With the trad group of Preston crawlers still stuck in the Wellington, Matthew, Luke and I were first in the Blue Bell (stop E).


Being cultured, I would have preferred to spend the time in Preston’s wonderful Art Gallery with its relics from Deepdale plastic pitch, but was outvoted.

The Harris

Surprisingly, I’d never been to the Blue Bell before. Surprising, till I remembered the sorry record of Sam Smiths pubs in the Guide (Stockport excepted).

How gorgeous is this ?

As close as I dared get to take photo

Now, I reckon we’ll miss Humphrey Smith more than Tim Martin, should either of them ever retire.

Gorgeous pubs, cheap beer, some of it stunningly good.

Matthew waves his money around in the Blue Bell

Shame about the irritating phone ban, which as you’ll see meant I couldn’t take any photos inside except with my trusty Canon XLS.

Even worse we lost track of England’s capitulation but rules are rules.

Actually the last time I felt this nervous about a dangerous activity was when I (inadvertently) wandered into the Zimbabwe Presidential Palace while looking for the national cricket ground.


Sam Smiths pubs most easily convey that sense of peace and contentment that justify getting out of your sofa to visit pubs, and I reckoned the half hour nursing a half of keg Stout was likely to be the highlight of the day. I was wrong.

Eventually the Mudgies, Pete and the Hatter showed up, just as we were heading off to the Guild. Perhaps the confusion allowed some surreptitious photos to be taken. Who knows.

Anyway, more photos at Sam’s than at Guild Ale House,which I now have to agree has decent seating and a pubby atmosphere, despite my taking against any place with “Ale House” in the name.

Shame about the non-alcoholic Paulaner. It’s no Fun.



  1. I think Mudgie mentioned something along these lines, but I am curious on the phone ban. Is using a phone for calling what is banned or even for Internet searches and such? Are photos actually banned? Just curious on what is actually not permitted.


    1. There’s a prominent sign explaining the restrictions. But you’re not allowed to take a picture, at least not with your phone.

      Rather ripe for a bit of civil disobedience, but it’s the manager who gets it in the neck, not Humphrey.


  2. Young Martin’s daring attempts at undercover filming remind me of that older chap who took dozens of holiday snaps on his new-fangled smart ‘phone but when he got home and looked at them they were all in selfie mode.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You could try doing things the old fashioned way and take a camera along. I usually have both camera and phone when away as a decent camera (even a pocket one) will often give far better photos.

    Alternatively, I can’t see even Humphrey objecting to one of those big Victorian cameras that needed a tripod and used enormous glass plates.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Humphrey has got a knighthood? What with that and Sir Geoffrey, I’m seeing Theresa May in a whole new light.

      “For services to proper pubs.”


  4. I liked this line: “Sam Smiths pubs most easily convey that sense of peace and contentment that justify getting out of your sofa to visit pubs” –They do look like my kind of pub.

    Years ago most pubs were affiliated with particular breweries, and I gather there was dissatisfaction with that arrangement, leading to new laws and so forth. What is your impression of pubs these days that are tied to a particular brewery?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s complex. Breweries running their own pub estate are more invested in the quality of their beer, but the bigger publicly owned brewers (Fullers and Greene King for instance) are more interested in the food side of their pubs these days.

      And the most enthusiastic landlords and ladies often aspire to run free houses.

      Liked by 2 people

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