Dear Reader: Inside a Cold War Bunker & a minor mishap at General Tarleton

Graham Chalmers.Graham Chalmers.
Graham Chalmers.
Weekly column by Graham Chalmers

I spent Bank Holiday Monday afternoon in a Cold War Bunker in York courtesy of English Heritage.

All seemed well at first on the tour of this underground relic sitting incongruously in the middle of a quiet housing estate.

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Despite the nature of its role, there was something almost reassuringly old fashioned about the narrow passageways and squashed rooms where 60 members of the Royal Observer Corps were once stationed to monitor what happened if the worst had ever happened.

But the further down into the sunken three-storey construction the guide took us, the more eerie it got. This was less Dad’s Army and more Dr Strangelove.

At the heart of the bunker lay the operations room. It looked like something from an old war movie about the Battle of Britain but its purpose, we were told, was to log data on the nuclear missiles raining down outside and scale of the radiation fall out.

In the event of a real attack, the brave volunteers doing this job could count on food, water and oxygen in their reinforced concrete tomb below the ground for no more than 30 days.

Then they were on their own.

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I opted not to attend this newspaper’s own business awards at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate last week but it had nothing to do with the event itself.

It’s always well-attended and very successful.

No, the problem was far simpler. The trousers part of my DJ and dicky bow outfit is now a little too tight.

I don’t like to take chances, not after the experience of a recent visit to the General Tarleton pub near Knaresborough.

The owner was kindly showing me round this recently refurbished establishment I’ve enjoyed eating at over the years.

As the tour went on, I was genuinely impressed, fascinated, even, though perhaps a little too much.

Which may explain why I accidentally followed the owner into a cupboard.