|A bottle of Old Tom and an axe, typical Everitt bonfire fun.|
Everyone at work had told me what a lovely place Didsbury was, but in the icy wind and gloom, it just felt like a main road with a huge cinema complex - in a word, 'Renfrew'. Interestingly, the Wetherspoons was positioned inconveniently in the middle of a huge traffic island. Before the pedestrian bridge was built, I wonder how many people died leaving this pub ..... I was nearly one.
|Traffic Island Spoons fun in East Didsbury|
10:30am but the pub was in full swing like all good Wetherspoons, mainly thanks to three incredibly jovial oldies, who had a fluffy toy dog as a mascot which occasionally chipped in with a cutting comment about the blonde barmaid, who definitely didn't get her tan in the 'burbs of Manchester. "Behave yerself John" scolded the wife, "It's not me luv, it's the dog!" was how most conversations ended. Staff were very on-the-ball, and loved the "bantz" with the locals, so the most confusing "50p voucher incident" since Prestwick was a bit of a surprise. Firstly, he mumbled something about a festival, so it wasn't valid. He reconsidered, told me I was lucky, it did count, then knocked me a full quid off so I got my pint for £1.29. Just as well as my Maxim beer smelt of sick, and my tepid cooked breakfast didn't go down well. I'd been feeling a bit unsettled, and let's just say I got acquainted with their loos for a bit too much of my time here! Any gurgling from me didn't put off the psychotic looking young man next to me, who downed three pints of purple Strongbow in about 15 minutes. The table was sticky, full of crumbs despite being 10:20am when I arrived, and as the locals debated whether it was illegal to wake a sleeping dormouse, I left feeling utterly dreadful!
|If it looks nice, it didn't do me any good!|
|Time for a name change?|
931. Friendship, Fallowfield
A pub with a name like this should at least have staff who smile and say "hiiiiiiii" when you walk in, and "byeeeeee" when you leave, rather than efficient businesspersons who had the air of people who'd make me sign a contract to render the transaction of my L S Lowry beer legally binding. Still, you can forgive a vast carpetted one room island barred Hydes pub that is this nice. I sat in the sunny window and started to recover from my earlier malaise, thanks mainly to the quality of ale and a series of freakish customers who seemed unfamiliar with the whole "getting served in a pub" concept. A ruddy faced simpleton in 1998 Kappa tracksuit struggled to raise the funds for his coke, much to the frustration of the impatient staff. Then a group of student boys made an exhibition of themselves circling the bar, seeming to think there were 'hidden' ales that they might not have seen on first view. If I told you they were Derby County fans, it might explain things. Let us just say I've never seen any group get as excited by Tom Ince and Darren Bent as this bunch of desperado rams. Yes, from my elevated position in the sun, sitting in judgement on the customers in true BRAPA style made me feel better. As I left, I took my glass back to the bar and thanked them. I got a scowl in return from three old men, maybe my almost bondage jeans and walking boots combo wasn't aesthetically pleasing enough.
|The "men shed" outside looked a bit out of bounds.|
|When closed earlier on......|
From efficient and businesslike staff to downright mournful and exasperated judging by the sorry pair that greeted me here! Not that it lasted. As soon as a baby appeared about two minutes later, the pub (barmaid in particular) was laughing and cooing. Just one of those days when however cheerful I tried to be, I got nothing in return. Maybe they'd heard about BRAPA. I was all quite Hydesy again, and whilst this pub wasn't quite so lounge-like, it created a fantastic illusion of making a one roomer feel like a multi roomer with pool area, football TV area (there was no avoiding bloody Wolves v Derby for me!) and the locals chillout room. I enjoyed an ale "selected" by the locals apparently, which means all the proceeds go to charity which I have to say I was skeptical of. The multi-roomed feel plus the piped music meant I couldn't hear much local chat, which was a blessing because in the one "break in play", I overheard a diatribe from a young lady about "gardeners cutting hedges in less than pretty ways". Today was painful, and it was about to get worse .....
|The "free" wine turned out to cost the best part of a bottle.|
|Chosen by you! But not me.|
|Get with the times Victoria!|
|U.S. Politics on the Withington Condom Machine|
Not hell on earth, as long as you are into shitty faux-Euro cafe bars with one syllable names......
933. Bar, Chorlton-cum-Hardy
An awkward, twee girl with angelic face and bad sleeves popped up from nowhere, scaring the crap out of me (which didn't take much today!), and I somehow ignored Titanic Plum Porter in favour of a local pale ale by a man called Dan - it had got to the stage where I was now quite happy to torture myself! I asked her if the extra 20p would help, to which she giggled like a pregnant hamster and disappeared again. A suspicious ginger bearded man (who I'm sure works concurrently in all of Chorlton's bars) held a mop in an angry way and put a "cleaning slippery floor" sign in my path to stop me venturing out of bounds. Soon all three of them were busy cleaning and moving stuff around, the third being an old woman called Sheila. I say old, she was 31, which is approaching death in Chorlton. Despite getting positioned facing the bar, next to a "fire" in a leather armchair, this was still somehow uncomfortable. The feeling you were drinking in a large cleaning cupboard combined with people moving house combined with bar more soulless than even Dulcimer or Parlour just wasn't helping my already fragile state of mind. Two bearded twats on laptops started making fun of Burnley "eee by gum, what is an Ewok?" was one random but memorable line. They then declared "Burnley is the most analog place on earth". Had I been quicker, I'd have interjected "take away the 'og' and you get what Chorlton is". Saviour came in the rarest of forms, an almost twild-like girl with her father. She shouted him from across the room to the bar "I want the pink drink ..... and gemme some crisps too, NOW!" "Yes, princess!" It was pretty clear who wore the trousers in this daddy daughter relationship.
QUIZ - What was the Pink Drink?
|Quite a hilly climb to the next pub!|
|This view sums up my entire day|
|Ghostly pint of Dan's.|
But them's the BRAPA breaks and happier times were ahead as I finished East Yorkshire the following day, which I will review Wednesday.
And I'm on half day from work tomorrow so I'm going to branch out from the usual South Yorkshire midweeking to something slightly more adventurous, though we've had a snow warning for the afternoon and I'm due to be "on higher ground" so it could be quite an experience!
See you soon if I don't die on the Moors / Peaks / Hills etc.