Tuesday, 29 June 2021

A Rake's Progress

Trains took me to the last station before the Cheshire border, Eastham Rake.  I wonder what Rake means in this context, there's also a Brombrough Rake two stations along the line.

I started at the New Rake Hotel:

I was very pleased to find nothing has changed since 2015 when I was last here.  This one of an increasingly rare breed, a 1950s/60s (Actually, it opened in 1960 I believe.) estate boozer which retains a lot of its original decor.  An art Deco style lantern above me, dark wood panelling on the bar front and some of the walls, bench seats all around the room.  I suspect there might have been some knocking through, but other than that a lot looks original. (But what do I know?) 

Back in the eighties when I lived in Manchester my local looked exactly like this inside, except of course for the clouds of smoke.  It was demolished years ago.

Just like my local back then, there was no real ale so I enjoyed a refreshing pint of Carling.

The staff (Landlord and landlady?) were cheerful and friendly, despite my failure to sign in.  A few regulars were creating gentle background chatter, one said she had come in early so she could get home before the football fans come in.  I'd forgotten there was a match later, I'll have to see if I can complete my researches before the crowds appear.

A bloke accompanied by a young girl came to the bar.  A small Coke with a straw ... And five Jaeger bombs.  "Starting early", commented the landlord.  I assume he was with a group outside, unless all five were for himself!

Next, on to the village centre and the Hooton Arms:

A rather good country pub this, in the beautiful village of Eastham.  The football fans were already arriving, and all of the tables were marked as reserved, mine from 4.30.

Not much original architecture inside, I think, but it's certainly very pleasant, and the bar staff were already being kept busy, I bet they'll be working even harder later on.  Anyway it's good too see a pub doing a brisk trade on a Tuesday afternoon, even if it is only a one-off.

Loud mostly football related chatter drowned out the background music as I enjoyed my excellent pint of Landlord.

The music was from MTV, I thought they were all reality shows nowadays but apparently not.  They played my suggestion for the new English national anthem, Vindaloo by Fat Les!

I doubled back to the Montgomery which unfortunately isn't open on Tuesdays at the moment:

So, back over the borderline between ancient village and 50s estate, and on to the Argyll, hidden behind the trees:

A nicely done sixties estate pub, well looked after and very comfortable inside.  

There were quite a few customers outside, less inside, altogether enough to keep the barman busy.

My pint of Ossett Yorkshire Blonde from the only operational handpump was decidedly past its best, I'm afraid.  Last time I was here, in 2015, they didn't have any cask, and I would have been better sticking to keg again this time.  I resisted the temptation to ask for a takeout so I could pour it on my chips later.

The big screen was set up ready for the footie, I'm guessing it will be busy in here come kickoff time.

Once again I observed how the table service rules can be handled well:  A solitary drinker on the far side of the room waves his nearly empty glass which is enough to get him another pint.  It's a shame that some places are just not coping as well as this, requiring one to mess about downloading apps, and it's always a different app to the one you used in the previous pub.  It seems to be the chain places that are the worst at this, with the honourable exception of Wetherspoon's.

More people came in as kickoff got closer, and the background music was replaced by the inanities of the overpaid crisp salesman.

Now I've got a choice:  Only three pubs done, do I go for a long walk and join the footie fans for another tick or two, or do I just go home.  I'm afraid I took the lazy option...

To punish me for that decision things started to go wrong:  First, my mask broke as I took it off on exiting the pub.  Second, it was a bit further to the station than I thought, and I arrived there at ground level at the same time as my intended train arrived on the bridge - no chance of catching it.

Pub of the day: New Rake for its classic architecture and all-round atmosphere.
Miles walked: 3.0
Maybe coming soon: Southport.

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