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Archive for March, 2012

Given this year’s unseasonable March weather, I decided a couple of weeks ago not to sit at my desk hoping that new work would come in (I’m currently waiting for feedback on work already done before wading back in to it) and to spend the time doing other things.

So far I’ve started to work on the garden: potatoes are chitting (and the soil is turned and waiting for them), tomato plants and courgette plants have been potted-on and their tubs are full of riddled compost ready to go; I’ve been to stay with Karen and Dave and ‘done’ Llangollen and I’ve taken my parents for a day out in Blackpool, which was fun.

When I was a child Blackpool was our yearly holiday destination. Huddersfield’s ‘textile’ weeks always seemed to follow the holiday week then taken by Glaswegians. The first time I remember being taken away was by train but all I remember is being frightened to death by the enormous smoke (steam) breathing, scarily noisy monster coming out of the tunnel at Huddersfield railway station. After that and every year until I was 10½ we went by coach (Hanson’s), via Todmordon, Whalley, and Preston – a trip of about three hours (including a stop at the ‘Half Way House’ for pop and crisps). The coaches used to line up in Sparrow Park (now gone) and take hundreds of factory and mill workers and their family’s en convoy for a week (sometimes two) in Blackpool.

We often stayed in ‘digs’ up around the north shore, above the north pier, in between Gynn Square and Uncle Tom’s Cabin and that’s where I headed with my parents this week. They were delighted to have a day out in such fine weather and, like me, were amazed by the changes made to Blackpool’s ‘front’ and promenade. We parked for free, alongside the Savoy Hotel and set off looking for somewhere to eat and I have to say that I’ve never seen two stick-wielding pensioners scurry around so fast. They loved it.

When we used to go as a family group in the 50’s and early 60’s walking in Blackpool was never so easy. There were so many people bustling around that walking in a straight line was so very very hard. It was even difficult to find space on the beach to pitch your deckchairs.

They’ve done a good job with the redevelopment of the Blackpool seafront, which hopefully will help to make the town feel less seedy – it used to be (and may well still be, for those who stay over and visit the town itself) SO seedy, smelly and downright unkempt. New trams start running on April 4th – so good luck Blackpool, I’ll be back. I may even manage to bring my parents along and, if you’re lucky – Sharon may even take my word for it!

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I am a beer drinker.

That doesn’t mean that I drink a lot of beer, but I do like the odd glass.

I prefer beer to wine, Champagne, Cava, spirits and pop (soda). I don’t mind any of those drinks, I don’t mind them at all – but I generally prefer to drink beer.

I like draught beer.

I don’t dislike the beer that comes in tins or bottles (although, they are a story to themselves), I simply prefer beer on tap; the draught beer that can only be purchased in pubs. I like the texture of draught beer and these days, the variety of tastes and colours with which it now presents itself.

I don’t visit pubs all that often; sometimes just once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. Unless I’m walking I rarely have more than a pint and on the odd occasion I have more than that, Sharon will drive. I don’t go for company at the pub, I go for the beer – and to relax away from home for an hour with Sharon, as we both (often) work from home. It’s a break.

Locally, I am blessed with a variety of pubs that serve an ever changing variety of beers on tap. My preference is The Commercial in Slaithwaite. http://www.commercial-slaithwaite.co.uk/. If we go out during the week, it used to be there that we went – pretty exclusively. But not so much now.

Why?

Because, at the time we go (early evening, before dinner) you cannot get to the bar for all of the lazy, ignorant tossers leaning on it! I could understand if the place was heaving, but at that time it’s just pleasantly busy with lots of room around the place – we never fail to get one of the comfy settees they have. Neither would I mind if those folks moved back from the bar just while I looked at what was on offer this week (sometimes, just tonight) and gave my order, but more often than not an “excuse me please” just gets a grunt and once I even got a “can’t you read the fucking blackboard?” (ignoring the fact that the blackboard can’t serve me) – but he was pissed and reprimanded by one of the other regulars.

What is it about leaning on a bar that makes people forget that others need to get by?

All I want to do is walk to the bar, choose a drink, pay for it and then walk away, sit down and drink it. What’s hard about that? What makes people so ignorant that I want to change my watering hole?

Rant over.

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