A bus ride in bright sunshine carried me to some overdue ticks in the South west of St Helens, and I started my researches in the Eccleston Arms:
In the twenty-two years (!) since my last visit this has moved up market and it's now a rather posh looking dining place. They also have accommodation upstairs.
Two handpumps on the counter, I'm afraid my pint of Lancaster Amber was of poor quality, probably first out of the pump today.
There were a few groups of diners scattered around the four areas, I sat in the front room in splendid isolation. The Muzak was pleasingly quiet.
Just a short walk away is the Bird i'th Hand, another pub last visited in '98:No problems with the real ale here because they didn't have any, so it was a half of fizz for me.
Outside, as you can see, this is a rather fine inter-war roadhouse, I don't think much if any of the interior is original apart from the doors and windows, but it's very pleasant. It has been mostly knocked through but pillars and some glazed wood panelling keep the separation between areas.
Only a handful of customers were in, quiet chatter mixing with the music.
The menu of pub food standards looks good, and good value. The font on the name sign had led me to believe this is another Greene King chain pub, but the menu suggested it might be independent?
On to the Black Bull:Completing a very satisfying trio of pubs not visited since 1998, this one is housed in a splendid inter-war building even better than the last one. Inside I found the interior is a mixture of original features and more modern parts.
No clips on the handpumps again, I had Guinness this time.
At three on a Thursday afternoon the place was pretty empty, in fact at one point I think I was the only customer in the room.
This large room was only a small part of the building, I suspect there are other rooms perhaps closed on a weekday afternoon, or permanently. On the other hand, I could hear voices from elsewhere so maybe they are in use.
My next target was a never before visited pub which I expected to be closed, the Glassblower:And indeed it was.
Now time for a treat, CAMRA's national pub of the year 2018 and still great, the Cricketers Arms:I was pleased to find this place continues to be a real ale fans' heaven, and my pint of Jarl was perfect. Served in an oversized glass as well.
No audible music in here, the soundtrack was cheerful chatter from the many customers, certainly the busiest pub of the day so far.
It's pleasing that, away from the town centre, hard work and quality ale can make a successful pub, long may it continue.
Pub of the day: Obviously the Cricketers.
Miles walked: 2.3