More encroachment into Life After Football territory, as I approach the ACTUAL border between Derby and Nottingham, the very point at which Clough switches from Ram to Tree.
Yes, it’s Long Eaton, again. The town you’re guaranteed an annual GBG trip to that will NEVER quite result in a stay long enough to make a curry or Chinese recommendation, but where you will find a decent bap.
Sawley Junction, confusingly opposite Long Eaton station, is a micro (obvs, it’s 2021), which means you’ll somehow walk past the entrance and instead approach Soldiers & Sailors (probably Shipstones) and Conker Bespoke (probably Magpie Conker DIPA).
It’s busy outside, and almost impossible to take a photo without standing in the middle of the B6540 which is NOT recommended.
After a couple of pretty plain micros of late, the Junction is lovably cluttered, and offers the promise of a reasonably comfortable seat.
Now, I’m sure I’ve noted this before, but mature (30+) East Midlands folk like to dress up to go out on Saturday night, which is scary but at least they’re going out. Some of my pubs of late have been painfully quiet and it can’t always be because they’re hiding from BRAPA.
Great to see groups of all ages out and about, chatting about tram prices and England wing backs (possibly).
More really lovely staff ask me to choose a table, then almost immediately ask me to move to a smaller one I’d missed so there’s space for a group of three. Sometimes I wish I was a group of three and could sit where I like without fear of taking up unnecessary space on the earth.
The soundtrack seems to verge from Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” (again) to less cutting edge pop, but frankly all I can gear is that gorgeous buzz of conversation we’ve missed for so long.
“Wear Your Masks To Get Your Casks” shouts the Landlord. Not for too much longer, I hope.
I’m given a brightly-coloured beer list, because that’s why people go to pubs, to taste different beers.
Life is so complicated when its not Bass or Pedi, isn’t it ?
SO tempted to ask for “Bang the Elephant” to show how craft I am, but I genuinely haven’t had a pint of Mallinsons for years and I want to know if they’re any good. Someone else has the Mallinsons as well, which vindicates my decision.
It’s a decent glass of grapefruit murk. No Almasty, but decent (NBSS 3+). I hate the glass though.
And the bloke far left with the rucksack, who I have marked down as a pub ticker, doesn’t like that bench he’s forced to use which leaves his feet dangling in mid air, but at least it’s not me.
But you know what, I‘m sawley tempted (geddit) to pop back soon with Mrs RM and do it properly, and find you a curry recommendation. Unless Life After Football has already done it.