3rd March 2023.

Due to popular demand we returned from Greece at the start of the month, just so I could start blogging about UK towns and pubs again for you, dear reader.

It took longer to exit Luton Mid-term parking than it did to fly home, due to, and I quote the parking operator, “a myriad of possible reasons including approaching the barrier or a spider in the CCTV camera”.

Two days later I was headed to Stunning Staffordshire for an Old Codgers Day Out in Uttoxeter.

Uttoxeter always seems a distant planet, possibly a different time-zone, but it only takes an hour and splitting fares at Derby makes it a reasonable day out.

I was accompanied by Sheffield “Will” Hatter, who gets cheaper fares as he’s approaching middle-aged. Stafford’s own Paul Mudge was meeting us there, and occasional codger Leon would make a later appearance.

You’ll all know Leon; he’s the one whose tweet on Sam Smiths has gone viral.

No Sam Smiths in Staffordshire, but lots of Bass, though the colourful welcoming banner at the station thinks we’re more interested in flowers and swimming and knots.

I’ve never really got to the heart of Uttoxeter, and frankly didn’t quite manage it on a day when the walking barely topped a mile.

The longest stretch of that is the road from racecourse to market place, past supermarket and crumbling corner shop. But at least the clock on the church is right; there’s only a 7% chance of that in England.

Our itinerary, which was due to end with a lone new Guide entry that opened at 3, fair picked itself, though with all the pubs called “Old” or “Black” or “White” or “insert animal of choice” the opportunity of confusion was high.

Bass, Bass, Bass, Pedi, Bass, homebrew. Let’s do this.

The Black Swan, in the GBG before Simon and Leon were born, is the early opener.

11:15, and I reckon I had the sixth pint pulled. Winning.

The Black Swan isn’t in the Guide, possibly because of a lack of CHOICE (or spreadsheet formatting error), but was pretty much a perfect start to the day, perhaps a bit too foamy if anything (NBSS 3/3.5).

Here we see Paul updating Unttapd or whatever the kidz do these days.

A long banquette stretched to the bar, the conversations were very non-beer related, Paul handed out extracts from Uttoxeter beer guides from years past, all was well with the world.

The soundtrack was “Old School”. Back when Elvis sang his comeback hit,

pretty much all pubs looked like the Black Swan.

Still plenty of pub life round here though, as the newly added to trophy cabinet attests;

My notes say we talked about “finings”, which sounds a bit unlikely. But my notes never lie.

Though they sometime tell only half the truth.

8 thoughts on “A WINNER IN THE 11:15 AT UTTOXETER

  1. Worked with some guys in Stockport who used to go racing at Uttoxeter, but always ended up watching the races in a pub there. It was only when I went through the place on a train a few years later and saw how close it is to the station that I realised they’d probably walked past the racecourse to get to the pub. They always called it Uttox, but the locals I knew in Stoke as a student pronounced it Uttchester.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Martin,
    “Uttoxeter …. seems …. possibly a different time-zone” yet when the “crumbling” Wheatsheaf, between the Nisha Shop and the steeplechase ( formerly White Horse ), was still a pub long ago I was told that it had been the first one in Staffordshire to have a juke box.

    Martin’s “notes say we talked about “finings”” and we did, that they only work properly once or twice, hence a pub that moves its beer about more than that between delivery and stillaging suffering unintentionally hazy beer resulting in beer scores that risk its place in the GBG despite it being rated highly in Pub of the Year competitions on account of its “choice”.

    One might think that the railway station was built for the racecourse rather than the town, especially with the underpass that came with the ‘new’ bypass. Uttoxeter was though a junction until 1963 and the first automatic level crossing in the United Kingdom came into operation at Spath two miles away during February 1961, the safety of such crossings being greatly improved after the disaster at Hixon eight miles away during January 1968.
    Stokies might know it as ‘Uttchester’ but ‘Uttcheter’ is probably in more common parlance.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s