I’m generally not the sort of person who orders a drink and stands in silence until it arrives, and much prefer to exchange a pleasantry or two with the dutiful dispenser. Bar folk are often cut from a particular cloth, so there’s often the added benefit of some amusing patter in return; gawd bless good old human interaction.
My exchanges with our latest Outside Interest interviewee have always been pleasant; Wharf is above par when it comes to genuinely nice bar staff. Then came the surprise exchange that prompted this interview, which went a little something like this:

Grafter: “Nice t-shirt”
(NB – My t-shirt has a boat on it)
I issued my two standard responses to rare compliments about my attire:
1 – “Thanks. It’s from TK Maxx.”
2 – An additional ad lib comment, in this case “I think it’s some kind of ironclad”.
This latter piece of fake news likely came from excessive playing of Civ II during my teenage years rather than any actual knowledge of boats.
Grafter: “Actually, I think it’s a Victoria class battleship, part wood, part iron”

Tell us a little about yourself and your Outside Interest.
I’m Pidge (or Pigeon), I’m the Director of a small charity as well as a bar worker, I’m a distance longboarder and I hold a degree in military history with a specialisation in naval history.

Are you able to apply this to your job in any way?
No, it’s not often that naval history comes in handy in a bar, though I have had some interesting conversations with veterans and history buffs.

What do you like most about the Leeds bar scene?
I really like the amount of people who are into the DIY culture and who are willing to step up when it’s needed. It’s not often people will offer to help when it gets weird.

And the down sides?
Sometimes you gotta be in work till 7am and that’s just not the one.

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve learned studying naval history?
It’s definitely the existence of the ‘Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Armoured Car division’ That operated during the first world war, if only for the name.
Clearly a stickler for accuracy, Pidge insisted on me sending a photograph of my t-shirt to check she was right about the ship’s identity, subsequently sending across even more in depth analysis of the aforementioned illustration.

The double stacked barbettes say armoured cruiser or pre-dread battleship; I’d say battleship, built around 1900 if not 5 years earlier.

And again some hours later…
I think she might be a french ship of the Danton-class, built 1907.
Top marks for attention to detail. Trust your bar tender, people; they may know about war!

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