Would my luck improve after Tuesday's disappointments? Once the rain stopped I headed for the Kensington area of Liverpool and began my researches in the Olympia Hotel:
Inside the rather scruffy building is a beautifully cared for three room pub. Both lounge and bar were populated by plenty of cheerful locals.
The lounge, where I sat, is completely covered in Everton paraphanalia, I didn't check whether the bar side was "red".
The conversation here was about town (That's Scouse for the city center, by the way.) being too crowded due to the Pride festival.
Across the road from here were the famous Grafton and the Derby, both closed now:
The Alexandra Lodge is now something religious, a reversal of Wetherspoon's trick of converting a Methodist Hall into a pub:
Bourne Arms has completely disappeared in what is now an industrial estate, and then the Cumberland is housing:
Newsham Park I was surprised to find it open, my Streetview researches having suggested otherwise:
Once again, Saturday afternoon means a significant number of regulars, and the background chatter was louder than the music.
Unknowingly, I was sitting in Tommy's corner, so when he turned up I had to talk to him - The landlady warned he might sit on my lap because I was in his seat! Actually, he was a useful source of info, telling me the next target was open - "I've just come from there". He was keen to buy me a drink, but I explained it was one per pub, so we shook hands and parted.
So, on to the Sir Walter Raleigh:
The immaculate interior includes a classic plain early 20th century fireplace with original ceramics.
While I was drinking my lager, a man arrived with a parcel which was six inches by six inches by about ten feet, labelled Projector Screen. When he came up to where I was sitting I said "It'll never fit". "I told them, but that's the size they wanted" he replied. Surely the time to install a giant screen was before the world cup? Although it's just in time for the new football season, I suppose.
I should confess that I swigged my lager more quickly than usual in here, to make sure I escaped before Tommy joined me - His last remark had been "I'll see you in there, get me a pint of Carling!"
That's it for Boaler street, so I moved on, passing the closed Molyneux:
A hubub of locals' chatter mixed with racing commentary in here.
Last time I visited it was during an England match in Euro 2004, and all the regulars had painted faces, hats, and hooters. I wonder if they did the same in the recent world cup?
As I drank my fourth Carling the sky blackened. Would I get soaked? Only a short walk to the next pub, and thence to the bus stop, so probably not. A brief downpour threatened to spoil that prediction, but by the time I'd been to the gents it was almost over, so I just caught a few spots on the way to the architectural splendour that is the Kensington:
Back in 2009 I noted this place was closed, thank goodness it wasn't permanent!
The sound here is purely the hubub of cheerful chatter from the large number of regulars.
As usual, I was monitoring the activities of the other customers: I'm sure "Excuse me! Landlady! Two halves of lager" is not the way to ingratiate oneself with the staff. Mind you, it seemed to work, maybe I should try it instead of waiting patiently to be served! Oddly, the two halves were for someone else, and the purchaser left them on the counter and disappeared.
Another strange sight, a bloke came in carrying a bar stool. He moved another stool out of the way so he could sit on the one he'd brought.
Time for a bus home. Coming soon: With the resumption of normal-ish train services, somewhere over the water, maybe Heswall?