Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Betty Turpin

spoiler alert: this post makes reference to the Nov 22 episode on CBC

Corrie Heart, special alcohol correspondent, Weatherfield Gazette

Rovers Return - Four score and ten years ago, Elizabeth Macdonald was born. No, hang on a minute, I mean Elizabeth Turpin. The rest, as they say, is history. Pint-pulling legend, Betty Turpin, has been serving the punters of Weatherfield for many decades, the longest-serving barmaid in Manchester according to the Guinness Book of Records (no, not that Guinness, the other one which makes the dry stout). Her first recorded lager was served in 1969.

That's one small skinful for man, one giant bladder full for mankind.

"I don't want a fuss made about my birthday," said Ms. Turpin, on duty as usual at the Rovers, "at my age, you ignore all birthdays. keeps you young."

Ms. Turpin recalls her tenure at the Rovers which included many regimes from 'Queen' Annie Walker to 'Leopard skin' Bet Lynch. Her serving of alcoholic beverages has remained constant, her duty to booze unflappable - even during the Blitz.

"Well, the electricity was off so we couldn't tell whether the glasses were clean or not, but we served 'em anyway," she says. "...just like today."

Rovers' regulars share an unabashed pride and affection for Ms. Turpin and her living lager legacy.

"My yes, she's a fine bit of talent," said Ciaran McCarthy, who claims he's a Rovers' regular. "I'll be pursuing that one, so I will. If I’m not back in thirty minutes, make your own plans. Wait? You're talking about Michelle, right?"

Along with the mayor's new teeth, this story of lager longevity is sure to captivate punters and readers alike. This vivid history of catfights, regular fights, dart competitions, skiving, hen parties and extreme drunkeness is a testament to pub history to which Ms. Turpin has been a personal witness.

"Some things never change behind the bar, you know," says Betty. "But never a dull moment."

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