So finally I reach Northampton, and the rabid Beer & Pubs Forum posse get to see how incriminating my photos of them are.  If you can’t face my posts, take a look at Pub Curmudgeon and Richard Coldwell now.  But be warned, THEY didn’t drink a pint of Fosters in the Rifle Drum.

Mrs RM really didn’t want to come, being “knackered“, but there were other Pub Wives there and as you know Women need to talk to other Women about Lady stuff, leaving men to drink port and smoke cigars in the billiards room*.

The most important thing in any post about Northampton is to avoid using the phrase “a load of Cobblers


And anyway, Northampton is best known as the club where blogging legend Ian “Ian” Clarkson scored his goal.

Wiki says it’s one goal, like in the Shane Ward song, but Ian came up with some evidence of a second strike on 13 May 1998 in a Play-Off Semi Final. 20 years ago today. American readers may need reminding that the English “soccer” play-offs are bigger than the Superbowl, World Cup, and Hebden Bridge Bridge tournaments put together.

It was 20 years ago today

NB I was staggered to realise this was a photo, rather than a painting by Monet or someone.

Anyway, we arrived in the leafy northern suburbs at 10.30am.


Our Langham hotel motel, straight out of the Crossroads catalogue, was ideally placed near the old racecourse.

The racecourse
Told ya

Some gorgeous blossoms outside the Langham, which seemingly doubles up as the local podiatrist.

Mrs RM had some controversial views on the role of the Langham

The Langham turned out to be a clean budget option, let down only by access to a car park via a narrow alley and the potholes from hell.  A metaphor for England.

Scary car park

Stuff that for a lark.

Safely parked on a side street (the car was still there tomorrow), we set off on our itinerary.

An itinerary

Twenty minutes into the compact town centre, past unexpectedly attractive schools and civic buildings (no match for the magnificence of Sixfields, of course),

Probably a school

and some top brutalist architecture.

Classic town planning

First stop, unlimited coffee at the Spoons Cordwainer (the legendary Paul Mudge was two pints in when we caught up with him).

Typical blurry Cobbler

The most exciting thing here was the Blitz-like spirit in the epic queue for the coffee machine.  I managed two cups of filter, the flat white spluttering to an early death. Mrs RM dreamt of an afternoon spent with WiFi, coffee and chocolate fudge cake, but it was time to move on to Pub. No. 2.

We left Spoons to the strains of a bagpiper (top) playing the Primark theme tune, or perhaps a lament to the Cobblers’ Play Off Final defeat to Grimsby in 1998.

Next stop, Bass braces and Greene King IPA.


*Sorry, got carried away there.

30 thoughts on “IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY

      1. As per my reply to Paul, we just had breakfast and coffee, but they had a nice selection of cask ales on and the pub was well kept, no uncleared tables, once ambience.

        Just realised, in two replies on here I’ve revealed an entire post!!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard,
      I didn’t see you in the Waincorder the next morning but I drank my Arkell’s Kingsdown and Elgoods Golden Newt in a shaded corner of the beer garden before leaving to catch the 10am train for Rugby.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We didn’t get there until after 10, just had breakfast and a coffee and took a few photos. They had some decent, apart from the stock brands, beers on, with a Locale bias


  1. An interesting feature of Northampton is that is has more former ‘Spoons branches than any other town (as opposed to city) in the country :-

    Eastgate, 98-102 Abington Street, Northampton.

    Moon on the Square, 6 The Parade, Market Square, Northampton.

    Wetherspoons, 7a St Peters Square, Northampton.

    When I last visited, these were all still pubs too, albeit in an afterlife !

    The Cordwainer is the only remaining ‘Spoons branch in the town.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you’ve clarified that, Fred. We knew the Moon had recently closed, but I definitely remembered another in the Beer Guide (Eastgate). Odd they had 4 at one stage.


      1. The Eastgate ceased to be a ‘Spoons branch in Spring 2014, when it was acquired by the McManus pub group. However, they have now disposed of it too, and it is now a restaurant.
        There would have been four ‘Spoons branches in Northampton from the opening of the Cordwainer on 2 January 2010 until the closure of Wetherspoons in January 2014. The town lost two branches in four months !


  2. What letter of the alphabet is Simon on now ? Is he still on schedule for a 2023 visit to Northampton ?

    By 2023, will proper pubs still exist. Or will the GBG merely comprise of ‘Spoons branches and micropubs ?

    Liked by 1 person


    That’s guaranteed to make you smile. 🙂

    Oh and gorgeous first photo.

    “Northampton is best known as the club where blogging legend Ian “Ian” Clarkson scored his goal.”

    Thanks for that. But shouldn’t his ‘quoted’ nickname be BBM?

    “It was 20 years ago today”

    Ok, that definitely made me smile! 🙂

    “are bigger than the Superbowl, World Cup, and Hebden Bridge Bridge tournaments put together.”

    You forgot the World Series and the Tournament of Hearts. 😉

    “Scary car park”

    I semi seriously thing there might be a dead body in that garbage bag (yikes!).

    “Probably a school”

    If so, then the tops of those trees have been chopped off to deter randy young lads trying to enter the girls’ bedrooms (I speak from experience). 🙂

    “Classic town planning”

    It looks a bit like a bloody cruise ship.

    “Typical blurry Cobbler”

    Should’ve blurred the fellow who appears to be cobbling together some nose candy. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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