15th April 2023.

Still two hours before kick-off at the Etihad so, just for once, I had a leisurely afternoon just dawdling.

And there are few better places to dawdle than Ashton-under-Lyne.

When you’ve had two lunchtime pints in short order the temptation is always to head for a third somewhere interesting;

but not eating at lunchtime is a very bad idea, kids.

The estimable Quosh had given me a carefully curated list of culinary choices (ooh, alliteration), but when anyone does that I feel obliged to find somewhere not on the list.

Ashton Market Place is no Halifax Victorian Market, but Char Char Kitchen seemed particularly authentic with Chinese families occupying all the tables, rather than hipsters.

It’s so authentic, you get a Soya bean drink with your Beef Satay and rice. It’s hot and tasty (NBS&RSS 3.5), and highly recommended if the meatballs at IKEA are sold out.

I then remember a particularly good coffee in Ashton, but can’t find that stall, so go for a permanent looking Market Grounds, where the black coffee is the best in Manchester. Honest.

Ashton also has one the best collections of trees growing out of old buildings in the North-West.

Quosh was a regular in that night club, apparently.

One day I’ll visit the museums here,

but not today, though an aimless wander down to the old baths is a good substitute.

They should run a craft beer festival there.

And then I bump into the Witchwood, home to Ashton’s best font, and the long-awaited reunion of The Smiths this Christmas.

£12.50 !!!! I saw the actual The Smiths in 1984 for half that.


  1. I saw the blues harmonica player Blind Mississippi Morris live at the Witchwood once. Being blind, I’m not sure he was aware of the size of the venue as his opening words were “Good evening Manchester”, although he still managed to sign the CD I bought in the interval for me.

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