21st December 2022.
James has been doing his unfathomable IT job for nearly two years now, has started having “team meetings” in scary Leigh, and seems to have adapted to working life (from home) extremely well after the Covid horrors of 2020.
He’d accumulated quite a bit of holiday, and asked, uninvited, to join me a Peak District walk-cum- pub tick on Retired Martin Eve. James, along with his housemate Matthew and his parents, are some of the fastest walkers I know.
Planning these trips is half the fun. Let’s venture into the mysterious lands where Derbyshire and Cheshire Greater Manchester collide.
Naturally, a dry day, perfect for a stroll along the Peak Forest canal.
More hills along the canal than in the whole of Fenland, we reckoned.
In Marple’s Memorial Park, we spotted the stocks used for locking up errant GBG tickers. Two holes for BRAPA’s legs and four for Colin’s.
First trip to Marple in five years, where there were three (3) new Guide entries as shop conversion bars came to town. The village over the bridge remains a twee collection of foodie pubs, but the town proper has a surprisingly large collection of actual shops (think Newmarket scale).
I didn’t notice this art piece in 2017,
and I didn’t notice what Bevi was before they stuck topiary outside,
and Plum Porter on the taps.
Now, this was unexpected. Where you expect a middle-class gin and wine place you actually get a proper boozer with Old Boys reading the paper, perhaps reflecting Marple’s lack of a JDW (read “Miss Marple and the mystery of the missing Spoons“, Collins Crime Club, 1952).
£3.50 for a couple of halves, a rich Plum Porter (3.5) and something with a daft clip from Little Critters I chose for James, who luckily drinks anything (possibly except sours).
An eclectic soundtrack ran from the White Stripes to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to the live version of “Don’t Fear the Reaper“,
and it looked as if the vinyl on the wall was equally challenging.
Loads going on upstairs, with a Star Wars theme carried on into the Gents. I’ve never seen Star Wars. Any of them.
Half an hour till the train to Chinley, so I planned a route that would take (said Google) 32 minutes if I didn’t stop every 10 minutes to take photos of pub windows.
“Are you sure we can get back this way” asked James, who should have less faith in his Dad by now,
but he did descend the steepest steps of the year to take the short cut to Marple Bridge,
and didn’t complain once. AS HE WASN’T WEARING INAPPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR.