A beautifully sunny train strike day, so let's go somewhere accessible without the railway. An interminable ride on a very hot bus eventually delivered me to the far end of Rainhill, and there was only a short walk needed to bring me to the Manor Farm:
This pub in a beautiful old building was last ticked in 2016 and I'm pleased to say it hasn't changed at all in the intervening years. Two cask ales were on offer, and the cheerful barman soon served me an excellent pint of Wainwright.
Normally this place is aimed at dining customers, but a gas leak means the kitchen is closed today, although some hungry people did manage to negotiate for some puddings, which of course only require the microwave. Others gave up and went elsewhere on learning there was no food.
I couldn't tell how busy it would normally be, but today it was very quiet in the cool comfortable interior although there were a number of groups outside in the sunshine.
Next a short stroll to the Ship Inn:
Another food led place, in the Ember Inns chain with their standard decor done very well here. Not many customers at half two on a Thursday, I wonder if they were getting any diners disappointed by the Manor Farm.
Three cask ales were on offer plus three more coming soon, my London Pride was good.
Another place with a bottomless brunch offer (See this blog passim.) I wonder what you get here between ten and twelve every morning, for twenty quid? No internet signal so I can't look it up!
Very gentle background music blended with quiet conversations as I relaxed on a leather sofa and enjoyed my ale, which might be the last cask of the day. I was advised by a member of staff to keep my pint in the middle of the table, as it had a distinct slope at the edge "and you'll end up wearing it". The tilt wasn't that bad, but I complied - Better safe than sorry.
Now, a much longer stroll. I had to walk the long way round because the bypass doesn't have any pavement and it would be risky, I felt, to walk in the road. Reminded me of my time in Pittsburgh, where everyone drove everywhere and pedestrians were often not considered. Our Friday lunchtime strolls to the local pub were fraught with danger.
Eventually I arrived safe and sound at the Micklehead Green:
A standard Beefeater, this. Inside the decor is pleasant contemporary. I had this down as a new construction back in 1999 when I was last here, but I noted some old brickwork inside, and a brick archway. Could it be an older building, or is this all a well done fake?
The two handpumps were clearly not in use so I had a Carling to cool me off.
Not much custom at half three on a Thursday, the background music was pretty much all I could hear, apart from the staff chatting.
Surprisingly I couldn't see any menus, I thought Beefeater meant food?
Sometimes it's fun to listen in: Barman lists varieties of wine; woman at counter calls to her friend "what type of red?" and the reply is "a large one". A woman after my own heart!
Another long walk, again extended by avoiding the suicidal bypass route, took me to the Boars Head:
Phew! I wiped the sweat from my brow. The sun had disappeared, but the humidity and temperature felt high, and I was feeling a bit tired and overheated as I entered this rather fine multi room two sided boozer. I last visited in 2012, since when I had noted it boarded up in 2015, but reopened in 2016, and it seems to be doing fairly well in 2022.
The interior is plain but well done, with partial knocking through retaining the separation of the rooms. I sat opposite a rather fine old fireplace.
While checking the cricket score I noticed a local thunderstorm warning for today. Was I going to get wet on my way home? We'll see. I don't fancy my chances of finding an emergency taxi if it rains on a rail strike day!
Suddenly I was in a cooling breeze. Had someone opened a door, or was a cumulonimbus cell passing? It looked a lot darker outside. I called up the rainfall radar - Hmmm, I might need my umby.
The plan for today included another two targets, one never before visited, but the muggy heat and the long walk made me wonder if I should go home now. I need to walk back to Rainhill whatever, so let's see how I feel when I get there. As I walked I was spotted by a little light rain, and at one point I looked across the fields to my left to see that they were all greyed out by heavy rainfall, but luckily it didn't reach me.
My next destination, a new tick in the Bar Next Door, was shut. Drat.
So I headed to old favourite the Commercial. A quick Wainwright and I could be at the station in time for the last train home, surely quicker than the planned bus.
Cricket on the telly kept me entertained in this wonderful gem of a pub which has always been one of my favourites. It was not busy but ticking over nicely. The rain had started properly, judging by the wet umbrellas coming in.
The rain had stopped when I left the pub, but it started again as I waited on the platform. Would the last train be packed, maybe even too full to get on?
Miles walked: 4.6
Maybe coming soon: Kirkby