Nothing wrong with Cheadle, Cheshire/G.Manc, of course, it’s almost Stockport. But it lacks the, er, earthiness of the mysterious town in the Staffordshire Moorlands enjoying its first Beer Guide entry for a decade (stat fans).
This Cheadle is a workmanlike old mining town whose economy rests on the JCB factory and presumably the need to supervise nauseous rides at Alton Towers.
It’s no Leek, which may well be the tourist slogan.
But the Bird In Hand is a (minor) classic, if only because the Bird In Hand hides its glories under a bushel, if that’s not a metaphor too far.
No visible signage, no obvious entry, no smoker at the door. It’s a good job I had Mrs RM with me to go “A-ha” (insert ’80s Scandi pop band of your choice).
Inside, it feels very Staffordshire drinkers pub.
It’s 12:30, the Landlord and Landlady are sitting on a table eating their lunch now they have a moment after the first rush of trade, so we sit down on the table next to them to make them feel uncomfortable, or possibly because it’s the only free table.
This is Cheadle’s equivalent of Burton’s Derby Inn (R.I.P.), or the Tiviot in Stockport. I think the Old Codgers would have lovely day out here, but sadly the nearest railway station is 80 minutes walk away and I’m not taking buses with my bladder.
A bargain round; pint of Burton Bridge, coke and crisps for under a fiver.
I’m not sure what Mrs RM really thought. The beer was OK but I was beginning to think that I wasn’t suffering too much as coke-drinking DES with a wonderfully basic pub atmosphere and a bag of cheese and onion.
But I was a bit worries about the symbolism above the door on the way to the loos.
On the way back to the table* I consider whether to tell Mrs RM about the woke art in the Gents.
I decided against it, and never did hear what the Ladies contained.
*PAY ATTENTION : THIS TABLE WILL BECOME SIGNIFICANT LATER.