SINCE we are to be considering a pub best known for a hanged man, here are some of the things - suspended sentences - for which this column would probably swing:

l Parents who regard pubs as an indoor adventure playground for their unruly and objectionable offspring (and staff who let them get away with it).

l Pubs with wall-to-wall local radio, all perpetual platitudes and irksome ads - the nodding dog now nearly as irritating as the bloke who loves carpets, he.

l Bar staff who appear to think that "please" and "thank you" are swear words, fruit machines which flash like an indecent proposal, redundant hand pumps, frozen chips...

Sheep as a lamb, the Busby Stoop has them all.

The pub stands at a crossroads between Thirsk and the A1, its name a macabre memorial to Thomas Busby, hanged from a nearby stoop - or gallows - for strangling his father-in-law in 1702.

A man of long thirst and short temper, Busby was arrested while semi-comatose in his usual pub chair. Though he put a curse on the chair and anyone who sat in it, it remained, sitting duck, until recently.

Several who subsequently doubted the story are said to have met a violent end, including a number of young RAF crew from the nearby wartime airfield at Skipton-on-Swale. In the latter case, of course, it is possible that Gerry as well as Thomas Busby had something to do with it.

Though the chair is now on a wall in Thirsk Museum - a high chair, as it were - its image remains on the gently swinging pub sign while, in the gents, hangs framed the autograph of Albert Pierrepoint, Britain's best known executioner.

An accompanying note from his nephew in Washington, Tyne and Wear, suggests that the meticulousness of Uncle Albert's handwriting bears testimony to the neatness of his knots.

The tale's also explained on a board in the non-smoking restaurant. "Strange things continue to happen," it adds, and presumably not just that the pub has a collection of nut crackers.

"They're not even very interesting nut crackers," said The Boss, taking a sledgehammer.

The menu promises that most products are locally sourced, a notice on the wall says that they serve quality food, not fast food. Condemned?

What of the "tuna bites" with lime and coriander or the "salmon bites" with lemon and black pepper? We'd guessed that they might be hard to differentiate but were wrong because the salmon was warmer but why on earth were they served on a paper napkin?

Didn't that egregious practice go out with swinging scampi in the Sixties?

What of the identikit chips or the near-terminal salad? Where in the North Riding of Yorkshire was the sweet and sour chicken or the veggie burger begotten?

Neither the chicken nor the veggie burger was bad, but you wouldn't stake your life - or even Thomas Busby's - on their being home made, or (for that matter) the single rum and raisin sponge which unmemorably followed.

All this was accompanied by a pint of John Smith's Cask, the only real ale, by a glum barmaid who bore the legend "Mr Scratchings" on her chest ("You couldn't make it up," said The Boss), by the paralysing ping of the microwave and by the bloke who loves carpets.

The food bill was £26. Enough rope?

THE Busby Stoop also features in the newly published Yorkshire's Historic Pubs by Peter Thomas*, among history's recurring themes that so many public houses appear to be haunted houses as well.

The Malt Shovel at Oswaldkirk, near Helmsley, has a spook which haunts the ladies' loo, the Station Inn near Ribblehead Viaduct has the nearby ghost of a buried alive miner, still tapping away with his hammer beneath the seventh pillar, the Saltersgate Inn between Pickering and Whitby hasn't so much a ghost as the devil incarnate, trapped in the eternally burning fire.

York's pubs, of course, have veritable optics of spirits - but that's another ghost story.

l Sutton Publishing, £14 99.

THOUGH its flags have been gusted from their poles and its vista remains frequently shrouded, the Wear View Diner - alongside the A68 near Toft Hill - continues to offer a good breakfast.

In 2001 we'd reckoned it the year's best; last Thursday's early start maintained the standard.

Full English, with particularly good bacon and nicely kizzened sausages, is £3.95. The Boss made do with an enjoyable bacon butty the size of a hub cap.

The atmosphere's relaxed, the radio muted and the newspapers include the Echo. It would be ungrateful otherwise.

THAT was on the way up to the Horsley Hall Hotel at Eastgate, where we'd been invited to launch the much publicised "Mine Host" project for the 15 pubs in Weardale.

Plan A, to dine at a dale pub the previous evening and stay overnight at Horsley, had had to be aborted when none of the locals could confidently suggest a place to get itchy feet beneath the table.

We told the gathering of Busby Stoop, of the need to smile and to do what you do do well, of the chap who'd been a chef at the Savoy before taking over a council estate pub in Hartlepool.

We'd gone to see him on the night of the Over 60s' meeting, pie and peas for 40.

"There's not much you can do with pie and peas is there?" we said.

"Yes there is," he replied, "you can bugger them."

The launch programme lasted five hours, all networking opportunities and ongoing integrated solution opportunities. If they remembered nowt else, we told them, remember the pie and peas man from Hartlepool.

...and finally the bairns wondered if we knew what the Invisible Man calls his mum and dad.