23rd December 2022.

Mrs RM eventually turned up at Manchester’s library (the central one, rather than Rylands or Chetham’s), and thankfully hadn’t bought me a Christmas jumper from Primark. Because she’d lost her purse (left it in the car, detail fans).

Matt was just about to finish his last cut; Mrs RM had mysteriously lost interest in shopping and needed a pub.

Ah, this’ll do.

Now some folk who will remain nameless have been a bit rude about the City Arms recently,

and I take criticism of one my 476 Top 100 pubs very personally.

How was it faring on the eve of Christmas Eve ?

Same as normal, really. Groups of young lads, groups of Old Boys, the odd (nearly) middle-aged couples (hey ! that’s us !), and the usual mix of local beers, old favourites and the Plum Porter.

Mrs RM, justifying my rash decision 30 years ago, had somehow found a spare table, the best in the house. How does she do it ?

To reward her efforts, I added a packet of her favoured Monster Munch to the order.

The PP was PP (practically perfect); cool, crisp and chewy (NBSS 4).

But what do I know ? Mrs RM went “Mmm, that’s good” at the taste of the new Pale Rider, before launching into a diatribe about provenance and how Bakewell wasn’t Sheffield etc etc.

Matt had finished a pint of Holt’s Crystal Lager in the Old Monkey (good lad) with his colleagues and joined us for another pint of that (excellent, I thought), and I admired the Gents on the way out into the Manchester night.

And then we set off in search of something new and exciting for tea, but inwardly we knew all we wanted was a a greasy cheese toastie from Northern Soul washed down with Shindigger.

Now that is a great cheese toastie.


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