Friday, 4 January 2019

Great Expectations


Picture the scene. You park your car up and set off up an unmade farm track which looks as though it has recently undergone an artillery bombardment. You have already noted the dodgy looking lane, but having done so, you are walking, which most do unless you are a farmer, or the milk waggon going to one of the farms; or have a complete disregard for the future of your car's suspension. You take in the air; your many welly clad children happily splash in the potholes. You may visit the monument set high on a hill with views over to Rochdale, Oldham and Bury and the Pendle Hills beyond. You say "Ooh look. I can see the  television transmitter at Winter Hill. My goodness is that Jodrell Bank over there in the Cheshire Plain? (it is)." You eyes drift downwards to the cluster of farms below. "I think there might be a pub down there" you chirrup. "Let's find out."

Then it all starts to unravel. For some. As you manoeuvre downwards, sinking up to welly top height in muddy fields, or plod through cow muck, you observe a little old pub with farms all around it, but with no made road on either side.  You enter and as your eyes become accustomed to the somewhat gloomy interior you realise that this isn't the shiny little gastropub you'd hoped for. Instead it is a fairly rough and ready local pub, with a single room - though you might be lucky and find the small snug open.  The bar is pretty well blocked by locals. A number of oldish men are sitting at a table by the door laughing loudly. They look up and say "Hello" as you enter. There are dogs everywhere. You realise that you have found: a) a hidden gem b) a nightmare pub with no redeeming features.

What happens next depends on you.  You can fight your way in and squeeze yourself and your offsprings into whatever space you can find. There isn't much for anyone. You ask about food but are told it is only toasties and then only if there is time to do them. (You observe that there is only one person behind the bar and you deduce that as the pub is rammed, making toasties might be a tad inconvenient and accept that fact gracefully). You order crisps and drinks for everyone and join in the merry throng noting that in fact there are several families there, the many dogs are friendly and that while the pub is fairly rough and ready, there is a splendid buzz of conversation. Nobody minds about your muddy boots, your children, or indeed you. You note that with the roaring fire, it is, though quite old fashioned, not at all unfriendly. There is a lot of laughter. And, when you settle down inside, it really is all rather cheery. You remember the benches out front and side and figure that should you visit in summer, you can sit outside with your pint and your other half and watch the world go by as your children caper about. You think "Actually this is not so bad really."

Or, you could write a horrible review of this dreadful dump on a well known rating site when you get home.

I suppose the general point is don't be too quick to judge pubs on a first visit or impression

Anyway. Sounds just like the sort of place I'd like to spend some time in. Wonder if the beer is any good?

7 comments:

Profesor Pie-Tin said...

This reads like the Northern version of The Moon Under Water.
But those fellers look to be playing doms at the bar so I'd say it must be a regular haunt of yours.
Sounds wonderful.

Paul Bailey said...

A lovely piece TM, and certainly the sort of pub I'd like to come across, especially whilst out walking.

As the Prof alludes to above, could it possibly be one of your locals? There is a John Willie Lees drip mat on the bar, so is it the Tandle Hill Tavern?

If so, what sort of people would post nasty reviews about it on Trip Advisor? Other review sites are also available).

Tandleman said...

Not playing doms. Just my mates waiting patiently for "our" table to become free.

Tandleman said...

Could be Paul. See above.

RedNev said...

TripAdvisor - the whingers' charter. I recently read about a complaint that there were rocks obstructing the view on a Cornish coast.

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