Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Several years ago I ended up running pubs by mistake. For some reason I volunteered to help out some people I'd only just met to help get the pub they'd just taken over up and running, and ended up helping to run the place instead. If I'd changed my mind and gone to Legoland instead, my life could have been very different indeed, but there you go.
Anyways, while I was working there I decided to go on a few courses to bulk out my CV, and also began to read the newsletter from the British Institute of Innkeeping on a regular basis.
One day though, my brain went off on a tangent after I noticed the BII's coat of arms, and having a passing interest in heraldry (and also an Observer's Book on the subject) I decided to work out what it meant.

I reckoned that the barley obviously stood for brewing, and a quick sniff at my Observer's guide informed me that the bar sinister, or leaning to the left, indicated illegitimacy.
Being even more curious, I decided to email the editor of the BII newsletter to see what he reckoned on the topic.
I wrote -
Dear Sir,
My partner is a member of your fine institution and receives your newsletter every month. It was while I was perusing a copy that I noticed the BII coat of arms and decided to investigate its meaning.
I take it that the barley stands for brewing, and discovered that the bar sinister indicates illegitimacy.
Does this insinuate that members of the BII are therefore a load of drunken bastards?
I await your reply with interest.
Yours sincerely,
It didn't take long for me to get a reply. It read -
Dear Misty,
I read your email with great interest and after forwarding it to other senior members of the institute, we decided to ask an expert in heraldry's own opinion.
It turns out that, yes, you are correct in your findings!
It appears that many years ago, our coat of arms was based on an old Bass brewery logo, and whoever designed it had a rather twisted sense of humour.
But despite the 'bar sinister', I can assure you that most members of the BII are indeed fine, and mostly upstanding persons.
And thank you for bringing this to our attention; it's the best laugh we've had in a very long time.
Yours sincerely,
The BII.
I don't' think they went public with the news, but I like to know that I've been of help.