I’ve saved the best of Lancashire (on this trip, not ever, clearly) ’till last.
Blackpool never disappoints, and gave us that winning combination of street art, great beer, squalor and drunken Accrington supporters on Saturday.
Not for the first time, those Stanley fans (sans drummer) were the highlight of a trip north, unless you were the lady sitting next to them on the 10.33 from Preston to Squires Gate. “Wahey” sound funny the first dozen times, but loses its appeal after a hundred. Stella, rather than Punk IPA, the imbiber’s choice.
We should have stayed on till Blackpool South, of course, but the sand dunes at the southern end of the tram network have never seemed so appealing or so peaceful.
Our boys looked wistfully at Pleasure Beach as the tram glided past on the way to our new GBG pub in the ‘Pool, the Washington. Yet another very basic Pub Co place to follow the Rose & Crown and Gillespies; Blackpool is resisting craft with a vengeance.
Another pub visited days before by the Pubmeister, whose summary is really all you need.
I tried, and failed, to start a riot by flaunting my “Preston not Heston” bag, and braced myself to dislike a Greene King house with a depressingly large beer range, reminding me of the Pumphouse in Albert Dock.
But the barman was a gem, proud of his beers, and rightly so. The Lytham Top Dog was spectacularly cool and rich (NBSS 4.5).
“Oooh, taste that !” Never say that to Mrs RM if you want to see the rest of your pint.
A cheery, open pub with some attractive art in the loos.
The walk back to the tram via Deansgate showed the different sides of our premier resort.
Cafes preserved in the 1960s, street art from 2017. Wonderful stuff, though the alleys I walked down terrified our boys.
The bus from Fleetwood to Blackpool is torturous; we got out and walked at the North Pier, leaving some shopping on the top deck in the process. Miraculously, it caught up with us at the Waterloo Road as the bus returned from Starr Gate. A joyous reunion.
We celebrated with peanuts and Titanic in the Auctioneer, which Spoons has just sold to Hawthorn. Less than £2 for an OK pint; should have had the Acorn Gorlovka though.
Still looking spick and span, and with the added post-Spoons bonus of Tears for Fears and OMD playing, but a very thin food trade to go along with the cheap booze.
We boarded the return journey at Blackpool South, recognising a rather quieter bunch of Stanley fans. Ten years ago, a Nil-Nil at Bloomfield Road would have been a triumph.
On-board the French lagers were cracked open. Clearly the night was still young, but we were glad we were getting off at Preston.