With Peaky Blinders opening early and Ralph’s Wife’s opening late (well, 16:00) I had time to do the tourist trail between Southport and South Preston.
Bet you didn’t know there was a tourist trail, heh ?
It’s worth visiting Churchtown’s Botanic Gardens just to admire the loos (20p, bring change, don’t tailgate).
In 2021 the Gents won an award for most signs stuck to a public toilet, while the Ladies is a design classic.
The stretch from here along the Ribble Estuary is a twitcher’s dream, but I like my birds to stand still so I can
count see them.
The little aviary in the Botanics is the highlight in a park that’s seen better days and is best seen outside winter.
Most folk seem to visit the cafe (I’d been looking in the wrong place before) and picking up plants.
I’m the son of a horticulturalist, so I can tell you these are (very cheap) plants.
And that this is a flower.
But that’s my lot.
I can tell you nothing about the birdlife in RSPB Marshside, either.
But it’s a tranquil hour’s walk along the estuary, and I can only wish there was a footpath that would have taken me to my micropub in St. Annes.
But the Bank in Banks will have to do.
The agricultural village of Banks (pop. 4,116) is a bit like Waterbeach, I guess. Excellent soil, close to a big town, quite a bit of new housing on the edge.
But Waterbeach doesn’t have a micropub with two apostrophes like Ralph’s Wife’s (it’s just off Ralph’s Wife’s Lane), this year’s big tick for GBG completists.
Lancashire has gone down the “small village pub for all” route for its micros, and Ralph’s has a Dutch cafe feel (not THAT one) that will appeal to Mrs RM. Your feet touch the floor, in contrast to the high table round the walls model micro. Good coffee, as well as a Southport beer that was near perfect (NBSS 4).
The landlord is chatty and welcoming, giving me a little tour and history lesson that I love.
They’re building Co-op across the road (“It’s a Wetherspoons !” shouts the other guy), and you sense a community asset in the real rather than legal sense.
Outside, I alarm the bloke parked up by taking a photo of the pub which he worries is a pic of his car.
“Don’t worry, I’m just taking a pic of your famous apostrophes” I say.
He has no answer to that.