Sunday 31 December 2017

BRAPA - Return to Congleton (with bonus Poynton, Woodford and Bramhall)

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the BRAPPEST of them all?
The day was finally here.  It was time to tick off new Good Beer Guide pubs for the last time in the year 2017, my most productive year of BRAPA to date.

The story begins at Congleton station at 11:20am.  It had been 4 and a half months since my last visit.
Yes, I did raise an eyebrow when I noticed the Bear Baiters pub allocation had doubled from two to four, but never mind, an easy place to get to.  It was raining.  15 mins walk into town (annoying but it's no Tring, Bodmin or Winsford), best look to see if either pub had opened before 12 noon.  As we say in the BRAPA trade, "no lookie, no gettie innie".  Both were in total darkness, 11:36am.

So I did what any normal person would do in my situation, went to B&M and bought a Fray Bentos pie and a box of Walnut Whips.

11:59am and some signs of life but neither pub quite ready, unlocking doors, putting blackboards outside, disappearing inside again.  But by 12:02, the pubbier of the pubs was ready for action .....

Our first pub, pre-opening.
1198 / 1944.  Prince of Wales, Congleton

So, it was a Joules pub.  I've not been to many but I like their style (the beers perhaps not quite so much though this old winter ale was full of hearty goodness) and it was full of the usual mirrors and deep woody features and decor.  An okay, fairly stodgy neutral barmaid served me, I was the only customer for my entire half an hour here, and despite giving her the 'extra 20p', we didn't form any kind of meaningful relationship which was a shame cos I'm a believer in "first customer of the day gets friendly chat and attention".  I sat in the superior backroom, which might've contained the mystery 'real fire' that the GBG alludes to, but it wasn't, and it was rather chilly.  Perhaps it was in the strangely named 'sausage bap emporium' to the right.  I didn't dare see what was happening through there.  Perhaps the barmaid was less bored than I thought!  The music was dreadful, if one county can be relied on for terrible piped pub music, it is Cheshire.  The song that stood out was called "Only You", not the good a capella one, but some acoustic thing by a girl called Sarah Close.   The fact I was the only customer made it feel she was rubbing it in.  So with no other customers to speculate upon, all I could do was wonder if people pronounce Joules as "jewels" like me, or some really say it like "jowls" or "joels" as the wall diagram claimed.  I took my glass back, the barmaid might have said 'bye', it was hard to tell, so I murmured "taaaaaa" and left.

The pub looking quite good

That's tea sorted.

How do you pronounce it? 
A few yards down the street, the pub door needed a good yank but I was inside and could hear voices from the hidden bar area .....

"Oh yes, I'm the young pretender .... oooh a ooh"
1199 / 1945.  Young Pretender, Congleton

On first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking this was another "Old Dancer" of Wilmslow fame, or worse still, anything with one syllable from Chorlton-cum-Hardy, but to scratch the surface, you can see we had something a bit more wholesome, community and friendly.  What wasn't wholesome was a man in full lycra and dark glasses stood at the bar twisting his body into shapes that no human being should be able to.  With my eyes firmly focused on the bar, I ordered an ale from Scarborough (despite the "everything comes from East Cheshire or Manc" claims in GBG) which was a degree too warm to be good.  The two young lads serving were exuberant, with little to back it up, pronouncing £3.30 in an Irish accent about as quirky as they got.  Lycra man spoke of a bar which, on New Year's Eve, would be opening as usual, closing at 6pm, reopening at 7pm but charging to get in!  I sat at a ridiculously low leather sofa around the corner, after 3 snooty middle age twunts came in to admire some 'wall art' (the man had a very tiny head).  Next, a woman in a wheelchair rocked up with her 3 mates.  They were all very friendly, "join us!" they asked me in a Church of Scientology way, as I chuckled at a "how many middle aged women does it take to adjust an earring" gag, alas 25 mins here was the maximum I could allow.  Apparently it's called Young Pretender cos Bonnie Prince Charlie once slept here ..... well, better than being awake here!  No, I'm being facetious, perfectly decent  place this one and friendly to boot.

It was a knackering uphill 15 minute hike back to the station, luckily train delayed a couple of mins, but I made it and soon was at Poynton.  A 0.7 mile walk took me to Poynton proper, I was having to work hard for this 1200th pub but I finally saw it along the main street .....

1200 / 1946.  Cask Tavern, Poynton

It was fitting that this should be the pub that brought up that fabled 1200 mark, for I'd been foiled twice previously this year.  Once due to a suicide at Bramhall, and once because buses finished running 2pm or something ridiculous.  A shame therefore that it was a pretty uneventful experience.  I'd been to Cheshire's other two Bolllington pubs, the one in Macc was very good, the one in Bollington itself was okay, but this was boring.  Apart from a ginger woman with Henry VIII's beetly little black eyes, I was the only customer and was served by a perfectly decent young blonde lass, who chatted with the ginger lady.  I didn't even enjoy my ale, was good quality but the blandest sessiony pale ale (Sweet Nancy) I'd had all year.  I've thought their beers were decent in past, but a man in the Vale Inn at Bollington told me it was the best brewery in the world!  He may have been biased, and admitted apart from the odd holiday to Crewe, he doesn't get out much.  Piped Coldplay completed the mood.  A group of oldies came in finally, so I took that as my cue to leave.

Modern art, the BRAPA way.

View to the bar

About 40 mins walk the other side of the station, after dodging a few potholes and puddles and much traffic whizzing past like a bat out of hell, I came to my favourite pub today, still on the main road but feeling very much like a rural idyll.

1201 / 1947.  Davenport Arms (Thief's Neck), Woodford

Before I got inside, I was lining up to take another outdoor shot showing the 'Thief's Neck' sign just as a group were leaving.  "I WON'T BE IN YOUR PHOTO!" shouted a blue shrew-like woman, and raced across the car park screaming.  BRAPA eh?  Inside, a multi-roomed olde worlde feeling Robinsons pub awaited, and an upstanding smart gent served me some okay ale called Cumbria Way.   You could feel the 31 consecutive years in the GBG, 85 in the same family, from the moment you arrived, one of those soothing magical atmospheres, and exactly the kind of 'tick' which is most valuable to a 'ticker' like me.  The main 'character' was an old woman at the bar sat with her husband.  She bossed the place, and scowled at any outsiders, including me when I did a full circle of the bar before realising the toilets were outside (another hallmark of a great boozer!)  On the way back in, I held the door open for a woman and she thanked me in the voice of Sharon, Tracey and Dorien from Birds of a Feather, before squealing in a 'delightful' Essex accent "Corrrr, this is a proper pab innit?"  Old lady looked daggers, and her mood didn't improve when her husband embarrassed himself by loudly mistaking Carole King for Karen Carpenter (they weren't here!).  From what I could gather, was small wonder she was downing Belgian murk by the truckload, with the occasional half of Unicorn to 'take the edge off'.  A 'local friend' entered, an oldish bloke, far too excited about New Year's Eve for a man his age, and they soon got chatting on that topic.  When he departed after a swift half, they innocently commented "enjoy your evening".  His eyes became wide-eyed with panic.  "N-n-n-not this evening.....  you DO mean tomorrow, don't you?" he replied, as if it was impossible to wish someone a pleasant evening on 30th December.  Classic times.

Blue woman runs away in horror

The photo that blue woman wanted me to take

Old couple at bar = pub legends

A moody black n white shot for no apparent reason

Bald man asks man with hair to stroke his pate,  probably.
Another two mile brisk walk (all this was keeping my tummy slim and helping me to stay sober) took me to Bramhall, a place I didn't know existed until that suicide attempt in the summer stopped me getting to Poynton.  At the time, I wrote that a lack of GBG pubs might've been the cause of the suicide attempt, causing someone with inside knowledge to reply "that might be about to change!", and it has.

In other news, my phone signal returned to reveal Hull City were 2-0 up at half time!  Wow.

Note the man in the window

1202 / 1948.  Mounting Stone, Bramhall

As I lined up the above picture, I was aware the man in the window kept looking, so I soon as I got inside, I assured him that whilst he'd definitely appeared in the photo, I'd send him royalties once my blog got famous.  Such basic direct attempts at engagement and humour normally work in treat in a micropub, especially one in the north west, but the bloke just looked nervous and closed ranks with his younger compadre.   It was to become a theme of this place, like people didn't want to reveal too much!  Had they been tipped off BRAPA was in town?  Next, it was the turn of the friendly-ish young barlad.  "Good choice, I luv mi amber n red ales!" he declared when I, totally by chance, chose one simply because it was the first I saw not bearing the Bollington logo.  I tried to encourage him, and he says "yehhhh, most folk in here just go for the pale ales!"  "Oh really?" I said hoping to spark him off on some rant where he called everyone in here idiots, and trashed the place with a baseball bat, but he suddenly stopped mid-sentence like he'd said too much!  And then there was the Scottish local character.  All good pubs have a Scottish character, and this good pub was no different.  He kept threatening to leave, seeing someone he knew, then staying for "just one more".  I was opposite him, surely just a matter of time before we chatted, but just kept looking nervously over the top of his glasses, and at one point, he and the woman behind had a conversation - THROUGH ME!  Jeeez.  Way to make a guy feel invisible!  So yeh, I can see on some levels how this is the sister pub of the brilliant Chiverton Tap in Cheadle Hulme, it's warmth and depth mean it's a bit more than your average micro, but people make such a huge difference, it was hard to come away with anything like the same level of positivity.  Oh, and hearing Hull City had let two in and drawn 2-2 didn't help.

Back at the station, I really could have squeezed an extra pub in at Stockport,  7 to do in the GBG so shaving one off would've left me with one Stockport day to do, alas it didn't materialise.  Combination of factors, partly cos I knew I'd been drinking on NYE, and partly cos I knew I'd pushed myself earlier in the month to get the 1200, knew I was in 'credit', so why kill myself?

So back to York via Piccadilly it was, at the end of another great year's BRAPA.  See you later on for the "End of Year Awards".  Might you or your fave pub be a winner?


Saturday 30 December 2017

BRAPA - Welcome at the Lord Nelson : A North Hull Story

Whilst more experienced pub tickers are spending the Christmas period letting me 'catch up' by jetting off to places like L.A. and Vegas, or admiring South American moths whilst watching non-league football in the West Midlands, the harsh realities of pub ticking continued apace in BRAPA land.

And harsh realities don't come much harsher than a chilly Boxing Day in North Hull.  Even when you ask your average Hullensian what the North of the City is like, they wince, wrinkle their kindly weather beaten features, and let out a low droning vowely noise from the back of their throats.

In reality, I could never have expected it to be open.  Normal opening time for a Tuesday is 1pm.  Today was a Bank Holiday, so the odds of them opening 12 noon seemed very slim.  We barely even looked.  Dad (he of recent 'bee in bonnet about pubs not opening when they should over Christmas/ New Year despite little evidence to support this' mentality)  didn't even properly park in a space.  I had to agree with him on this occasion that the outlook was bleak.

But suddenly in the wing mirrors, we noticed a small army of Mums and Twilds wielding boxes and bags heading for the side door of this estate jewel, this was my chance......

GBG needs more pubs of this ilk in my opinion

1197 / 1943.  Lord Nelson, Hull

Even at this stage, Dad pondered that perhaps this was a private function but if I see a BRAPA pub door even slightly ajar, I'll chance my arm.  I may even make a crowbar part of the essential kit.  I strode confidently up to the bar with the air of a regular, and we were greeted warmly by this old couple.  This was like a throwback to pub owners from a time before I started pubbing, just a relaxed gentle couple enjoying the social side and hard work of running a pub.  Immediately, they asked Dad if he'd parked here.  He had, of course (properly in a space now).  "Would he mind putting his car in here?" temporarily confusing us, as he gestured to the right of the bar.  Okay, this pub was a bit Wild West but surely he wasn't supposed to drive his car in?  Isn't that ram raiding?  Silly us, he meant he wanted Dad to key his reg no. into a device on the wall as they get none pub users parking here.  Boo.  99% of this pub's clientele must arrive on foot I'd think.
We ordered from two Christmas ales (one Wadworth, one JW Lees) and a top quality drop they were.  There must've been a function next door as group after group of women with shoulder tattoos, gold teeth, strappy tops, tans and twilds wandered in.  If this is why they were open at 12, I salute them all!  A few locals appeared, and a bunch of Sky Sports Carling young men, settling down for what was obviously going to be a 12  hour session.  Apart from one barfly, any men who came in had tracksuits bottoms on.  I felt terribly overdressed in my jeans and woolly jumper. The pub was warm and cosy, tinsel and rugby league dominated the decor in the sweeping estate pub main bar, but such warmth is something the George (our other Hull pub today) could've done with matching.  Despite it's limitations, this was one of my more positive new Hull pub experiences of the last 10 years, if you leave your snobbery at the door (and I'm from York so lah-di-dah darlings, mwah). X

Dad enters his details into a device

Rugby league and tinsel, is there a better combo?  Yes.

So there we go, and I felt thoroughly vindicated for not doing the East Yorkshire pubs on the 23rd now, as I'd chalked one off today.  4 left.  I'm back in EY next month.  Cheeky Beverley or Hedon trip?

I guess you could argue we could've done all 5 pubs and dispensed with Hull City, but the 0-0 draw with Derby was a vast improvement on my hilarious visit to Derby early this year when we were 4-0 down at half time so I headed back to the safety of the Alexandra!

Three more pubs to get to that magic 1200 mark, which I hope to do in and around the Cheshire area sometime on Saturday afternoon (30th Dec) depending when you read this.

Phew, it's all go!  But am really enjoying BRAPA at the moment.  Sometimes I have lulls and think ugh, this is such a routine, but others like now, totally in love with it!  Roll on 2018.


Friday 29 December 2017

BRAPA - No Chore in Chorley : Part 2

So, three pubs done as me and the Dadster (as no-one's ever called him ever) stayed on the same side of the train tracks to head to our fourth pub.  All three had been excellent so far, but this next one was to be our "pub of the day".

Dad indicates pub number 4
1194 / 1940.  Malt 'n' Hops, Chorley

Despite some dodgy Irish pub style font, you can feel the quality from the second you walk inside a pub like this, a low soothing hum seemed to just engulf the pub (unless it was that strange old man in the corner), all carpets, deep greens, stained glass and polished wood.  I've been to some cracking new pubs in 2017 and this was up there.  In most towns, Bob Inn or Potters Arms would easily be best, but Chorley has an embarrassment of riches.  A bloke at the bar said "there's four other beers around the corner" as I tried to choose from five.  "Don't make my decision harder than it is" I reprimanded, for extreme beer choice is something my brain doesn't want to worry about on a BRAPA day.  "You must be busy to have nine on" I said, feeling the spirit of Twitter's beer bloggers on my shoulders.  "Yes, we are!  Well, we were last night!" was the reply.  The old bloke in the corner was looking edgy, and after Dad, I went to the loo where, not for the first time in BRAPA history, a bloke was stood outside a cubicle shouting to his boy twild (not Mary's Boy Twild) to finish.  "Has someone else come in?" whined the twild.  "Yes" replies Dad Bloke, "and he's getting impatient and wants to use this cubicle!"  Woah there Daddio, don't make me the bad guy, I'm quite happy at my urinal thank you.  But it had the desired effect, boy twild shot out and Dad Bloke winks at me as if to say thanks for playing along with my subterfuge.   And it turned out the edgy bloke in the corner was Grandaddy, probably worried they'd been murdered.  Dad (the original, and best) was impressed with the "certain similarity between facial characteristics".  Did he mean this trio, or the whole of Chorley?  Ouch.  It was time to sup up and say nowt.  We had micros waiting.  Anything could happen.

"Gents" lights up when a gent approaches. Probably.

Grandad looks pensive

The pub just being good

Toilet session finished, Grandad can relax, the band are back together.
We'd tried to go to pub number 5 third, after all, the GBG says it opens at 12 noon.  But a sign on the door bearing "Christmas opening times" revealed on Saturday 23rd (a normal Saturday as far as I was aware), they'd be opening at 2pm.  Why?  Christmas + Micropub = opening hours about as reliable as Central London's beer quality.  But hurrah, it was open now, just gone 2pm.

1195 / 1941.  Shepherd's Hall Ale House, Chorley

And full of folk, considering.  I think it may have been open longer, and glancing a quick judgey BRAPA eye over the inhabitants of this characterful place, I imagine they were there at 1pm with pitchforks and flaming wooden stakes demanding to be let in.  It made Dad's decision to order a strange liquorice and blackcurrant cordial all the more impressive, and as we sat in the far corner near the kind of bloke who'd definitely have chatted weirdness to me had I not been with Dad, I noted a blonde staring woman with matching Christmas Jumper husbands (the husbands, not the jumpers, worryingly).  Good job 5th pub is always my most hazy mentally, as I was probably numbed to much of the peculiarities here.  A loud woman near the bar was set off on a Star Wars rant, which showed few signs of abating, and when Han Solo's ancestry was called into question (clue, his uncle wasn't born in Chorley), all me and Dad could do was bury our faces in a book I wrongly thought they'd nicked from Sheffield.  Amusing place this, much recommended, but don't try it sober.

A cordial picture of contentment

Incredible scenes

Have they ever been away?

Don't mention Star Wars

Proper pub bloke

SHAH must be the pub acronym, and not Sheffield Hallam and Hallamshire as I thought on the day
Tthe formula was gaining clarity so I revised it:

Micropubs + Christmas + Lancastrians = A clusterfuck of wonderful lunacy.

Across the road, and somehow even closer to the railway station, was our final pub, and it was still only 2:35pm.  Now that's what you call top pubbing.

Me looking fat even before Christmas dinner - bloated from ale?

1196 / 1942.  Ale Station, Chorley

Ahhh, I get it now, Ale "Station" cos it is near the station with a modern version of an old railway sign, a bit like that odd but good Wigan Central thing.   Well, this place had a more homely warm atmosphere than the SHAH in our opinion, and soon a bald character and blonde PISS were selling Lancashire Crisps (which were never a thing until they realised Yorkshire did good crisps, just saying) and amazingly, can remember my beer cos it was Hawkshead Windermere Pale, love it and top quality.   Dad and I sat just to the right of the bar and admired Chorley's 1954 cricket team, with names like Albert Mockett, Jeff Pomfret, Tom Edwardson (the pro - obviously with a surname like that!) and Bernard Rostron.  Has anyone in a pub been as entertained by such a thing for as long as we were, I guess we'll never know, oh and I didn't make any notes so have no idea why exactly we liked it so much otherwise, but the focus was on getting the train out of Chorley, so we could get past L**ds before the football finished and the crowds descended on us, which of course we achieved easily!

Hull City sadly lost 1-0 at the White Shyte, but we played well and Nigel Adkins told us to be positive, so even though Dad fell asleep, I had a go at a celebratory selfie on the way back ....

Oh dear
We still had one beery assignment as we needed to top up on beers for Christmas, and with Fulford Road's Sainsburys only selling Brewdog, we went to Hull Road Co-op which had great stuff like Little Valley Tod's Blonde, Maxim Maximus and Saltaire Triple Chocaholic, and that's as beery as I can go.

Then it was Christmas but I tucked into the sherry too cos I could.

So, I have one more pub to review (in Hull on Boxing Day), I'll write that up very soon and then we are all square on 1197 pubs going into Cheshire weekend.  The 1200 is very much in sight but in what godforsaken place will it be achieved?!


Thursday 28 December 2017

BRAPA - No Chore in Chorley : Part 1

I think it was Wednesday night last week when the 'Ghost of Christmas BRAP' visited me when the bell tolled 1am.  A judgey creature (like most ghosts, and Jesus), I'd been all set to go to East Yorkshire on the Saturday to finish the five remaining pubs I needed.

But the arguments he presented made me rethink.  Firstly, was it fair to ask Dad to step into his chauffeur boots on Christmas Saturday?  And secondly, I've already finished East Yorkshire pub ticking in full TWICE before, surely BRAPA had more pressing matters as per my 'strategy'?  He then started blathering on about micropubs and erosion, suggesting the new entry at Withernsea might be very short lived indeed.

So racked with guilt, I changed the venue to somewhere with a train and plenty of pubs in the GBG I'd never been to before.  It was in Lancashire so was going to be interesting:

It was 10:45am and we found ourselves in the wonderful market place, fitting as it is a "market town".  The first pub opened 10am supposedly but where was it?  We wandered around the perimeter of the market, a brass band played Christmas Carols, and had it not be for the unseasonably mild weather, it could have been the most Christmassy I felt all week.

Dad eventually spied a sign .... the pub was INSIDE the market.  How quaint!  Maybe the 6pm closing time should've been a clue to me,  oh well, here we were .....

1191 (1937).  Bob Inn, Chorley

An open frontage, a bar inside full of comedic, jolly, sweaty Lancastrian men and a very engaged landlord (possibly actually called Bob from what I could hear) who gave us a run down of the beers - one of each style (light, dark and errm 'burgundy' - he wasn't even talking British passports ho ho) plus a cider - bang, bang, bang (no he didn't shoot us), £2.60, enjoy it my son! (he didn't actually say that either). Beer was top quality.  I'd spotted another 'unit' opposite also belonging to the Bob Inn done up in the style of a pub room - what joy.  Dad had to wrestle himself out of Lancs men clutches to join me, but has book wallpaper and a fire offering no heat ever been as acceptable as it was here?  Answer a resounding "no".  We settled down amongst the 1986 editions of Dandy, and my new friend, a "No 36 Higson's Fermentation Vessel" (it's amazing what you make friends with in Lancashire).   A plaque revealed this room was opened by "Russell Wilkins".  Didn't he play for Cambridge Utd in the 90's?  Then, the spirit of the season was summed up.  A young family came in.  The girl, by no means a twild, took a bite of her curly wurly, a sip of her Pepsi, and toasted her parents with "Merry Christmas!"  "I hope Santa brings you everything you want" replied her doting Dad, to which Mum rolled her eyes and said " I'm sure he will, he usually bloody does".  And that summed up this wonderful place.

Possible Bob spreads the real ale joy

Locals being amusing

Dad pretends to be warm

Dandy 1986

And that's why we aren't in East Yorkshire
Not far off the market place, it was 11:20am and our second pub had done what so many others have failed to do in 2017 and opened at the advertised pre 12 noon time.

Time to get the second in
1192 (1938).  Crown, Chorley

Of the six pubs visited today, this was probably the most 'roughneck' boozer in that this was the one where our entrance caused most of a stir - so much so, one man kept walking across and staring at us, perhaps we were in his designated seat?  Still, it was warm and brilliant in a "twin peaksy" kind of way, I was absolutely in my element though the locals didn't quite reciprocate.  The beer Dad wanted had 'gone', the landlady telling us it'd been ultra busy last night.  In the circs, me declaring "good job I'm not a CAMRA inspector then!" didn't go down too well.  The local friendly Frankenstein perched at the bar didn't help, exclaiming "ALL THE BEERS HAVE GONE!" every few seconds, and laughing crazily, the landlady eventually snapping at him to stop exaggerating.   I tried again to quell the increasingly fraught atmosphere, saying that whilst I'd previously thought staying home on "mad Friday" and instead going out the following Saturday morning was a good idea, I hadn't accounted for the issue of beers going off.  Oops, this was too highbrow a concept for her or the locals to really support, and I shuffled off to a table wishing I'd never spoke.  Dad summed up my efforts ... "Right comment, wrong time, wrong place!"  A slippy toilet floor threatened to kill us, one of my favourite retro piped pub music bands (Eternal) played, and at £2.50 a pint, it made Bob look like a rip off!  We took our glasses back, I said thanks out of the side of my mouth, Friendly Frank shouted "ALL THE BEERS HAVE GONE!", patted me on the back, and we left.

Pint of "Clausing Time", I sounded like a Geordie saying it

And talking of the North East, son of Nosferatu from last week peers into our corner
Onwards and out of town-wards, where the 'far away' pub (only 10 mins from station at most but everything's relative in the pub haven that is Chorley) had just opened, past 12 noon and onto our third pub already and no 'Spoons - a BRAPA record?

1193 (1939).  Potters Arms, Chorley

"Ey up, doesn't look too open!" said Dad squinting from across the road and about half a mile away!  He's had a bee in his bonnet this Christmas about pubs not being open which he's particularly looking forward to testing in Bolton on New Year's Day.  But it was very open, and once inside, a superb traditional old pub - mosaic flooring on entrance, vintage pictures of pub and town, a roaring fire, the sound of old men with life-threatening coughs playing dominoes, a jolly barmaid, hell even the Christmas decorations were tasteful.  It was like they were trying to tick all the BRAPA boxes, the beer was from Blackburn but don't let that put you off, that doesn't always mean it has entrails floating in it, £2.50 a pint again (sort it out Bob!) and as top quality a beer as you could hope to find.  I was telling Dad my strategy for getting people to buy me rounds for people who are a bit socially awkward, act as the spokesperson instead - the barmaid was loving it, and my joy at being able to use a £5 note to buy two pints.  Even when a little yapping dog appeared, I refused to grant it Twog status (the little shitwit was asking for it in fairness), such was my sense of pubby well being.

A pint of perfection

Something giving out heat, sort it arrrrrt Bob

A nice Christmas ornament below a clock

Halfway through my Chorley crawl and I was loving it, what a town!  Could things get better, or would it all go wrong?  Find out tomorrow as I edge ever closer to that magic 1200 mark.