SPEN – LIFE AMONG THE LION BARS

 

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Before recent sad events I’d never heard of the Spen Valley, the collective name for the cluster of Kirklees villages between Bradford and Dewsbury. It must be hard work in Tourist Offices in Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Drub.  Surely the names alone sell the place ?

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You might think  Bradford is the UK curry capital,but it’s Cleckheaton which has the biggest Indian restaurant in the world,though Aakash isn’t quite as good as Mumtaaz in Great Horton.

If I’m honest there’s not much else here.  The birthplace of Danny Cadamarteri sadly lacks a blue plaque, and the only thing that jumped out was the Lion Bar factory. Sadly there were no Cadbury-style tours on Saturday, or brass band rehearsals to gatecrash (I’d need to have walked to Brighouse for that).

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The home of football gums

There’s not a lot to the centres, which are clumsily pedestrianised in that way you find in the smaller Glamorgan towns, except here carpet shops outnumber suntan parlours.

Some great pubs though, none better that the Black Bull in Liversedge.  This was the first place I tasted Excelsior a decade ago, in a typical West Yorkshire boisterous multi-roomer that recalls the Big 6.

Cleckheaton doesn’t have an Ossett pub, but the Rose & Crown is a newbie with a similar atmosphere.  It was more boisterous than my photos imply; lots of £2.60 pints were being carried out to a characterful smoking area.  Worryingly the £2.60 pint of choice seemed to be Ellands 6.5% Porter. Their homebrew pale was enough for me (NBSS 3.5).

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Cleckheaton’s Wetherspoons isn’t in the Guide but the Excelsior there was first class, as was  Spoon’s new Rarebit Burger. I hope it gets in the GBG, as Simon Everitt will love it. All human life is here.  The Spoons “offer” was more enticing than that from the (recent-GBG) Commercial.

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No surplus apostrophe’s, anyway

 

Finally, it wasn’t worth the walk for the beer (more disappointing Tim Taylor), but there was  one last gem in Spen. Plenty of Bass livery, very little Bass.

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QUIZ TIME – Name the pub

 

 

 

 

43 thoughts on “SPEN – LIFE AMONG THE LION BARS

      1. 29p is the price in the Grimsby shops I choose to buy such products from. I believe it may be possible to get them cheaper still on one of the markets.

        Have I won the quiz yet?

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  1. You two led us down a very interesting path. Google him. Bradford City football owner with a rather strange history. Rather fascinating stuff. Not someone you would want to insure.

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      1. I can assure you you’re not the only ones not getting the joke. Would love to know what you make of Simon Everitt’s BRAPA blog, also starring Mr Irvin. Intrigued to know how that particular style of humour carries across the pond.

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      2. When I read ” I don’t know who Stafford Heginbotham is,” I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Tom made a guess and you said you would be giving a clue involving football. It all fit so well from the sound of it and seemed so confusing to me. It did seem to be a lengthy name for a pub. I would say my understanding of your blog, Simon’s and Mudgie’s all run at the same proportion of confusion. I look up many terms, but I still enjoy reading all of the blogs. It sometimes takes longer. In the future when I encounter something I will make a note of it and share it. Most football references are lost on me. I am still chuckling about this exchange.

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      3. A discussion of how humor translates would be a great thing to do over a pint. I have pondered this topic quite a bit. (I always think of the John Cleese comment on how Americans laugh at a lot of bad Monty Python jokes because they don’t think they understand the joke so they don’t realize it is just a bad joke. They just laugh politely. Consequently he thought they were great audiences.) I have commented to my brother that I get about 50% of Simon’s comments. I love the humor in these blogs, but will confess that there are a lot of references I have to look up. I’m not 100% sure on tone either. Both you and Simon can affect tone that is hard to fully understand. This is especially true since we get only a slice of the person writing and the topic is fairly specific. So references to people and place can be hard to understand given the reference point of pubbing.

        On a side note I have learned there is a whole music scene in existence that I thought had disappeared years ago!

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      4. I suppose it was rather fortuitous that you gave me the wrong clue. Mentioning lawyers, football and that part of the world immediately led me to the bloke, quite probably the most evil chairman in the history of the game. Ken Richardson and Assem Allam come very close together but a long way behind the frontrunner.

        You have also opened up the wound of the loss of the other Stafford Arms in its namesake pub. Great landlord, a dog that would have won the pub pet of the century award let alone year. Super. I think it is a car park now, only been to Stafford once since it was demolished.

        I’m still claiming my point on what I presume is a quiz league with a prize and I’m claiming damages for the distress.

        Dave, I’m happy to explain any of my humour, I deny all allegations of libel and only apologise profusely when I offend somebody if it was an accident.

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      5. What wrong clue ? Ginger whinger from Salford = pub in Scholes. Simples.

        I’m impressed you’ve been to a pub I’ve never heard of, and I visited all the GBG pubs in that wondrous place for years.

        There is a prize; you’re 7-7 with Dave at the moment but the winner has to be in Wythenshawe Hungry Horse at 10am on New Years Eve to collect it.

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      6. I had already given the answer when you issued the ginger whinger clue, I went solely on the football and lawyers.

        Wythenshaw on New Years Eve isn’t a problem for me as it stands,just as long as the family don’t populate my diary for me.

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      7. Dave might be able to make it to Wythenshawe Hungry Horse on New Year’s Eve(those apostrophes), and I with him. Do they serve at 10 A.M.?

        And all this time I though there were different point values for each of the questions within a complicated formula involving distance from the blog location(direct variation, of course) and a confusion/cluelessness factor.

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      8. Richard -I have no evidence that you, “Dave” and Tom aren’t one and the same person, having never met any of you.

        A 10 a.m. presentation at Wythenshawe on New Year’s Eve would make a great blog post.

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      9. Now that is hilarious and true. How would you know? Then we must all meet at the designated place and time. By then, maybe I will be in the lead. I hope I am not too far behind, or were you combining the points for Dave and Richard(actually, I go by Dick).

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      10. I wish to formally state,on oath, that I have no alter egos called Richard, Dick or Dave. I am happy for you to check my IP address and internet use records.

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    1. From reading Simon’s blog and seeing a picture of Tom, young with a full head of hair and a beard, he would never be confused with Dick and Dave. He was also using sign language. How do you decide to use one finger or two?

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      1. I object to being called young. I am not eligible for a Young Person’s Railcard, which is clearly the key defining factor in such matters.

        I don’t have the dexterity to use two fingers.

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      2. Being over sixty, the majority of people look young to me. My children are now in their 30’s; they will always be young. What is the max age for a Young Person’s Railcard? I could google it, but conversation here is more fun.

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      3. The maximum age at which you can obtain a Young Person’s Railcard through being young is a day short of 26 years. However, students in full time education are eligible for one regardless of age – there was famously a woman in her mid 90s with one at one point. Personally, I don’t understand why they don’t give me one for being a full time student at the University of Life.

        I can confirm that I was indeed sat on the bench outside the Padiham pub for a short period from about 11:55 on Saturday, having walked from Huncoat rather than taking the lazy bus option.

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  2. In Leeds parlance, the colloquial term for these textile parts of W.Yorks and all towns in between is Cleckhuddersfax. The West Riding Refreshment rooms at Dewsbury Station, for both breakfast and beer, would be my recommendation in these parts, although I haven’t ventured further than this station platform public house in Dewsbury, or anywhere else in these parts, for some considerable time. I do however have to declare an interest in so far as I was born in the fair town of Huddersfield, but never actually lived there.

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  3. Dewsbury is due a pub or two as well, i went there in January 2015 and was very dissapointed at the lack of pubs in the town,i got a bus to Ossett which was a lot better.
    I had always wanted to do Hecmondwike and Cleckheaton because of their names sounding like proper Yorkshire towns,so i got round to do them in early January 2015,i did a few in Batley then walked to Heckmondwike hoping to pick some pubs along the way,but none were open or closed down,when i finally got to some pubs i was told by a local landlord the best thing to if in Heckmondwike is get a bus out of it,so i bused it to Clekheaton and met some right nutters in the Railway pub who were threatening me.

    I also dont get the in jokes on blogs and have never got a quiz question right.

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      1. It did, but I will read it again. As Dave says, “There is no such thing as reading, only rereading.” It takes me more than once even to figure out I am confused.

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  4. Okay. Simon’s Leonard experience. Did any of that really happen? I’m still laughing, but really can’t believe it a lot to that can happen. A Vietnamese bag lady?

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