Blimey. What a month.

Almost constantly travelling, pinking in counties as I go.

Things almost seemed back to normal in early September. Autumn brought dramatic sunsets over Northumberland and Teignmouth and an Indian Summer to Lulworth Cove and the western Lakes.

We had a great stop in Barrow, visiting rotting pubs, a cracking curry house and the eerily beautiful approach to Piel Island.

Some absolute classic pubs to look back on, though oddly remembering these only makes things worse now.

The Black Horse in Preston was as gorgeous and irreverent as ever,

a (probably) final visit to the Jolly Angler in Manchester was a bitter-sweet affair,

and the Ship in Seahouses was full of chatty southerners (well, Yorkies) drinking Amstel.

And not a substantial meal in sight ! Except for Baa Baa Toure’s haddock.


We helped Matt escape Salford for Manchester, becoming over-acquainted with bright yellow storage units in the process.


Aiding Matt fill his new abode with Ikea’s finest flatpacks led to an hour in Ashton-under-Lyne’s scariest shop, but at least I enjoyed the curry of the year at Lily’s over the road.

Yes, the North had the best pubs, the best beer and the best food. But soon, it would all be beyond us, as the return of schoolchildren and undergrads did for Covid rates what pubs and restaurants had failed to do.

Oh, nearly forgot. We also found time to choose a house, near this classic.

As you can tell from the hill, we were about to become Northerners.

38 thoughts on “2020 IN REVIEW – SEPTEMBER

    1. Dave,
      October 2019 = Huddersfield, Manchester, Preston and Stockport, Bridgnorth
      October 2020 = Nowhere
      October 2021 = ????


      1. But if nobody worried about stuff then there’d be no progress.

        Just think.

        “Isn’t it a nuisance, having to light candles to see when it’s dark, Mr. Edison, Sir?”

        “No worries – doesn’t bother me one bit, mate”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’ll have to make your own amusements for now, as we kids did in the 1950s and 1960s, when parents would say “Just give ’em a few sticks to sharpen and a penknife, and they’ll be content for hours” or failing that “Is there any petrol left in that can? Give it them and a box of matches and we’ll have peace for the rest of the day”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, it was “Just give ’em a few sticks to sharpen and a penknife, and they’ll be content for hours” when I were a lad, bigger sticks for a ‘man trap’ across a path in the back field and smaller ones for sausages cooked over a small bonfire.
        There was no can of petrol but I’d make my own fireworks each November.
        It’s quite sad what children nowadays miss out on.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. It doesn’t help that when pub doors finally did crack open late summer, I was pretty selective about where I went. Which meant all the local favourites, holiday favourites, and Belper favourites. No micropubs, no stainless fermentation tank theme bars, no pubs at all in Leicester obvs! Yes they were largely empty, but it was largely wall-to-wall memorable pubgoing while it lasted…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Er, I had the Rose in mind for that celebratory first pint with you (Stones keg, £2.60, I’m buying).

      The lack of any any idea of when that might be is the worst part. Sheffield have moved toward the top performers on Covid, ahead of South Cambridge which I just left, but it will count for nought.


  2. Can you become a “northerner” or is some sort of in-depth, cultural training, followed by an equally elaborate initiation ceremony/rite, necessary?

    Surely, just upping sticks, and plonking yourselves down “oop north,” doesn’t count – unless you want it too, of course!

    ps. Only kidding, and wishing you all the best in your new abode, especially when you get the chance of visiting all those great looking pubs you keep teasing us with.

    pps.I wasn’t aware Stones Bitter was still around. I’ll lay money that it’s no longer brewed in Sheffield.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I think the initiation ceremony is a gallon of Magnet and a chip butty, OK with me.

      I was sure you were right about Stones, but research suggests the cask Bitter IS brewed in Sheffield, by True North Brewing. I guess 99% of sales are keg Stones though. Personally I long for a time when ALL beer is brewed in Wolves so we know where we stand.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. A revival of cask Stones Bitter was planned to go into production with True North Brewery, which is situated right in the middle of Sheffield, on the edge of Devonshire Green, in March this year. According to a piece in the Yorkshire Evening Post it was due to go on sale on 2 April…

      But according to the True North website, it was indeed available from 3 September at the Riverside, just across from Kelham Island, and at some of their own pubs in October.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sheffield Hatter,
        But do you know if it’s a genuine attempt to accurately recreate a once great beer or just cashing in on the name ?
        A few years ago in Wolverhampton I regretting getting the new Springfield, lighter coloured, higher strength, hoppier, citrussy and nothing like the M&B Springfield Bitter of the 1970s and ’80s. I should have stayed in the Great Western.


      2. Thr True North brewery occupies a small city centre industrial building. I get the impression that the brewery company is probably fairly heavily loaded with debt, as they have expanded quite rapidly, including taking over the Old Grindstone and Punch Bowl in Crookes, both formerly Greene King pubs. They have been running the latter themselves, while the former is being run under a short term lease by Stancill Brewery. They also have the York Hotel in Broomhill and the Broadfield on Abbeydale Road, all four of those pubs being food-led. They seem to be into making deals – they apparently persuaded GK that letting them run the two Crookes pubs would be good for GK’s The Ball (midway between the two) as it would make Crookes a destination pub area.

        They have proudly announced some sort of partnership deal with Molson Coors, which is presumably why they are brewing cask Stones Bitter. (From what I can gather they are genuinely trying to recreate the beer, including, they claim, talking to former workers at the long since closed Stones brewery.) I stopped drinking their beers a couple of years back, because I wasn’t impressed with either the types of beer they brewed (apart from the bitter) or the way they were kept (in the York), but I would be interested to try the Stones if I ever get a chance.

        I did visit the Blue Stoops and according to my review on Pubs Galore I thought the beer was “very good”, but that was three years ago.


      3. Yes indeed, Paul. But no doubt they were hoping to sell quite a lot of it on the back of the beer’s famous name and local provenance.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That at least makes a refreshing change from breweries who ditch the well-known and loved branding (particularly the clips) of their best-selling beers. Thinking as much of Adnams as I am Pedigree here !


      5. Yes, but Adnams remains one of my favourite Bitters and Pedigree is still from the Unions in Burton, even though Wolverhampton could of course do a lovely version of it.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Would Pedi be the same without the sulphur, though ?

        I’d begun to despair of Adnams Southwold Bitter till I had a pint in a plastic cup from the Mill in Cambridge during Lockdown and it was wonderfully dry.


      7. Wolverhampton can do anything so they could find some sulphur.
        The three-beers-is-plenty Holly Bush at Salt not far from me kept Adnams Bitter impeccably, but the lessee died not long ago.


  3. Was the punchline to the gag – to which you alluded the other day – “You only get two oars in a rowing boat”, by any chance, Martin?


  4. “Blimey. What a month.”

    Blimey indeed!

    “and an Indian Summer to Lulworth Cove and the western Lakes.”

    Ahem. That’s cultural appropriation. But, since you have my darling wife’s name in the first photo below, we’ll let it go. 🙂

    “The Black Horse in Preston was as gorgeous and irreverent as ever,”

    That flooring, with that shading, is almost hypnotic.

    “Except for Baa Baa Toure’s haddock.”

    I never took Baa Baa for a fish person. 😉

    “becoming over-acquainted with bright yellow storage units in the process.”


    “as the return of schoolchildren and undergrads did for Covid rates what pubs and restaurants had failed to do.”

    Not according to the government ‘experts’. 😉

    “we were about to become Northerners.”

    You’re further north than I am!


    Liked by 1 person

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