Another long drive on Saturday morning, with only a panini break in Tuxford on the way to Matt’s new house. I’ll save “Panini and Prosecco break in Tuxford” for a future blog.
Mrs RM fulfilled a bucket list ambition by taking Matt and girlfriend Emma to the giant IKEA in Ashton-under-Lyne.
Regular readers will know my fear of the Swedish giants (not Ibrahimovich), and I left the flatpack shoppers on Level 3 at 15:30, assuring them they could have as long as they want. TWO hours if necessary.
Then I got lost in the pot plants (don’t go there) and had to be allowed to slip under the security fence to escape into Ashton Central.
I started at the Ladysmith Centre, named for the legendary South African choral group who popularised Paul Simon in 1986.
Talking of Paul, the busker hidden behind the Specsavers sign was gamely murdering “Mother and Child Reunion“; I tipped him the usual quid.
How do you spend an hour (or two) in Ashton on Saturday ?
Why, in Spoons of course. But not with a queue THAT long.
Would YOU queue for a £1.39 pint of Doom Bar ?
Instead, I went for a wander. Ashton has suffered since my first visit to buy a Tellytubbies bedspread in 1997, but that’s no fault of the Teletubbies.
There’s still masses of superb architecture.
And the odd pub that you think seriously about entering (who are Northside Brewing, anyone) before deciding to leave it to Quosh, who actually owns most of East Manchester.
WhatPub is your friend, more than ever. It found me Tapsters for a speculative pre-emptive tick.
A small modern bar in the modern Lancashire tradition, I entered to a soundtrack of Nu-Country from the likes of Nate Smith (who ?) and Jameson Rogers (who ?). Quite appropriate as Tameside is, as you’ll know, the home of Line Dancing.
Legally I have to compare Tapsters to another recent GBG entry to get it in the Guide, so it’s the western cousin of Greater Rotherham’s Something BREW-Inn, with a touch of Levenshulme Fred’s.
“Politely classy” I wrote, as adverts for Burnley College bookmarked the country music, played at a decent volume but not too loud to overpower the pleasing Moretti-fuelled Lancastrian burr of the dozen or so inside.
Everyone was complying with the rules, a lovely lady at the bar was somehow delivering table service as well as scrubbing tables and choosing Kane Brown (who ?) as the next track. If someone had put on a whole Queens of the Stone Age album they might have been lynched (not Kenny).
WhatPub promises BBB, but instead you get one beer, from established family brewer Seven Brothers.
It was great (NBSS 3.5+), and at £2.75 a bargain. By flashing my Gold Card I could have had a second pint half-price, but Mrs RM would surely have finished her shopping for lamp shades and brackets by now ?
It as 17:30. “We’ll be another hour” said the message. “Eating vegan meatballs“.
Ugh. I popped in Quosh’s curry choice, Lily’s Vegetarian Restaurant, and feasted on Aubergine and peshwari naan.
It wasn’t bargain, particularly for Ashton, but it was superb. And I got to swap 2020 country music for this one. Sing along now,
It was 18:30. “At least another half hour, table service IKEA slower than in the Spoons“. What ?!
I went for a stroll up Oldham Road, past the bakery and this once classic Robbies GBG local.
And then I headed back into the maelstrom that is IKEA on a Saturday.
Reader, we didn’t get out till 19:45. Think on that. Even American football games don’t last that long.