WHEN Linda Tweedie relayed hilarious stories to her friends of a quarter of a century spent at the helm of Lothian pubs, she was always told: "You should write a book!" Now, that is exactly what the Tranent resident has done - and it only took her four weeks to put the whole thing together.

Linda, 61, was in the pub trade for 26 years, running hostelries including the Longniddry Inn and the Burgh Bar in Musselburgh.

She prided herself on taking over struggling businesses and turning them into successful and popular venues.

But with that came the inevitable tales of drunken incidents - some of which she says she would not be allowed to print - from bar brawls to pub grub, awkward customers and the true story of a real-life bungling one-armed bandit.

'Life Behind Bars: Confessions of a Pub Landlady' sees Linda and fellow publican and friend Kate McGregor, from Dalkeith, recall their most memorable experiences of serving customers in bars and pubs across the area.

Linda, of Tranent's Inchkeith Grove - who now runs the Something Different shop in Haddington with Musselburgh councillor John McNeil - told the Courier how the book came about.

"We've racked up well over 30 years between us," she said. "It was that old thing where we were sitting one day saying, 'Remember this, remember that'.

"If I had a pound for every time somebody said we should write a book, I could solve the national debt.

"I always said that if I wrote a book, you wouldn't believe the stories. Most things that happened you couldn't print, and the things you can, you wouldn't believe!

"I've had nine different pubs. What I used to do was, the brewery would phone up and say, 'We've got such and such a pub, it's not doing very well'.

"I would go and take it on for six months as my own business.

"It was the one thing I was good at. I could look at what was wrong and put it right." The book came together in double-quick time, such was the volume of stories that the duo had at their disposal.

"From start to finish, it took us four weeks," said proud author Linda.

"One reason was that the publisher wanted to hit the Christmas market.

"We had put together a cookery book and that's what we actually started doing.

"Unfortunately, being novices, we put it in the wrong format and we're in the process of doing it all over again.

"I wouldn't like to make it sound like we didn't take time over it - there was a hell of a lot of other work involved.

"It's basically a collection of things that happened to us. Most are fun, but there's a couple of tearjerkers.

"It's aimed at anybody that ever goes into a pub or a restaurant." The book is released on Monday, and the pair hold an official launch at HMV/Waterstone's at Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh, next Thursday at 7pm.