(Before you ask the half was mine.  #PintWomen )

At the weekend Mrs RM made me go and look at houses in the North.

You know, THE NorthMumsnet readers know it well;





Comic gold. I guarantee you, most Mumsnet readers think Stockport is in Manchester, which they think is in Stoke.

GinDaddyRedux (real name) gets it right in answer to the eternal question;

Why is The North seen as backward and undesirable?


As you’ll know, we’ve been contemplating our move to the barren North for years.

Now, with Mrs RM able to work anywhere, and both boys looking for homes in Manchester (well, Salford) and Sheffield, we’ve stepped up our search.

New Mills
Under 3 hours

Yes, we kicked off in New Mills. Half Man Half Biscuit summed it up in 13 words.

“No frills, handy for the hills, that’s the way you spell New Mills”

Tight terraces, views over chimneys, ominous clouds.  Burnley with a soul.

View from the Masonic

Mrs RM had seen a house she liked there.

Er, do you remember New Mills ?” I asked.  “Show me it”  she said, not unreasonably.

I was only here last May with Charles, but I can’t pretend I know it well.

It’s very hilly. How will Mrs RM cope ?

New Mills.PNG

The Beer Shed is the highlight of a simple High Street.  You couldn’t even socially distance with yourself in its narrow confines.

Ah, memories

There’s a few Marple-esque touches.  A famed vegan cafe, organic pottery, fire-glazed scones etc etc.

But I wanted to show the REAL New Mills.

It’s the Masons !

As we descended to the Masons Arms I tried to paint a picture of the town as one of those slightly smarter suburbs of Oldham which retain somehow retain their own character and whose cobbles haven’t been completely smoothed yet.

She just wanted a beer.

Pre-emptive, I said in 2019. I was right

The lady at the table outside gave Mrs RM a long stare, then rushed inside to serve me.

I disinfected my hands, wrote my name and number, read the instructions, and headed for the bar.

Pristine pumps

Sorry for staring, your wife is the spitting image of my Mum” she said, possibly compounding her error.

This was the pub recommended as a pre-emptive to us last year, where Charles and I gulped halves in 30 seconds before running for the Buxton train.

Spaced out

I like it then, and while quieter on our second post-Lockdown Saturday it still felt a place you’d like as a local.  Pint, half and nuts for £4.90.  The Storm had that straw taste I like, a solid NBSS 3.5 suggesting it wasn’t last Saturday’s barrel.

Mumsnetters from Cambridge or Camberley or Chelmsford wouldn’t move to the North to save £3 on a pint, a half and nuts, would they ?

No.  But they might move for views like this;




  1. It’s not just a British thing; Dutch guy I worked with in Leiden, fairly outgoing, his idea of a holiday was going to New York so he could work as crew on a sailing vessel heading back to Europe for the winter. Talking to him one day, he’d never been to Antwerp. About an hour away by train, speak the same language (more or less) – like living in York and never having set foot in Newcastle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True. What is always interesting to me is the short distances. Many Americans only know their regions, but the distances are great between areas. In Europe you have the same thing with really short distances. Never fails to amaze me that someone in Leiden wouldn’t say some night “let’s go see the cathedral or pub in Antwerp.” We are funny things.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Further in the thread someone mentions 400 mile journeys. You can get from Hitchin in Herts to York in well under 3 hours (174 miles). I can be in Yorkshire in 2. The evening trip to buy fish and chips in Grimsby in 2008 is still talked about in Cambridge.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Had to chuckle at “…organic pottery, fire-glazed scones etc etc.” Reminded me of a sign I once saw, “Gluten-free storage” outside of one of those storage facilities where people hide the junk they can’t let go.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That photo of the Masons Arms looks just like the location of the Rock Tavern t’other side of the gorge where I had a pint of Robinsons last year.


    1. I know what you mean Paul, but it’s slightly deceptive and when you’re there it doesn’t feel the same at all.

      Fascinating town, though. And only a short train journey from Sheffield (or Manchester, if you must).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. SH,
        Yes, a fascinating place and with a hint of t’North that’s unusual in a Midlands town.
        And not everyone knows it was the Luftwaffe that got the Swizzels sweet factory moved there from the East End.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I would say Derbyshire straddles the boundary between Midlands and North – in this area it’s probably at the Trent/Mersey watershed. And Glossop makes New Mills seem positively Southern 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re taking a very traditional view of North/South dynamics there, Mudgie.

        The Mumsnet reader from St Albans would feel they’d gone oop north in that Holt’s pub (never mind the Sam Smiths) , but feel right at home in the wine tasting bar across the road.


  4. Ooh ,The North -as a professional Northerner I can’t not comment on this -those Mumsnet comments are priceless ! Whats not to like about The North -cheap beer,cheap houses ,great transport links down to that London for a bit o culture etc I would be off like a shot if our lad moved -sadly he has settled in Holloway for the time being.Our chums bought a 4 bed new detached for less than the cost of our smallish 3 bed detached in Farsley near leeds

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What name do you post under on Mumsnet? You seem very familiar with the content. I agree with Dave – it’s astonishing how ignorant are of their country. All they have to do is read your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. North? New Mills? Pah! I am currently drinking evil craft keg in a newly re-opened pub in Lerwick, North of the 60th parallel. THAT’S North.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a great line: “You couldn’t even socially distance with yourself in its narrow confines.”

    My best friend in England is from the north, so my impression of England has a sort of in-built pro-northern bias to it; to the degree to which I was honestly surprised to see those “the north is an acquired taste” type comments. Among the many benefits of the GBG ticking quest is that you get to see every far flung corner of the UK eventually, and come to appreciate the positives of all the different regions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Duncan and I could provide a useful, low cost advice service on where to move (“Pride drinking well in Aldershot, avoid the hen parties in South Shields”).

      Simon can’t even find a toilet in Newark so I’d avoid his advice.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I thought you might move somewhere where the local railway station takes you to the most places, then I realised that would probably mean living somewhere awful like Clapham.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How about somewhere really North…. maybe a picturesque harbour village with several decent pubs, one of the finest fish and chip shops and not too far from civilisation or a railway. And you did mention once or twice you rather liked Seaton Sluice.


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