Back from Chorley Thursday night back in Manchester was one of the worst in my life. And I’ve spent New Year’s Eve in Maidenhead.

You’ll remember I was helping to settle young Matt in during his week in the Big City, sharing a room at Ibis Budget on the edge of Ancoats.

That Thursday night, he didn’t come back. And his phone was dead.  And, no, he wasn’t in the Cloudwater Tap across the road.

So I didn’t sleep, walking the streets of Ancoats at 3am in the morning and staring into the Piccadilly Basin.

I’ve never felt as relieved as I was when I finally got a text at 6.29am half-way into a Costa Americano.

Sorry. Phone died, stayed round mates. Back soon.”

As I said before, let them go.

I let you have that as context for the Beer & Pubs Forum Proper Pub Crawl round Preston on Friday.


Quite frankly, I was knackered.  But Paul Mudge keeps a register and there’s a prize for regular attendance. And I wanted to see Matthew Lawrenson’s shirt.

I parked, for free, in Penwortham, just across the Ribble.  Looks safe to me.

Posh Penwortham

An overdue trip to the home of Proper Pubs, the paisley prince and the Football League offices.

The growth in visiting teams calling cards is one of the striking features in UK football culture.

Fleetwood Town I just about get,

All change at Preston lads

but Eintracht Frankfurt ?

I’d given Matt my own phone charger (and extracted a promise that he’d use it), so I popped in to Fishergate to buy myself a new one.

Then I set off to take photos of tall buildings.

Plants growing out of buildings a good sign
Very grand

By 10.30am I’d had 2 hours sleep in 28 hours, but was perked up by a chance of two more flat whites before our 11.15 kick-off in the Old Vic.

Good signs

You may recall that at Christmas the Twelve Tellers was a bit manic.

Friday morning revealed a tranquility and grandeur I’d missed last time.

Can you guess what it was

There was no way I was drinking Wobbly Bob or Plum Porter at 10.30am; who do you think I am.  Good to see some well-dressed folks keeping pubs going though.

It’s too late to send milk to Table 74, these posts aren’t live you know

Two more flat whites, one topped up with espresso, and it was time to face the heroes of the pubbing world, however reluctantly.

To be a hero, like Tom.



    1. I’m convinced Martin has only persuaded the poor lad to go on this course so that he has an excuse for the new hipster, craft beer drinking (liquid bounty bars in Brewdog ahoy…) image that is going to to be displayed in his imminent, selfie obsessed, overhauled blog. A purple beard mid-life crisis a la Billy Connolly awaits our delectation. Well anything to get barred from Brunning and Price at any rate.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Yup.
    Being sick with worry when they go radio silent never gets any easier no matter how old they are.
    I do worry about your caffeine intake though young Martin.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “worry about your caffeine intake” – yes, precisely my thought when I’ve realised the Abbot’s drinking well at 10am in one of Tim’s venues and then notice I’m surrounded by customers drinking mug after mug of coffee.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Far be it from me to revel in any ostentation of knowledge, but I can reliably inform the reader, that the Rolls Royce Thrust Measuring Rig, or, as it is better known, The Flying Bedstead, possessed NO inherent stability. It incorporated an experimental automatic stabiliser system. During its numerous test flights, varying degrees of intervention by the stabiliser were performed, including a few in which no stabilisation was active AT ALL.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a parent I feel for you, especially when your offspring is on his own in a relatively new environment.
    Mind you, we managed before the days of mobile phones without being constantly in touch. At the tender age of 20, I buggered off on an Inter-Rail trip aound Europe for a month. Apart from the occasional post card home, my parents hadn’t a clue where I was, or what I was getting up to.
    On the subject of football calling cards, I haven’t seen any from Cracovia yet, although the rail replacement bus in from Krakov airport yesterday went past the stadium.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Reminds me of the joke about two old boys wearing hearing aids who walk into a pub where there’s a singer up on stage giving it some welly.
        Above the noise one of them mouths at the barman ” what’s that ? ” pointing to the musician.
        The barman mouthed ” Country and Western. ”
        The other feller sign asks his pal ” what did he say ? ”
        ” Some c*** from Preston ” his mate replied.

        I’ll deffo get me coat.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. P P-T,
        That’s a brilliant joke but I had been trying to forget the horrendous rendition of Abba’s Waterloo I heard during the karaoke session in Preston’s Sun while I was staying there after the recent Proper Day Out with Martin and other pubmen.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Some workmates of mine ended up in a C&W place in Preston, one night in the 1990s. One of them, not a bad singer, offered to do one with the band, but couldn’t resist sending it up. He was thrown off the stage, and the rest of his friends were approached by a burly type in a cowboy hat, who pointed to them each it turn, a word apiece, being “I. Am. Going. To. Kill. Every. Fookin’. One. Of . Ya”

        I wonder if it was him in the pic?

        They left, btw. Quickly.


      4. Etu,
        And that’s probably what would have happened had Martin tried videoing the karaoke in the Sun.
        But I blame Abba for having a hit with ‘Waterloo’.


  4. I blame those who bought the record, Paul.

    But these Country and Western jobs were something else. I remember in the 1980s, in the farmland to the south of Nottingham there used to be these hoedowns in barns, which featured stunts as well as music and dancing.

    One tale which stuck in my mind was of this “expert” with a bullwhip, who asked for “a brave volunteer” to sit in a chair with a lit cigarette, which he would expertly extinguish with a crack of the whip. I’ll draw a veil over most of it, but five attempts later the hapless daredevil was still in the chair, trembling, frayed cigarette still smouldering between his lips, and ever more numerous bloodstains on his fringe jacket. It all ended with the 1980s equivalent of a fist bump though.

    Aficionados would turn up with blank-firing revolvers too, which they discharged en masse at the relevant point in whatever song which featured gunshots on the record, deafening all the musicians and filling the place with smoke.

    Happy days.


    1. Etu,
      Well yes, and I don’t blame Watneys for brewing Red Barrel, I blame the pub goers who bought and drank it.
      I had two weeks on a course near Bingham in Nottinghamshire but I didn’t witness any cunning stunts like that.


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