6th February 2020

It took three trains to get from Heaton Chapel to Bromley Cross, all of them delayed for reasons like “Train manager has lost his map”, “Unexplained item in the packing area” and “You don’t really want to go to Bolton, do you ?”. Never mind, I’m sure it’ll be as great as ever once it’s been renationalised.

I had to spend 25 minutes at Bolton Station, not quite enough time to nip out for a pint and Jamaican curry at the Market, but too long to stretch out a poor excuse for an Americano from the stunningly named Coffee House inside WH Smith. How do WHS cling on ?

As the train pulled in (late) to Bromley Cross in Bolton’s posh suburbs I reckoned I had 10 minutes max in the Nook & Cranny, a typical micro name I kept getting mixed up with Nog & Firkin while writing this post.

Bromley Cross

I reckon the N & C will rotate between locations like “Bolton:North”, “Egerton”, “Toppings” and “South Turton” in future editions of the GBG to keep tickers on their toes.

Anyway, this is apparently the 5th best place in Britain to raise a family, as it’s comprised entirely of schools and takeaways, the two things children need when growing up.

Amigos named after 1981 Black Slate hit

There were plenty of children in the Nook, something I like to see, even if it does scupper my snapping.


At my advanced age the beer boards all over the walls are a tougher gig.


Best just go for the one on the middle of the bar you can see.


The Brewsmith was cool and foamy (3.5), the atmosphere friendly and vibrant.

Yes, they’re playing darts in the side room. Darts, toddlers, music, keg; Herne will be appalled.

Sitting next to the beer barrels

Not a bad way to finish Greater Manchester GBG for the year.

By walking 25% quicker than Google expects I’d eked out an extra 5 minutes in the pub, and even entertained thoughts of half a Flat Cap in the Railway with 4 minutes to spare, but sensibly headed for the tiny platform to catch the 18:40.

The gate to cross to the Manchester bound platform was locked.

I’ve locked the gate, the train is on its way”. In 4 minutes time !


So you have to wait for the train to pass the crossing, the lady to unlock the gate, and then make a mad dash to jump on the train. Or walk round the back of the station via Ramsbottom, I guess.

Matt was closing his barbers tonight and was giving me and his brother a much needed cut before I took them out to tea, as we call it in Manchester.

“Do James first” I said, and went on a stroll to see if there was anything new in town.

Must visit sometime

Not obviously, so I waited patiently while Matt tidied James and Emma played deathcore on the shop stereo, which makes a change from Sam Smith I guess.


It was 8.45 when he finished, by which time I was famished and past caring if I looked like Ian Gillan. Matt had worked out who looked better on his Instagram account, anyway.

I only just had energy enough to walk the 20 yards to My Thai (opposite the Ape & Apple) for a beer Massaman and a can of Northern Monk.

Foaming tankards

Whatever happened to the beer glass ?


  1. “I had to spend 25 minutes at Bolton Station”. Last August I had 66 minutes there up to 10am which was ample time for a pint in Tim’s Spinning Mule.

    As they often go for silly names I might have expected Crook and Nanny but Nook and Cranny does give a hint of a micropub being “poky”.

    Mention of the Ape and Monkey reminds me that I’ve found that one of the best central Manchester pubs for a proper Sunday lunch.

    And haircuts reminds me I’m overdue one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Matt was closing his barbers tonight and was giving me and his bother a much needed cut before I took them out to tea”. Freudian slip?


      1. Quite a surprise last night when we watched Netflix’s “The Stranger”. Almost came out of my seat when I saw the Bakers Vaults come into view during the first 13 seconds of the show. What a beautiful spot.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am not sure I have seen the Boars Head yet. I can’t believe I would miss that. Several street scenes have looked very familiar to me.


  3. If you were delayed by more than 15 minutes, then please do fill out a delay claim form.

    Bolton Jamaican curry intrigues me. A possibility for either pre or post match on Saturday I think.


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