I started with a Good Beer Guide tick, the Jug and Bottle:
I took an excellent pint of Brimstage Trappers Hat served in a Brimstage glass, and sat down on a church pew. A few groups of happy customers filled the room with gentle chatter.
Next, a walk down steep hills. I enjoyed the scenic views of the Dee and Wales beyond, thinking they won't be so pleasing when I have to climb up again:
I trudged back up the hill as far as the Dee View:
Sound in here was a quiet commercial radio station, and chit-chat of regulars and the staff. Then, the music switched to the selections of a young lady who proceeded to dance and sing along, to the amusement (or possibly embarrassment) of the regulars. I think she belonged to the pub? After a couple of numbers she left, and peace and quiet was restored.
The decor in here, wooden beams and the occasional horse brass, is exactly the same as last time I was here, nine years ago.
Next, back towards Heswall town centre, and the Exchange:
I must say the Trip Advisor reviews of this place are pretty mixed, to say the least. I can only report that service was cheerful, friendly and prompt and my seat was comfortable.
Having worked in the industry for many years I was intrigued to learn that the building is a former telephone exchange, hence the name.
Across the road is the Otto Lounge:
I couldn't see anyone eating at four on a Tuesday, but the menu of standard pub fare plus tapas looks good. As soon as I'd typed that, food appeared and before long I was nearly the only customer not dining.
The trouble with open windows is that wasps can get in. One annoyed me for a few minutes, but when it tried to steal some of my lager it had crossed a line. I squished it!
My next port of call was the Paradox Bar:
The friendly barman gave me a pint of the house lager, even though I think I asked for a half. It was more flavoursome than a Carling, anyway.
I sat at a table right in the middle of the deserted room, lowering the tone I fear, but with more staff than customers, forty minutes after opening, who cares?
Two girls came down the stairs and were immediately served with food. Did they order it in an upstairs bar? Presumably.
I must say the slightly quirky decor in here is rather attractive. On the Paradox theme, they've got some Escher works, a favourite of mine. As I say, not my sort of place and definitely not a pub, but nonetheless very pleasant.
My eye was drawn to one of the TV screens. It was showing the cooking methods for items on the menu. What a brilliant idea, I was soon keen to try their food. I'm surprised more places haven't used this clever promotion, although I suppose "Take bag from freezer, 95 seconds in microwave, empty onto plate" wouldn't be so enticing.
I headed onwards, committing the cardinal sin of walking past a never before visited bar called Barcode, I'll save that for my next time in Heswall, and so to the Harvest Mouse:
My pint of something from Otter was not bad, but not the best I've had. I couldn't see anyone else drinking real ale.
The place was ticking over gently, mainly with diners, it's a member of Greene King's Time Well Spent chain. The sound here was quiet chat mixed with the background music, which as I typed this played the Eagles' Desperado - You can't do better than that.
It was time for the long bus ride back to civilisation, and then a train home.
Coming up: How about Cains Village on Saturday?