I’d have liked to have explored Grange-over-Sands, to see whether it really is a retirement village or the new hub of counter culture, but a delayed train arriving before my scheduled train (does that make sense ?) meant I could save half an hour and get to Preston 2 hours earlier than planned. And who wouldn’t want more time in Preston ?

The journey over the bay is wonderful,

my attempts to use the WiFi pitiful. A typical UK train journey will involve logging in and out of train WiFi 18 times and being faced with every possible sort of mobile phone charger.

The GBG22 brings me to Carnforth for the first time since I ticked the Snug, one of the early micros.

Of course, the town (pop. 5,560) is more famed for the refreshment room (recreation in top photo) used in a 1945 film about a well-known pub ticker who pops in to enquire about toilet facilities but finds they’re only available if you buy a flat white.

I still have NO firm opinion on Carnforth, oddly, and half an hour in town still leaves me a bit perplexed.

Some Halifax-style cobbled streets, some astonishing architecture,

and the Guide newbie Royal Station is almost regal.

Pleasingly, the main entrance leads you to the wrong bar, the “ale” bar being round the corner.

It’s packed at 15:50, youth and Old Boys mixing happily under the railway memorabilia.

I find the least offensive table, score the Lancaster Citra an OK 3, and eavesdrop on a painful conversation on the next table.

A middle-aged bald bloke is attempting conversation with a lass from Workington (he’s never been) about Blackpool (he’s never been). Her boyfriend is pleasingly bored with the conversation, and I don’t blame him. NEVER trust a man who has never been to Blackpool.

I’m struggling to feel much love, or hate, for the place, and just feel a sense of confusion. Is this really a bidet ? What even is a bidet ?

The train leaves in 20 minutes; I almost make a dash for a new micropub with the least generous opening hours in Lancashire;

but having decided I’m finishing the Guide this year I don’t feel the need to do pre-emptive ticks. That may come back to bite me, but as the train glided on towards Lancaster I really couldn’t give a damn, as the famous line in that film from Brief Encounter goes*.

*Don’t bother


  1. As it’s 10 minutes walk from the station to the Taps on the Green, and probably a similar walk back again, I assume you were joking about contemplating doing the pub in the 20 minutes before your train left. Though knowing the speed at which you walk, perhaps you were not.

    I had a brief encounter (no coffee involved) with the brewers from QBrew in the Crossing, a few miles south of Carnforth, in 2019. From what I remember of the conversation, I think they are running the pub on Kellett Road themselves, after a hard day’s work in the brewery, hence the limited hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just to reinforce what I always say about brewery bars and opening times, they can open when they like. The two (Milton and Pastore) in Waterbeach only open a few Fridays or Saturdays a year as showcases for their beer and carry-outs. It’s duff info about opening times I struggle with.


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