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Showing posts from April, 2018

Canterbury Ales and Kentish Tales....

Canterbury is a long way from Halifax, but in driving, squally rain, the journey seems even longer. Five and half hours after setting off we arrived in the city. 
We located our accommodation for the evening fairly quickly, which, with 7 of us in the overall  group, was to be at the Kipps backpacker hostel, situated in a pleasant suburban street about 10 minutes walk from the city centre. So, we checked in, all 7 of us in a room with a mix of bunks and single beds. As we were the first to arrive - the rest of the lads coming down a bit later after watching the morning session at the snooker in Sheffield - we bagged the beds we wanted, and, whilst all things considered, the room was not too bad, we noticed that there were not many towels or toilet rolls in the bathroom. Ah, well, let's go for a beer.
We had come to Canterbury for two reasons: it was one of the lads' 50th birthday, and Halifax Town were playing their final league game of the season down the road at Maidstone, w…

A Little Bit of Magic....

After a gap of around two and a half years, I returned last weekend to one of the most influential breweries in the country. Magic Rock, situated around 10 minutes walk from Huddersfield town centre, has become a very popular destination for local drinkers as well as those from further afield. When the tap first opened, it was only for a few hours a couple of times a week, but these days is open every day except Monday, such is its popularity.

I had caught the train from Brighouse, and then broke my journey to Magic Rock with a pint at the Sportsman, sitting at a table beneath a photo of local hero and ex-Starship Enterprise captain Sir Patrick Stewart....

From there, it was a few minutes' walk to Magic Rock, situated on the corner of Willow Lane, opposite the church of St John the Evangelist with its impressive tower. I walked around the corner and into the yard in front of the brewery, and round the back is another long yard with plenty of tables both open and covered, with a s…

A Mooch Around The Marches....

"High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam,
Islanded in Severn stream,
The bridges from the steepled crest,
Cross the water east to west"  
A.E.Houseman, from 'A Shropshire Lad'.

Easter came and went, then it was time for a few days based in Shrewsbury, one of my favourite cities in England. Like Durham, it is almost surrounded by its river, rising up on a hill from the mighty Severn, which was swollen by recent rains so that some of the riverside paths were flooded.

It is a great city for walking around, some beautiful buildings ranging from medieval half-timbered splendours to elegant Georgian terraces, with a quiet corner here, a narrow alley there, and plenty of parkland beside the river. It is packed with some great pubs; the Coach and Horses on Swan Hill (next door to where Ian Hunter, lead singer of Mott the Hoople, was born) and the Three Fishes on Fish Street, besides the famous Bear Steps and the infamous Grope Lane, being particular favourites. But there are plenty …

Return to the Merrie City....

"a very quick market town and meately large; well served of fish and flesh both from sea and by rivers ... so that all vitaile is very good and chepe there. A right honest man shall fare well for 2d. a meal. ... There be plenti of se coal in the quarters about Wakefield"  John Leland, 1538
I used to spend a lot of time in Wakefield or 'Wakey', back in the days when I worked at nearby Tingley, and then lived in Morley and Leeds. Several friends lived in and around the town, and regularly we would head there for a tour of some of the town's hostelries, with maybe the odd club thrown in for good measure. Wakefield was a lively night out, pulling the punters in from neighbouring towns and villages. Back in the Middle Ages it acquired the sobriquet The Merrie City, allegedly because of its large number of inns. Even today there seems to be a pub or bar everywhere you look, down an alley here, on a corner there, although the forlorn sight of the closed Wakefield Arms a…