We stopped in Chorley Market for Chorley cakes, as you do. They’re not as good as Eccles cakes, if I’m honest, but I didn’t say that while I was there.
Don’t get me wrong. The baked goods are reason enough to dodge the endless amateur cyclists on the road from Euxton. The lady here sold me £11 worth of the eponymous cakes, Bakewell tarts from Cleveleys, and other health-packed treats. “The smile is free” she added. It was a good smile, too.
I was doing the shopping while our boys looked for shoes, and Mrs RM discussed reusable nappies, cleaning products and unnecessary packaging with the mother-in-law of the Bob Inn.
They were just berating plastic bags as I came back with my haul in a load of them. As you’ll understand, this made Mrs RM very happy indeed, particularly with a half of Tollgate in her hand.
I’ve raved about Chorley here before, praising the people, the views to the hills, the market and the proper trad pubs. The last couple of years have seen an explosion in non-traditional pubs, which is fine as long as we don’t overlook the appeal of the Crown and it’s ilk.
Happily, the Bob Inn is just a wonderful pub in miniature. This is the lounge.
I reckon you could probably squash a dozen in here, a dozen in the bar itself, and a dozen outside. It looked like it needed all of that space as folk piled in to avoid blokes in lycra on bikes.
You could sit here unsociably and admire the Higsons beer mats, or chat to random folk, in this case the proud in-laws. Top banter with top folk about everything except beer, which is as it should be.
I noticed the holder for “Ale Cry“, the local CAMRA magazine, being refilled and offered a word of praise on the new look. Ale Cry has always been a favourite of mine, along with Opening Times, but some of the idiosyncrasies have been ironed out in the redesign.
Through serendipity, the recipient turned out to be Adrian (I hope) the Editor. A top read; stick a pub cat on the cover and you’ll walk the next awards, Adrian.
We left the displays of oversized knickers and wrapping paper for a recommended new micro, the 3rd such in a real ale town.
The Ale Station is another gem, a cross between the Middlesbrough bars and the Wigan Central waiting room style, which is quite a combination.
More cheery staff, sensible beer range and cheap prices.
And apart from a superb drop of Hawkshead Pale (NBSS 3.5), how can you beat 19th Century football photos,
and battered Bass mirrors.
You can’t, you know. Mrs RM will never understand.
We loved Chorley. With no Vans store or TK Max, I can’t claim our teenage boys shared our enthusiasm. Until I produced £11 worth of cakes.