections.