What do a bridal boutique, a funeral parlour, several curry houses, a double glazing showroom, a bathroom warehouse, a small supermarket, a university hall of residence and several other shops of various kinds have in common?
You’ve probably guessed it already, but if not the answer is quite simple: they all used to be pubs.
It is amazing to actually sit down with pen and paper and write down all the pubs which have been lost to the trade in Burnley and Pendle in the last decade.
And it is even more amazing to consider that the village of Fence, despite having lost two pubs in recent times, now has as many pubs open for business as the whole town of Nelson.
It would be fair to say I have a bit of knowledge about the pub trade in Nelson.
And while some of the pubs which have closed down in recent times are not individually mourned by me, I feel the loss of every bar that shuts down.
And the same is true in Burnley.
There was a time when I could truthfully claim to have frequented every pub in town.
Some of the ones that have closed were old friends, others nothing more than passing, and in some cases, unwanted acquaintances.
Among the recent closures are what can only be described as “yo yo” pubs and someone, no doubt, will try to take them on again in the future.
Some of the villages I used to report on three decades or so ago are now without a pub.
And with the former hostelries now transformed into houses, there would appear to be little way back for them.
This is not just a problem in our own end of East Lancashire, it is a national trend.
I am not sure what the answer is.
But I do know it is a situation we should all care about – and that we can all do something about.
Of course, I am not advocating everyone should go out and drink a gallon of beer every night.
But next time you are venturing out, don’t ignore the pub on your own doorstep or it might just be the next one to call last orders for the final time – and that has happened too often already.