Tuesday, 24 August 2021

The Codger Dividend

 Now that I have a bus pass, I've resolved to get out a bit more. It is very handy and indeed very pleasant, to go to my locals - all four of them - where people know me, call me by my name and buy me lots of drinks - well not the last bit, sadly, but I'm sure you get my drift.

My old pal Graham suggested, to celebrate my bus pass, that we should hop on the luxurious X43 and meet another old pal in Rawtenstall, a neat little town along the M66, that I've by passed countless times, but never set foot in. Easy peasy. Go North West 18 to Chorlton Bus Station and then on the excellent X43 service to Burnley, via Rawtenstall, all satisfyingly gratis and picking up Graham, somewhat appropriately, at Strangeways.

We met at Casked, a Beer and Gin micro bar, where the only other customers at around 13.15, were other folks of a retired nature.  The beer was excellent and varied, and we all enjoyed Brewsmith Pale and Bowland Hen Harrier, before moving on to the Buffer Stops, a station buffet on the East Lancs Railway, which is, as you will gather, a preserved railway. Now this place was buzzing, so much so that we had our drinks at the bar, while chatting to the very knowledgable barman, about this and that. The doors were wide open, so we all felt safe enough. Looking round, we saw retired couples, older lads out for a convivial meeting, all laughing happily and with us adding a few years to the double vaccinated scene, it was all very jolly. As the saying goes, we left with considerable reluctance.

A slightly more JDW setup in terms of customers, if not atmosphere, met us at our next stop, the absolutely rammed, BoHo Ale House. Now this, though small,  had a wide open frontage and was to be honest, ventilated as much as the outside, Despite its name, it only offered us Old Speckled Hen on the sole handpump, but two of us chose beers for the now very common, but nonetheless excellent, ABK Brewery from Bavaria and enjoyed chatting to locals -  even the one who seemed to find it odd that we three consisted of a Scouser living in Salford, a Scot living in Rochdale and a Geordie living fairly locally in Edenfield. I guess they don't travel far here and to be honest, in this neat little town, why would you?  I jest, but the welcome was warm and genuine from the largely mature clientele and, it was standing room only.

It was the same in yet another micro, the excellent Hop. Again a warm welcome, lots of chat and a choice of cask beer in tip-top condition was enjoyed by the regulars and us, all in more advanced years. If you ever go there, a word of warning. The stairs down to the spotless toilets are vertiginous. Care is needed after a few. These stairs are the steepest I’ve encountered, since the ladder like ones in the much lamented Villiers in Central Liverpool. We did also visit Northern Whisper's almost empty Tap Room, which none of us cared for, either beer or atmosphere wise; and so back to the bus station, to be whisked home.

A grand day out, and one thing is for sure. These little boozers - with caveats that this was a one off visit -  is that there is little doubt that the grey pound was contributing hugely to keeping these businesses going. Good for us!

There is no sarcasm about the X43 being luxurious. It genuinely is. Wifi, all leather seats, some with facing tables, charging points for your phone and video route and stop maps make for a very pleasant experience.

 I think we missed some other pubs on this visit, but I'll be back. Maybe visit the Temperance Bar for a quick Dandelion
and Burdock?


Birkonian said...

I've got to wait a bit yet for the national bus pass but Merseyside provide a free pass for all over 60s. That covers trains, buses and ferries plus the bonus of trains to Chester. It is brilliant for pubbing. There are the obvious delights of Liverpool and Chester and I haven't visited Southport or St. Helens since pre-Covid but they are on the list. I'm fortunate to be less than 100 yards from a bus stop for one of those small buses which trundles around an unusual circular route from Heswall via Barnston to the Spital housing estates. Drivers know their regulars and they will drop you off at any convenient location. It runs hourly Monday to Saturday until early evening and is ideal for an afternoon session in some good pubs. They do good trade from the comfortably well-off older cohort. In future years pensioners may not have the same disposable incomes with the disappearance of final salary pension schemes.

Tandleman said...

Of course you lot have that local bonus, like Londoners do, of having a oasscat 60. I suppose that does do rather a lot of what you'd normally need.

Yes final salary schemes among other things make my generation very lucky. So get it spent I say.

Tandleman said...

Yes the curse of predictive text. I don't suppose you do have an oasscat, but you do have a pass at 60.

Pauline said...

I like the sound of an oasscat better -will call my pass this next year when I eventually get it ! Have warned my husband that we may be going on bus adventures then,but have just realised he is a bit younger than me so the excitement will have to wait

Cooking Lager said...

It's wonderful
So few CAMRA men make it to the bus pass.
But you have.
Well done.

Curmudgeon said...

Bladder capacity can be a severe limiting factor on pub crawls by bus, of course.

Tandleman said...

Well possibly. Rarely an issue for me thankfully.

Paul Bailey said...

Spare a thought for those in the private sector, especially people like me who switched employers several times. No final salary schemes for us, as companies were already pushing their staff towards “money purchase” schemes – yet another example of product mis-selling by the financial sector.

I do have my bus pass though, and intend to make full use of it, when I switch to part-time working at the end of next month.

Tandleman said...

Cheers Paul.

Paul Bailey said...

Thanks, Peter. I'm out with my bus pass today.

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