Had I started WY midweeks with last night's excursion, I'd have probably been too mentally scarred to carry on with the after-work challenge. A year today, in fact, the Grove & Midnight Bell in Holbeck seemed a whole lot easier.
After a straightforward train to Halifax, I jumped in the nearest taxi (the bus times were all out of sync) and soon I was in the rural little village of Bradshaw.
|Arriving at the Golden Fleece on a fine spring evening.|
628 - Golden Fleece, Bradshaw - I'd pictured in my mind's eye the best and worst case scenario here, and I was amazed to see how close to 'best case scenario' this pub really was. A bustling local throng stood around the bar (in fact, not being able to get to it was as bad as it got!), a great range of ales, some from the Revolutions brewery whose ales are music themed, and one I had, Cleopatra (comin' atcha!) that was accidentally so - all peach and cigarette overtones. £2 a pint! I took advantage of the fine spring evening to sit in the excellent beer garden, with views overlooking local countryside, hills, I could even see some grazing horses in the distance. It was idyllic, a utopian scene, but life doesn't allow things to be perfect for long. I was soon put on edge by a young guy who kept talking angrily to himself - he was a cross between serial murder man Ian Brady and the young priest in Father Ted who gets Dougal into smoking, ear piercings etc. He lay on a bench, I tried not to make eye contact. Everyone else was jolly and local, enjoying the sunshine and with my bus still a way off, what could I do but order another pint - this time Revolutions 'House of Fun', a milk stout and a good one at that! Bus handily arrived just across the road, and I was on my way to Swalesmoor.
|Idyllic outdoor drinking at the Golden Fleece.|
|Seats made out of real Tiger skin on the 528 bus to Ovenden.|
629 - Sportsman Inn, Swalesmoor - When they said 'Sportsman', I was thinking perhaps Rugby League, Cricket or even Football for this area, so when it turned out to be skiing, it was quite a surprise. A dry ski slope overlooking a pub garden isn't something you see every day. In fact, it made the whole area feel like a European tourist resort. But this was north Halifax and a kindly gent who was sweeping up leaves showed me the way in, told me the barman was called Jake, and I should use his name to freak him out. Well, I did and it worked on the characterful, quirky, bearded young barman - in fact, when I revealed I'd been told his name "by a guy sweeping up", the locals looked at each other as if to say "oh no, not the sweeping ghost of Swalesmoor again!" and now I was scared, until Jake went outside to satisfy his curiosity and revealed the sweeper was 'the boss of the whole complex'! To keep my 'music' themed beers going, I had a "making your mind up" by Salamander which was almost as good as the previous two. It was getting chilly now so I sat inside, they even had a fire burning and it seemed like a very nice rural style old fashioned pub. This was spoiled somewhat as a L**ds fan and a N*wcastle fan (with his girlfriend) swarmed round my table and we settled down to watch Barca v PSG in the Chumps League. It was a decent experience apart from the hero worship of Barca's skills and style of football so I was quite happy when the time came to leg it back down the hill for the bus back to 'Fax.
|Dry ski slope outside pub in the middle of nowhere, unique!|
A frustrating end to an otherwise excellent night of BRAPA.