Back to Manchester last Saturday for an eight goal thriller at the Etihad.

I kid you not, the couple next to me turned up after a quarter of an hour, went for chips at half time and missed the sixth goal, then sodded off home to Stockport (it’s miles away) before the eighth. They probably think Watford won.

Before that, the joy of an arty morning in Manchester,

Not Manchester

and the mild disappointment of the closure of my new favourite curry cafe.

Micropub hours

I’d time for one new pub.

NOTHING (zilch) new in central Manchester so I took the fast train to Ashton. Would have been cheaper on the metro but takes 3 times as long.

Very straight train line
For you train lovers

First time on Tameside for a while, and always a joy.

QUIZ TIME : Name the TWO World Cup winners from Ashton. Clue – One got a hattrick in the final. And no, the other one wasn’t Pele.

A bustling shopping centre with plenty to admire:-

Street art, literally
Great micro names. All beer served in shoes like in that Belgian place
Sculpture “Crowds greet conquering BRAPA”

For research purposes, I popped in the revitalised Ash Tree; a Spoons teeming with City fans somehow ignoring the bargain Lees. I thought it was all United out here ?

The Ashton Tap House is tucked away at No.16 in the indoor market, which means an idyllic wander through hosiery, hinges and Hot Pot.

Desperate Dan pies

Ah, there it is.


It’s tiny. It makes Chorley’s Bob Inn look like a Spoons. 16 blokes squeezed in; some call it cosy but I’m not that type. Really friendly though.

Two beers and a Perry. Always go for the strong, dark one, folks. It was silky (NBSS 3.5+).

Hopefully not the last we’ll see of Donkeystones

I stood at the bar and plonked my glass on the table behind. Frankly, I couldn’t move.

Ten seconds later, a chap was drinking my beer. Foxfield in reverse.

What a fine magazine

To stop him profusely apologising, I nicked his pint off the bar, luckily the Stout as well.

He was great. Came from Cheshire (Hyde) to drink in Lancashire, and like the rest of the bar had already been immortalised in caricature on the pub wall.


Sure, I’d prefer bench seating, wheezing Old Boys and a pub cat, but the Tap is as pubby as it gets. Which is just as well given the decimation of Ashton’s pubs since 2007.

A cracker. Just don’t forget the Hot Pot.


  1. The Hosiery pics feature in pt.2 yes?

    Never been in an indoor market I haven’t loved. Good chance of a record stall, butchery and pies, broken biscuits, other stuff! The Hereford one has a kind of cider bar, but a micropub is a perfect fit. They should all aim to have a bar of some description like wot they do on the continent.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Leicester lost its crumbling rambling 70’s indoor market, complete with moving walkways for the kids to play on, formica furnished cafes, and a whole floor dedicated to ‘foam rubber – cut to size’. We’ve now got a much reduced glass box with a fraction of the fish stalls and a tripe stall that sells sourdough ffs! Outdoor fruit’n’veg still essential though, that’s what having a big Bangladesh and Afro-carib community does for a city…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh,good trick question.
    Sir Geoff Hurst is one,natch but the other one took a couple of minutes to find out out – Italian world cup winner Simone Perrotta.
    Here’s one for you – which Ashton-born national broadcaster whose career ended in disgrace once got into a scrap with your correspondent over a woman in a Blackpool hotel suite which ended up as the front-page story in two national newspapers ?
    The three word headline in both rags was the name of the TV show for which he became most famous.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good grief. I just assumed it was Simon Hoggart who was implicated in the Kimberley Quinn affair and linked to “Grumpy Old Men”.

        Stuart Hall seems to have been airbrushed from Ashton history,along with Rolf Harris, Bin Laden and the Teletubbies.


      2. He was a superlative radio sports reporter but a reprehensible lowlife even then.
        Caught me with a sneaky dig when I thought we’d agreed to disagree.
        It’s why I sold the story.
        Can’t stand a chap who doesn’t abide by the Queensbury Rules.


  3. I think I bought bhajis and samosas from your new favourite curry café on my way from the Hare and Hounds to Piccadilly railway station four weeks ago. .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They’re not proper Hot Pots with pastry on top.
    That’s what my mother would have said and she’s from those parts and coincidently Ashton was her maiden name.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Used to go to Ashton Market every couple of weeks with my mam and auntie. Not been back since the fire in 2004, but now there’s beer available (and I’m not a child) I may have to rectify that.

    Still got a soft spot for oven-bottoms, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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