A Darts Match in Tyacks

Categories Cornish Dialect0 Comments

Albert by Matthew Bond, a Camborne boy in his first year at Oxford Brookes University.


Trevor Dalley is a Cornish raconteur – a writer of stories. He was taking part in a creative writing class when Albert suddenly appeared on his shoulder, as it were. Joey, another of his characters, is based on a folk singer. Ernest is based on his uncle Ernest who had to give up work in his late thirties and had silicosis written on his death certificate when he was sixty-seven – here he has a new lease of life. Monty is based on a guy who frequented Praze Pub when Trevor was in his late teens and early twenties: he would be tighter than a tic with his first pint and then would be the same for the rest of the evening, no matter how many he’d put away. Anyway, they all feature in this, our first of Trevor’s fact based tales.

Trevor was 80 on the 22nd of this month (February 2024). In his inimitable style he celebrated it with some thoughts about the occasion:

The older I get the less I like birthdays.

But on reflection it’s a remarkable achievement,

At conception, it was I, of millions of potential siblings, who won the race.

At previous attempts, how many countless embryonic kin were casually flushed down the toilet?

I emerged triumphant nine months later, on my birthday!

I’m one in a million … at least!


Albert and Joey stepped out of the minibus onto the tarmac of the hotel car park. “I dunno bowt yu boy but I’m chacking,” said Joey.

“The answer to that, pard, is in the bar, so comoson I spect Uncle Ernest is in ‘ere already” replied Albert.

Meanwhile the rest of the minibus passengers from the Cutters Inn at Mawgan had also alighted from the bus and were hurrying into the Tyacks Hotel, Camborne, where they were due to play a darts match. As usual, Albert and Joey had come along for the ride and had arranged to meet Albert’s Uncle Ernest for a boozy evening and, as Albert put it, “a bit gab” in the Coach Bar.

They hurried into reception where they were greeted with an aroma of roast lamb. “Ansome smell here,” he remarked to the young lady standing behind the desk.

“We’ve a large party celebrating a birthday,” said the receptionist grinning. “Roast leg of lamb,” she added.

“Partial to a bit o’ leg meself,” replied Albert, giving her a lewd wink. She giggled.

Joey said, “Comoson Albert she’s young nuff be yur bleddy daughter, let’s get a pint”.

In the bar they found Ernest up to the bar and settled happily on a stool by the window. He was engrossed in conversation with another elderly man but as soon as he caught sight of his nephew he grinned with delight and called over to them. “Alright are e boys? I’ve saved a couple of stools fur e. Come and meet my old pal, Monty”.

“Pleased to meet you,” Albert and Joey chorused.

“Likewise, boys, likewise,” Monty rattled off. He was a little man with a wizened face partly obscured by a tweed cap. A tie of indiscriminate colour was loosely knotted around a badly frayed shirt collar; a navy jacket was buttoned tightly about his small frame. He stood, swaying slightly but on feet that in contrast seemed to be planted firmly to the floor.

Ernest gasped, “Monty ‘ere wus tellin’ me bowt the ‘istry of this ‘ere bar, you tell em, Monty pard”.

“Well see, this bit we’re standing in ‘ere,” he said waving his hand expansively around him, “at wan time was nawthin do with the Tyacks tall see, nawthin tall. In fact twus a plaice called the Unicorn. The Unicorn wus wan of the oldest plaices wur you could ‘ave a drink in the town, e wus yeo”. He habitually emphasised his rapid speech with his index finger. “See they columns outside do e? They wur the entrance to the plaice an’ the bar then wus on the right, on the right as you cum into the plaice,” and he emphasised the direction with his right hand, and his body veered dangerously in the same direction. “Cept the counter”. He then waved and swayed toward the bar and said, “this wun ‘ere then see, the bar they days fayced the street outside. A ansom women kept the plaice in the forties and fifties. Beauty she wus, ess she wus yeo, she wus on ‘er awn cause er ‘usband wus lost at sea durin’ the war, merchant navy you naw”. He paused for a breath and then drained his glass.

This prompted Albert to say, “Comoson drink up, another round please mate,” he said to the barman. They religiously watched in silence as their glasses were refilled, Monty took a sip of his beer and then, “I got shake hands with the devil fur a minute,” he said turning and made his way a little unsteadily to the gents.

“Strewth,” said Albert, “the bugger don’t half gab sum quick dunna?”

Ernest laughed and said, “he’s always like that yeo, an’ I tell e what e’s tiddly after his first pint an’ then he kin drink all evening an’ be naw bleddy different”.

Monty tottered back to the bar and grinned at the trio, “thass better yeo, thass better,” he rattled off. “Now, fore I tell e the rest of the story I want e all to ‘ave a look out the window ‘ere”. They dutifully did as they were told and Freddy continued, “If’n yu look up the street yu kin jest bowt see the plice station at the end of the road , can’t e, see?”

“Ess, we passed un when we cum in from ‘Elston, dinnus?” said Joey.

“Well, wan day in the late forties it wus a busy morning an’ it wus nearly closin’ time an there wus a regler left on ‘is awn a sittin’ up to the bar an’ e wus well away as usual. Parrently the doctor ‘ad told un e ‘ad drink less so e wus drinkin’ from a ‘alf pint glass stead of the usual pint. Course e ‘ad ‘is glass filled up twice as bleddy fast diddna, silly bugger. Missus wus tidying up and replaicin’ the empty bottles on the optics an’she niver seen un comin, she did’nt”.

“See what?” asked Joey.

“Well, see in they days parcels used come down on the train, see, an’ Camborne Railway Station ‘ad a siding fur goods trains; ess all gone now pard, all gone. So every day they’d deliver to the town with a ‘oss an’ cart, no bleddy vans then pard, naw naw naw, naw bleddy vans. An’ that summer wus bleddy hot I tell e, hot! Do yu naw they said e wus so ‘ot that rabbits ‘ad their ‘eads ‘anging out their ‘oles gaspin’ fur bleddy breath”. He grinned and took a pull on his pint. “Now on this wan day ee’d bin a ‘ot wan an’ this ere ‘oss that wus pullin’ the parcel wagon ‘ad a sore shoulder see an’ e wus proper teasy e wus. Now this ‘ere fellow who wus drivin’ ‘ad dropped a parcel in the Market ‘ouse Inn an’ ‘ad stopped in there drinkin’ see”. He swayed toward the window and pointed up the street. “Now, this ‘osse’s stable wus in Wellington Road just around the corner from ‘ere an’ e bein’ teasy like, e decided to go home on ‘is awn diddna. So off the bugger went, trottin’ round in front the town clock see but e went too bleddy fast diddna an’ the weight of the wagon behind en carried en across the road an the shafts went straight through this window ‘ere.”

Monty see-sawed on ‘is feet and once again pointed wildly back at the window behind them. “So, in cum the ‘osse’s ‘ead through the window, niver hurt a bit e wad’n, so when missus turned round there wus the fellow drunk as a lord niver noticin’ the bleddy ‘oss who was right next too en. She said after she ‘alf spected fur the old fellow to say I’ll ‘ave another of they maid, an’ wan fur me friend ‘ere”.

But they say she screamed instead.

All three collapsed with laughter as Monty, triumphant, swayed precariously in front of them.

“Bleddy ‘ell Monty you better ‘ave another pint after that lot,” said Albert.


Trevor Dalley, taken in the Directors Carriage of the electric train that goes from Palma to Soller, Majorca.

I was born at Praze (see Coronation Cottages on YouTube by Sarah Chapman), went to Crowan Primary School, Helston Grammar School, and left at 16 to work with my father in his greengrocery business. I started my own business at 21 and was self-employed until I retired at the age of 69. I founded Camborne Trevithick Day in 1983 and was chairman of the organising committee for twenty years. I was made a Cornish Bard in 1994. I took over the chairmanship of Trevithick Day in 2014 but have now retired and made an Honorary Life President. I was a member of the Camborne Town Council for several years and presently a member of The Camborne Town Deal Board. I began creative writing about fourteen years ago and when the West Briton had a real editor I had a monthly column.



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