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Showing posts from October, 2017

Those Were Different Days....

Last Sunday teatime, as I normally do, I called in at a couple of my local pubs for a pint and a catch-up. One of them, right next door to Brighouse Station, is the Commercial/Railway. As usual, it was busy, there was a birthday celebration, DJ Des was hosting his regular Sunday session, pool was being played, some were watching the football on TV, groups of people were chatting and laughing, whilst some were just alone with their drink and their thoughts. The bar of this wonderful community pub run by Trevor and Sue was busy, but despite that the staff still had enough time to extend a greeting and a few cheery words to all they served. During the week, its lunchtimes and teatimes cater mainly for the local working population, whilst in the evenings the local community take over, be it for a Monday night pool league match, darts and doms, the quiz, or even to learn the guitar, whilst dependent on the timetable the train may bring in a trickle or even a flood of thirsty customers. Som…

The Heart of Northumberland....

A journey into the vast open spaces and big skies of this beautiful county....

I was driving on the A69 towards Hexham when I spotted the sign for Wylam. I decided to break ranks with the satnav, and turned off, as I remembered a visit a few years ago to The Boathouse, situated down at the bottom of the hill, across the river Tyne, beside the railway station with its elevated signal box. The pub had always stuck in my mind because of the friendly atmosphere and range and quality of its beers. This time I walked in to be greeted by friendly staff and a bank of 12 hand pumps of mainly local beers. I ordered a Foxy Blonde from Jedburgh's Born in the Borders brewery, and very nice it was too. So little had changed from that visit 10 or more years ago. A group of people walked in, having just come in on the train from Newcastle, no doubt lured to the Boathouse as it is one of those timeless, destination pubs which everyone should visit. I made a mental note that next time I go I must ta…

Boots, Beers, and Fighting Cocks....

A day in Hertfordshire followed by an evening in St Albans....

I went to my first Halifax Town away match of the season last weekend. The team were playing at either Borehamwood or Boreham Wood. It is a bland suburban town whichever way you spell it, situated where London's sprawl meets leafy Hertfordshire, and is best known for being the location of Elstree Studios. Meadow Park, where The Wood play, is situated just off the road opposite the entrance to the world-famous studios.

We had set off from Halifax just before 10, and after a reasonable journey south via the M1, we landed in Bushey, a suburb of Watford, just over 3 hours later, our destination the GBG-listed Swan. This is a small local's pub, just off the main drag, situated in the middle of a suburban street of mixed house styles. It looks nothing special from the outside, but inside it could have been a pub from 1950's, a period from when the majority of the customers present would most likely have been in their…

The End of the Line....

Wharfedale is right up there as one of my favourites of the Yorkshire Dales, but whilst I have walked the moors and valleys of the upper reaches countless times, and even written previously about one of the most attractive parts of the middle section of the dale here, I have for many years neglected to visit the small town that acts as the gateway to this beautiful part of the country.

That town is Ilkley. Well known to most because of the traditional song, 'Ilkley Moor Baht At', but to many as a traditional spa town and tourist destination. The moor referred to in the song broods above the town, with its miles of open country and famous Cow and Calf rocks. The coming of the railways opened up the area and soon visitors were attracted by the open space and fresh air on offer as a welcome respite to the smoke and grime of the Victorian West Riding towns. The more well-heeled, the elderly, and the infirm came to take the waters, hotels were built, and Ilkley grew almost as a sma…