Another League 1 promotion candidate to follow Bolton. I do hope the 26,000 folk of Fleetwood realise the achievement of Uwe Rösler and the team in guaranteeing a Play-Off place. That’s a bit like a small East Midlands team winning the Premiership by ten points.
We took the slow train out to Fleetwood Ferry from Blackpool South. It’s an hour well spent, giving you great views of everyday seaside activities, most of them still illegal in Cambridgeshire. More of Accrington Stanley later.
I do like the Fleetwood seafront. Perhaps not in the April rain, but the memory of chucking stones at metal buoys from the seafront still resonates.
The town centre itself is scruffy but lovable, though lacking in those bizarre shop frontages that this blog loves. This combined cake and laptop repair shop is the best I could find, and even hear the apostrophe is in the right place.
The Spoons, a GBG regular, was overflowing with BRAPA source material, which, combined with the impact of Fleetwood Freeport, leaves the rest of town a bit too quiet.
Mrs RM took refuge from the chill in the dreaded Outlet Centre while I ran to the Royal Oak , a particularly cosy place to hide from shops in.
I was taken by this comment on Pub Curmudgeon’s blog today rather beautifully describes “the theatre of mediocre normality” in pubs just after midday. This was a cracker; it just happens to have great architecture and cheap (£2.80 a pint), high quality beer as well.
To make sure I get the finest quality beer, I’ll ask the blokes at the bar what beer they’re drinking*.
It was (First) Trawl, but who am I to mock regional accents?
The seating, banter and beer was so good you could have been in Stockport. The sight of Burnley’s finest gave me an unfortunate flashback to my Prosecco hell, but this was a fine cool beer (NBSS 3). I do like me beer cool (No, I don’t carry a thermometer).
For 20 minutes I enjoyed those old boys attempting to answer the Fleetwood Folly Quiz;
“The only player to score a World Cup hat trick” Silence
“The Oxfordshire town where Mr and Mrs Average live” Silence
“The name of Phileas Fogg’s valet” “Pass-part-tout”
Visiting places like the Royal Oak for the first time reminds you just how many wonderful pubs there are you haven’t heard of and will never visit. Rather like the number of songs like “Silverline” or “Serpents” you’ll never hear.
The same is true of places. If it wasn’t for the Beer Guide I’d never have been drawn now to Knott End, via the Wyre Rose.
Duncan wrote about his adventure to Knott End here, and the regularity with which the Pubmeister beats me to places is becoming a sore point.
Perhaps it was the cumulative impact of two quick pints (though Mrs RM had drunk most of those), but I was rather overexcited on the ferry (£2) over the Wyre. The wind howled, the boat made the Woolwich Ferry seem like the QEII, and the Blitz spirit took hold among the dozen passengers for five minutes as we contemplated disembarkment onto a gangway with water sloshing across it.
It felt like a different country, or Lytham St Annes at least. The walk along the promenade reminded me of the best of Essex’s marshes, except with the Lake District as backdrop.
At the gates to Paradise itself, there was no response to the buzzer for at least 3 seconds and I feared the worst. Patience, Mr RM, patience.
Once in, my excitement in greeting the lovely lady from Bannockburn gave away my GBG ticker status, but also gave me a discount bringing the Cross Bay down to a cheery £2.65. I’d left myself six minutes to drink the pint and catch the next ferry back. That’s not really long enough.
Back in the real world, all the action was in the Ferry Café, with retired gentlefolk feasting on the best haddock, chips and mushy peas I’ve had in many months.
Quite how I managed to fit a two mile dash, two pints, fish & chips, two loo stops in Spoons and a return ferry journey into the 90 minutes hours allowed by Mrs RM is still a mystery. As you’ll have guessed, even two hours wasn’t quite enough for her own retail activities.
*Note to overseas readers. Do NOT do this in London.