Sometimes I feel like the luckiest lad in the world, until I remind myself I can only name one Van Halen track (“Walk this way“) and am therefore culturally redundant.

On Sunday I got a haircut from the lad which was almost worth the cost of his barbering course, and then set off for Woollybackland.

Ashton-in-Makerfield gave us tickers an unexpected treat last year with the Caledonian striking a blow for Proper Pubs.

It’s gone one better this year.

The Caldeonian holds on, edging out an estimable Spoons, joined by an inevitable micro and the Hingemakers, tucked in the terraces just off the high street.

Sometimes I think the only people who defend the integrity of the GBG are us tickers, you know.

The folk who stick to “CAMRA pubs” on their coach trips and busmans’ holidays would pass over this classic community pub with two beers.

No choice!

And miss out on the joy of a Sunday afternoon session with folk from 18-85, which is well beyond average life expectancy in the town.

Expectantly waiting to see what the next hoppy gues beer will be

If you don’t like BRAPA’s blog you wouldn’t like this.

“What yer having?”

you choose

The Citra was £2.80 a pint, cool and crisp (NBSS 3). Who’s laughing now?

I perched near the pool tables and was transfixed by my first packed pub for weeks. Perhaps I should start visiting pubs after midday.


Just time to admire the timber and the Christmas carols in the market square.

You know how i love Christmas

Round the corner in the Twisted Vine, opposite the taxis and takeaways, the music was pleasingly maudlin.

Typical micro exterior

Yes, it’s our old friends the Verve, who came from That Wigan and so count as local.

I did the Haka, a lovely juicy 3.5, and listened sympathetically to the woes of another middle-aged gent under instruction from his good wife.

She likes giving instruction. She’s a schoolteacher

Could be worse. Could be an IT professional, I thought.


  1. My untrained daughter has cut mine for free (well apart from the bank of Dad) for years but I guess a number 2 all over isn’t really classed as a true haircut 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Martin, we must have passed like ships in the night! I live not too far away, 1/2 hour gentle walk out past the racecourse. The HingeMakers is a true gem, if only for the sculpture over the door. It is a ‘proper’pub. Not yet got to the Twisted Vine yet but I do have a fondness for the Firkin on Newton le Willows High Street and the Nine Gallon in Warrington.


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