22nd March 2023.

Quite a significant date, this. The first day my son James drove me to a pub. #ProudParent #23YearsWellSpent etc. etc. If he’d passed his test a year earlier he could have driven me to Claddach Kirkibost.

I’d sat quietly in the passenger seat when he drove his car (a blue one) home from Car Shop Nottingham on Sunday, resisting the temptation to ask him to divert off the M1 towards the Dead Poets or similar hard-to-reach Bass pub.

Wednesday night saw James heading to Manchester for a haircut off Matt, and me with a gig on the same road. And with the last train home from Piccadilly leaving before 22:30 it made sense to give James some experience in negotiating a big city.

And the Snake Pass.

Actually, perfect conditions for getting experience in windy roads, regular stops at traffic lights, and the hell that is the A57 through Mottram.

And, in the Aquatics Centre, a multi-storey car park to negotiate a few minutes walk from Oxford Road at the end. Never mind the emergency stop, all driving tests should require you to show you can get close enough to press the ticket button in a multi-storey car park and park with the ticket in your teeth.

So, let me say for the record that James may be the best driver in the family, though I bet he couldn’t negotiate his way to Leigh without Sat Nav.

Technically James didn’t actually deposit me at the door of a pub, leaving the engine running while I nipped in for a half, like expert ticking teams do, but it’s a start.

An hour to my gig at YES on Charles Street meant an hour to find a new tick. Eccles just about worked. 42 minutes between trains, 16 minutes walk each way to the Monton Tap, 3 minutes for a loo stop and getting lost, leaving 7 minutes for a beer and photos. Not ideal, but I’ll take it.

With such a tight schedule I had the perfect excuse to walk quickly from Eccles station and it not look like I was terrified I was going to get stabbed (that would be Weaste).

It’s not a 0.8 mile walk to compare with the walk from the Dog to the Elms in Burton, but there are two discarded shoes, 300 yards apart, that perhaps tell a story.

Though I doubt it’s Cinderella.

On my walk I convince myself I’ve been to the Monton Tap before, but actually it was the Wobbly Stool in Swinton, which looks identical except it’s on the other side of the road.

Across from the Tap is a Holt pub, which if I wasn’t ticking GBG23 (if I am) I’d be allowed to go in rather than these micros.

High stools, beer blackboard,

localish cask, interesting keg.

BUT… young folk enjoying some excellent beer (Brewsmith NBSS 3.5) to the accompaniment of a classy soundtrack,

and upstairs an (inevitably unused) room full of local colour.

If I lived in Monton I’d alternate between here and Holt at the Park and be happy.

As long as the trains into Oxford Road worked.

Oooh, only two (2) minutes late. It’s a MIRACLE !


      1. Talking of long walks…

        Yesterday started at Worsley’s Barton Arms, a wander down the canal to Monton’s Waterside then the Park Hotel. The plan was then Swinton’s House of Hops via the new-ish greenway – but wandering past Monton’s cricket pitch had us sat outside watching that with a pint first! Good beer everywhere, Waterside was keg which was fine on a warm day.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Monton sounds a whole lot better than when I lived there as a student in the 1970s! The Blue Bell at Monton Green was, I think, the only pub there then. Good venue for students though! The Holts place was a hotel then – much changed now.
    Later I moved to Hadfield near Glossop and the A57 Mottram Moor was a nightmare then (1980s). Not much change there then.
    Pretenders Brass In Pocket featured as someone’s choice on Craig Charles trunk of punk on Radio 6 last week. Great song, but I wouldn’t have classed it as punk. Maybe I’m wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In 1979/80 EVERYTHING was punk or post-punk according to the BBC (unless it was Cliff Richard. I’d just turned 15 when Brass in Pocket made Number 1 and it made a deep impression on me. Rather underrated classic.


  2. “You’ve seen the light”

    We certainly have. A free newspaper called the Light was shoved through our letterbox the other day. If you want to play Right Wing Conspiracy Theory Bingo then it’s the very thing, cover-to-cover. It’s originated in Stockport apparently, we read…

    As for seeing things though, when did anyone last see one of these (found by the new landlady in our local)?


  3. I read that as “heading to Manchester for a haircut off Matt, and me with a wig on the same road”.
    At my age I should take my time reading the same as with everything else.
    Only yesterday I mistook a grazing deer for a leaping salmon on the Stafford Forum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve done that on a road trip in Ireland some years ago with my mate Phil.
      Me: Ooh, is that a badger?
      Phil: Bill, it’s a black bag.
      Me: Oh yeah.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hadfield was Royston Vasey. My wife was asked for directions one day of filming by Steve Pemberton. Our local butchers did a good trade in “special sausages” for a few years! And a friend of ours ran the local cafe which featured as “Burger Me”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although I drive past Hadfield a lot, I’d never driven through it till the other month when the road from Mottram to Glossop was closed. Never had a Beer Guide pub in my time.


      1. No GBG pub in my memory. Palatine was a Robinsons pub and Chieftain was Hydes. Both OK, but my pub of choice was the Star next to Glossop station, when I gave up negotiating Mottram Moor and caught the train to work. Convenient stopping point on way home as trains went to Glossop before Hadfield.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You prompted me to look at What Pub, Martin. 7 entries, 4 cask, but the Palatine last surveyed by High Peak CAMRA in 2015 and others a decade ago, Clearly not a favourite for branch socials !


      3. I lived there for 30 years. It was a pretty good train service, and I very rarely drove to Manchester.


  5. High Peak, Tameside and N.E. Cheshire CAMRA (don’t forget the full title) oddly enough had a social in Hadfield/Padfield earlier this month, a rare outing which probably won’t be repeated for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Imagine if HPTNEC merged with SSM what would the new branch be called! CAMRA HQ are trying to alter branch boundaries & HPTNEC may lose the NEC bit (basically Disley & Poynton). 2 GBG entries per year so they rarely change.

        I doubt that there will be a write up in OT, only 4 pubs and nothing of note.


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