PIGEON CHESS IN GALASHIELS

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I can’t speak for Charles, who was oddly obsessed with Bathgate, but I’d really been looking forward to Galashiels, which I’d assumed to be the jewel of the Borders (a bit like you might assume that Wrexham is the jewel of the Marches).  It’s possible I was influenced by the knowledge that “Kayleigh” was inspired here.

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We’d had plenty of time to walk along the Tweed, saying “Good Afternoon” in that pointless manner that polite society demands, even when you’re abroad. In sharp contrast with the rest of the Borders, the Ladhope opened at 4pm. No, it’s no micro.

Galashiels really does impress on the OS map with all those contours, and the new Transport Interchange is on a par with Doncaster Bus Station, which I trust is where the similarities end.

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Apart from that, the Ladhope is the highlight, particularly for fans of robust brickwork and Borders banter.

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It was the closest place we saw to a local boozer where folk drift in after 4.15, stand at the bar, and chat thrillingly to each other about minor domestic issues.  The seating is plain and functional, but gave us a good view of the proceedings.

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A sole handpump (Born in the Borders again) dispensed a workmanlike half (NBSS 2.5) with a proper Northern head, enjoyed while contemplating the pub wisdom about chess with pigeons (top), and pondering the potential to enter a Jägermeister quiz that closed in 2013. I have never tried Jägermeister. Another for the bucket list.

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Almost an antique beer mat

The town centre hid its charms from us.  That’s all I’ll say.  With 30 minutes to kill before the train to Gorebridge, we really should have ticked the Spoons, in case it pops back into the Guide next  year. The fact we didn’t, even with Spoons vouchers to spare, tells you how foreboding it seemed.  And I’ve been to Leigh and Bootle. Too many times.

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The Job Centre (Plus) looked more inviting.  Next to that, Charles observed a pleasing juxtaposition of Criminal Defence Lawyers and Victim Support Scotland, staring meaningfully at each other across the road.

Depressingly, all of the usual chain stores were there; even an 02 staffed by a cheerful lad who found me a charger for my phone.  That was possibly my personal highlight, though the architecture round Gala Park is stately enough.

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You could have a good night here.  In sharp contrast with Melrose’s teashops and hotel bars, Galashiels has that very Scottish breed of plain boozers (see also: Tyldesley).

We almost nipped in for a Tennents in the Auld Mill, a cacophony of middle-aged female laughter at 4.45 on a Monday, before a glance at Facebook revealed the warning;

Could be messy

Charles is brave, but not that brave.

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So we headed into the miniscule Old Town in search of independent business and craft beer.

Yeah right.

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “PIGEON CHESS IN GALASHIELS

  1. I’m not as brave as you, so don’t venture into too many of these back street, down at heel type boozers without prior recommendation. I will however venture, unhesitatingly, into a Wetherspoons when in an unfamiliar location. This begs the question why?

    In simple terms Wetherspoons gives me everything I need, the former probably doesn’t: they will be open, clean, have some decent beer on, have other people inside (atmosphere), be welcoming, provide food, be reasonably priced. Okay, they may not tick the five star box in all, or any of the categories, some do, but they will fulfil normal everyday expectations. In essence, they provide the average person with exactly what they are looking for. A lot of, on the edge of failing, pubs don’t deliver this.

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  2. Both the Hunters Hall and the Auld Mill Inn look like decent pubs to me and i would have been in both like a shot and then have a look to see if there were any back street pubs to do,i really do not care what a pub looks like or what reputation is has,if there is one there to do,i will go in without a thought.

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  3. On another note do you still have to ask for Heavy when asking for drink of bitter in Scotland.
    When me and the wife went to Edinburgh in 1987 and did a massive 177 pub crawl there in a week,we visited some areas of the city that normal tourists would not go to,we did most pubs in Portobello and did a right shit hole called the Seabeach which as the name says was right next to the beach.
    I had my awkward head on and asked for a half of bitter on an early dinner time session,a massive row broke out with me and the woman behind the bar,i gave in in the end as we wanted to do the pub.
    I am sure i did this yesterday but can not find it.

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