When Mrs RM and I started exploring the country in the early ’90s (pre-Beer Guide ticking), we spent a lot of time just off the A6 in farmhouse B&Bs, in those grim times before Premier Inns were invented.
Back in the day, we became quite acquainted with the area between Preston and the majestic Forest of Bowland, much of which seemed to end in the letters “argh“.
As the OS shows, there’s now a place called Brunning & Price.
B&P would like us to think that Haighton Manor is set in glorious Lancashire countryside, but there’s no disputing that it’s also a hop and jump from a giant ASDA, a McDonalds and Chem Dry UK.
Haighton is Posh Preston, as the initials on Tom Finney’s badge suggest. It smells strongly of farm, a sure sign of affluence.
I arrive at 11am. On a Sunday. Surely it’s closed.
But no, the door creaks open and I see a number of gentlefolk dotted around nursing expensive coffees. And lots of dogs.
It’s so shiny it makes the closest Beer Guide entry, an Ember Inn, look like a run-down Hungry Horse.
At the bar I ask the eternal question..
“Are you selling beer yet ?”
Loads of beers, and far too many ciders. You can guess the range. Surely B&P can keep a pint of Landlord half-decently, even at 11am on a Sunday (as Nick Heyward once sang).
Yes, they can. It was half-decent, cool and tasty. NBSS 3+. But then it is £4.20 a pint. In Preston.
But then your £4.20 doesn’t just buy beer. It buys opulence, a proper fire,
a fine selection of family pub games,
and the same classy artwork that BRAPA saw in their pubs in
Salford Worsley last week.
I should note they sold a pint of Lancaster Blonde while I was there; that’s always worth noting. And their staff are a credit to themselves and their employer.
“Are ya doin decaff lartey ?”
“Yes sir, we serve decaff latte”
I sense you were hoping for better. They’re saving it up for Simon’s visit.
Some folk ask me why I visit the Guide pubs with all their dreadful posh pubs/working mens’ pubs/micros/Spoons. It’s because you see life in pubs, and the GBG gives you the sort of contrast you’ll see 2 miles down the road, next up.