Thursday, 7 July 2022

A Twenty-One Gun Salute?

My arrival at Hightown station was heralded by a fusillade of gunfire, presumably from Altcar Barracks; or were the locals just celebrating the demise of an unpopular leader?

I set off on a one mile rural stroll along roads mostly without pavement; I had to step into the weeds each time a car approached.  I made it to target number one unscathed apart from some nettle stings.  The never before visited Pheasant:

Here I found an up market dining pub very well decorated.  Three handpumps on the counter offered Wainwright, Doom Bar, and Landlord, but only Doom Bar was available.  Only one out of three often indicates they are not really interested in cask quality so I ordered a pint with some trepidation, but I needn't have worried, it was good.

Not many customers were here at two on a Thursday, and all those I could see were eating.  Actually, there were quite a few cars in the car park, so probably more people in than I thought.  The interior, though knocked through into one room, has kept some of the interior walls, breaking up the space into separate areas, so quite a few people could be hidden from me.

There wasn't a food menu on my table so I couldn't comment on the offer, but I suspect it's up market and fairly expensive.  I checked the internet: Fish and chips £14.75

I retraced my steps back to Hightown, and the Hightown:

I think it's had another refurbishment since my last visit, in 2017, and the inside is beautiful.  The colour scheme is shades of grey, of course, inside and out.  

Aside:  This fashion for grey is going mad.  Luckily I like it; in the last few months I've had some work done in my house, and you'd struggle to find anything coloured in the tile showroom or the carpet showroom.

Once again, only one handpump in operation, and it is offering Theakston Summit, specially brewed to be served chilled says the pump clip.  And it was poured in a chilled glass as well. Hmmm.  Actually, leaving my preconceptions aside, it was a very tasty hoppy brew which I enjoyed after my long walk back from the Pheasant. 

There was a singalong going on in one corner of this wonderful pub, quite a large group accompanied by a number of ukuleles.  I was going to write "singalong for the elderly" but they did Blowing in the Wind which is closer to my era!  Last time I met a singalong it was songs from the forties in the Durning Arms in Edge Hill, back in 1999.  Actually I think it was more than a singalong here, more like a choir practising; sometimes they stopped mid-song and talked a bit and then carried on.

The fortunately silent telly reported the comings and goings at Downing Street.

What time is my train to Formby?  Curses!  No internet on my phone nor on my tablet.  Oh well, there's a train every 15 minutes, I'll just have to go when I'm ready, and take my chances.  In accordance with Sod's Law, there was a train at the platform as I stepped out of the pub, no chance of catching it so I had to wait for the next one.

From Formby station it is not far to walk to another new tick which opened in 2020, I believe.  The Tin Shed:

A standard micro-pub shop conversion this, nicely done.  Four handpumps, three in service, and my pint of something from Hawkshead was very good.

Four other customers were here at half three, two enjoying the same cask as me, the other two on red wine.  

Unlike some micro-pubs this one doesn't offer a range of craft ales, in fact I couldn't see any.  Nothing wrong with that, it's quality cask that's most important, and they've got that nailed.

A new entry for my collection of amusing pub signs:  Drinking can cause memory loss... or even worse, memory loss.

Once again, no mobile data, what is it about this area?  Or have I failed to pay my bill?

Three fine pints of cask so far, where should I go next?  There a Wetherspoon's just round the corner but wait, to get there I have to go past the Village Inn last visited in 2014 so I'm afraid that takes priority.

Well, that was the plan but what's this?  Woodwards Winebar:

That most desired discovery on these research trips, a place that's not in my database!

A well decorated shop conversion with some very comfortable sofas as well as more standard seating.

Aiming for a different market from the Shed, this one has no cask so I had a Guinness. Looking round, other customers had wine or gin or coffee.  It's after four now and the place is quite busy, definitely the most "bustling" pub so far today.

I could go home next, but why not tick off the only other target in the area?  (All the other pubs, excellent though some of them are, have been visited in the last three or four years)  So I carried on to the Village Inn:

Now this is most certainly the opposite end of the market from where I started in the Pheasant.  A nicely done interior with lots of tellies showing racing, everyone drinking lager. (Except me, I had another Guinness)  It doesn't seem to have changed since I was here in 2014.

A couple of dozen customers, all male, marked this as a classic or throwback boozer, reminiscent of many I drank in back in the 1990s.  (Actually, there were two women in as well.)

On a technical side point, I noticed one of the TVs was showing "snow", I didn't think that still existed in the digital era.  Perhaps they still feed analogue UHF to some of the older displays?  A minute later it was showing Wimbledon.

Three quality pints and three new ticks is a good score - Only six more to get fourteen hundred!  Let's go home.

Pub of the day: The Hightown 
Miles walked: 3.6
Maybe coming soon: Crossens

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