May 2023.

My last Greater Manchester GBG tick didn’t come till May, which is poor form.

But at least it gave me a rare trip into Woolyback country, and a chance to admire the flashy new Newton-le-Willows station.

When you live in the scary lands between Warrington and Wigan you get your excitement from new stations.

49 minutes from the home of Rick Astley to Lowton, which is also famous for a pop legend. You’ll have to wait for that; or search Wiki.

It’s a dull walk from Lancashire into Greater Manchester Wigan, enlivened by some roadworks and wysteria.

But, just before my left hand turn off Southworth Road I see the letters PH on the map.

No, not “P*** here”, Simon, it’s a pub.

BRAPA was actually driven here by Pub Curmudgeon in 2018.

It’s not a very BRAPA OR Pub Curmudegon sort of place, and quite why I felt the need to make a return visit a decade after my tick is unclear, but it’s becoming harder and harder to walk past an open pub.

Some very smart pullovers on display in a pub where 80% of folk are having the sandwich and fries lunch, and though the price of a simple lunch seems to have hit a tenner of late I don’t think Terry and Julia would be needing any tea.

The staff were really nice, the service unfussy, the beams real.

Simon didn’t recall much of his visit, no idea why, but noted some “Mudgie-appropriate music“.

Well, it couldn’t have been this ;

American readers may not believe this but Shaky was bigger than Elvis in the UK in the ’80s, and “Oh Julie” was an unlikely Number 1 just before Kraftwerk and The Jam back in the winter of ’82.

Vocation Brewery didn’t exist back then when everyone drank Hofmeister or Tetley, and it was odd seeing it here in Wigan, but their stock beer was cool and full bodied and held its flavour for the duration of Shaky, Pat Benatar and T’Pau, so NBSS 3+ it is.

So what IS the (tenuous, very tenuous) connection between Carol and Shaky ?


  1. None if Wikipedia is anything to go by, but Carol Decker has appeared on Pointless Celebrities – partnered by Roy Wood, no less!

    Stretching things ( a lot), they both live in towns on the River Thames, both towns hold regattas, and both were once home to substantial breweries – Marlow (Wethereds) , Henley (Brakspears). I will leave it up to you readers to confirm who, lives where.


    1. Got it, Shaky beat Carol on the TV show, Hit Me, Baby, One More Time. (Never seen it, never hears of it!)

      ps. If a pint of Doom Bar is the prize for the correct answer, please donate it to charity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many times, Camrambler, and always against my will.

        Martin wants pics pf lacings, which on this occasion – despite a perfect pint of barely- sulphurous-Pedigree at the Romilly – I can’t supply.

        However, I do have one of my shoe. Which looks like Nigel Farage:


  2. My mate Richard has seen both in concert. Probably not what you were thinking, but nevertheless true.

    Second guess… they both drink Bass?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do they both have a NDA with CAMRA, prohibiting them to include lyrics about autovacs in their music?

    I believe once, whilst separately on tour, they argued about the last packet of Toffos at Strensham Services

    Other than that I give up

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t see that to be honest. It’s well know in the music business that Shaky doesn’t like Michaelwood services. I guess if it were a choice between there and Bridgwater then maybe, but can’t see it mate. Do they both perhaps have camper vans?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was the first time I’d ever met Simon. I met him in the Cherry Tree at Culcheth and then took him here and the Queen Anne at Golborne. All pubs I have never been to before or since.

    Liked by 1 person

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