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Showing posts from July, 2019

The Dog and Rabbit, and Other Hops....

Another day in the North East, this one involving a trip along the northern side of the River Tyne, with a visit to an excellent micro pub, a brewery tap, and a couple of old favourites.... After a most enjoyable day in South Shields, I awoke next morning to another sunny day. After an excellent breakfast at my B'n'B, I checked out, and decided to go for a walk out to look at the beaches and the South Pier with its lighthouse. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting: 6 miles of beaches, with cliffs - in which a pub, the Marsden Grotto, now closed - was actually built into the cliffs, as the coastline heads south towards Roker, with Sunderland beyond. With the sun beating down and a gentle breeze wafting, it was idyllic; fishing boats in the bay, fisherman with their patient rods and seatboxes strategically placed along the pier wall. Whilst we were chatting the previous evening, Bez had suggested over a beer that I got the ferry across to North Shields and took the Met

The South Side of The River....

A visit to a new place in the North East, and as usual, I discover some really interesting places.... I made my first proper visit to the town of South Shields this week. And so first, here's some history.... The current town was founded in 1245, but evidence of civilisation dates back much further, with Stone Age and Iron Age relics being found in the area. The Romans founded a fort, Arbeia , here, which has now been re-created as a museum. The town grew up predominantly a fishing port, as befits a location on the south side of the mouth of the River Tyne, but as the 19th century brought industry to the town, it developed as coal mining and glass-making became established. The population grew from 12,000 in 1801 to 75,000 by the 1860's and the town prospered. There was, though, frequent flooding at the mouth of the Tyne and so lengthy piers were constructed as part of the sea defences on both sides of the Tyne. Shipbuilding developed in the town from the latter half

Real Ale, Real Music...and Real Cricket!

Last Thursday, England surged into the cricket World Cup final by blowing Australia away in an awesome display, and set up an intriguing contest with underdogs New Zealand in what was to be the first major cricket match to be shown on free-to-air television in this country since Sky bought up the TV rights way back in 2005. Headingley Cricket Ground, the home of  Yorkshire CCC I mention this because the cricket was very much in my thoughts when I visited Leeds on Saturday evening. I was looking forward to watching the cricket - albeit on TV - the following day, which was something I did in the flesh regularly when I lived in Leeds, particularly when I was based in Headingley during the early 80's. I used to say to people - only half-jokingly - that it used to take longer to put the kettle on for a brew at my flat than walk down the road to the cricket ground and order a pint! Not that the beer was normally up to much. In those days it was keg Tetleys - warm, of course, as fo

Head For Heights....

A pint on a lovely evening at a pub high in the Pennine hills in a former part of Yorkshire set me off thinking about how many similar places we have lost over the years.... The Royal Oak is situated at a spot called Heights, in the Tame Valley in Saddleworth, high above the lovely village of Delph. I pass through the village most days on my way to work, but this time I had dropped our Tom off for a birthday do for one of his old mates who lives there. Driving back, on a lovely summer's evening, on a whim I decided to call at the Royal Oak, a Good Beer Guide regular, several years after I had last visited. I turned off the road to Denshaw, up Tame Lane and along a series of narrow country lanes until I came to a widening of the road, with a chapel on the left and a solid farmhouse-like building on the right, which is the Royal Oak. I turned the car around to face back down the hill and parked up. There was the sound of birdsong and a distant bleat from a sheep. The soothing, t