Tuesday 8th May – During the sporadic days when solar rays grace le jardin Strachan, we bequeath our chromatic sanctuary the moniker Owl Bar. The source of this nome de plume the long-standing nickname (Owls) my kids and me bestowed on wife Karen.

A term of endearment borne from a time in the 1990’s when my spouse sported a pair of large framed spectacles from the Deirdrie Barlow collection. Gigs that included within it’s component parts more glass than the Hubble telescope.

These large frames and her little nose giving the missus a resemblance to a nocturnal Strigiform. The nickname accuracy strengthened by the fact my missus’ night slumbers lacking longevity, along with the fact she enjoyed a staple diet of voles and field mice.

As alluded to earlier, this 1990’s nickname has stuck with Karen for 20+ years. A term of endearment from son Jonny, daughter Rachel and yours truly which she appears to happily embrace…….. Apart from the one time at the dining table in 1999 when she screamed “FOR GOD’S SAKE, WILL YOU STOP CALLING ME OWLS!”

Actually, coming to think of it she probably loudly exclaimed those words on several occasions in the first few years we addressed her with the nickname. Eventually, though, she embraced the moniker – The consequence of verbal attrition, in addition to knowing I was too self-indulgent to desist from utilising the name.

owl bar

As it’s opening hours are dependent on good weather, the capricious West Yorkshire weather ensures Owl Bar is regularly bereft of staff and patrons. Times when the pub sign rattles forlornly against the bracket adjacent to the kitchen window. Swinging in the inclement meteorological conditions, similar to Cornish pub signs in old monochrome smuggler movies.

When it is open, though, Owl Bar is my sanctuary – A domain of solitude where I draw inspiration and inner peace from it’s kaleidoscopic borders; along with the comfort of knowing there’s no last orders.

A Garden of Eden minus snakes and apples. Although, at least it boasts Sat Nav co-ordinates, making it significantly easier to locate than God’s garden.

Eden, the meeting place mentioned in chapters 2 & 3 of the Book of Genesis. I’m a bit rusty on my bible studies, but I think chapter 3 refers to the period after Peter Gabriel left and Phil Collins took over the vocals…..Don’t quote me on that though!

Before I go any further, I’d like to clarify that when Owl Bar’s doors are open it’s patrons aren’t always moved to indulge in an alcoholic beverage. It’s comprehensive menu of liquid refreshments also include tea, coffee, marmite, Bovril, water, fruit juice, milk, lactose-free Irn Bru, nut-free Tizer, gluten-free Dr Pepper, belch-inhibiting cola and belch-enhancing lemonade.

I got the pub sign from Amazon. I had to make a small compromise on the purchase as my wife is nicknamed Owls, unfortunately I could only find a ‘Owl Bar’ signage on the hallowed website of plenty, resulting in the suffix ‘s’ being conspicuous by it’s absence…….. One in the eye for those who claim the online retailer can secure anything you desire.

I’m sitting in Owl Bar as I write. In front of me I have a white coffee without sugar or taste….. I think I’ll stick to the pinot grigio from now on!

Karen is adjacent to me perched at the periphery of the patio table. As I type she is amusing herself by spinning her head 360 degrees and pecking away at the rattan surround of her chair.

It’s midday and Owl Bar is empty apart from the missus and yours truly. Perhaps I need to revisit my strategy for welcoming patrons – Maybe my mentor Thenardier’s approach to greeting customers isn’t so great after all!