Saturday 1 April 2023

Edge Hill

I had a bad feeling about today's excursion:  Was I going to be the fool who walked miles without finding an open pub?  I headed to Edge Hill station, and to my first boozer, the Durning Arms:

Well!  This plain pleasant pub has been done up inside since my last visit.  Unless my recollections are faulty they have knocked through so it is now one u-shaped room around a three sided counter.

About a dozen other customers meant that chatter was about equal to the music in the bright sunny interior.  The former back room, with a pool table, was empty.

The regulars were exceptionally friendly, at least three independently greeted the stranger in the corner.

Moving on, I walked past the Spekeland, long closed, never visited, and now student accommodation, I think:

On to the Boundary:

It looks a little tatty inside this imposing building, but the glorious ceramics and woodwork mostly survive.  Painting was under way in the larger back room, so clearly it is not totally out of use.

Only one other customer at two on a Saturday, which is a shame.

The front room is on a slope and the counter has a step in it.  Not as steep as the Globe in town.

The other customer and I enjoyed (or ignored) Murder She Wrote on the telly as I drank my second Carling of the day.  Unusually, in here I requested "Carling please" and the barmaid answered "pint?", normally that goes unsaid.

My mind wandered:  If I won the lottery and bought a pub to save it, this could be the one.  Spend lots of money on restoration and maintenance, put on a couple of real ales, and then run at a steady loss indefinitely.  I suspect most of the cask ale would go down the drain as I can't see the locals being fans of Oakham Citra!  Perhaps Titanic Plum Porter would tempt the Strongbow Dark Fruit drinkers?

Next, on to a pub that my researches showed had probably closed since my last visit to the area, the Newstead Abbey:

And indeed, it's now a Syrian shop.  I was amused to note that the shop sign still has Burtonwood branding!

So, just down a side street is the Earl Marshall:

As I approached, the blank signage and drawn blinds suggested I might be out of luck, but a closer look showed the door was open and inside I found a popular boozer with customers of all ages filling the bar side.

Another Carling was promptly served and I retreated to a side room across the corridor from the bar.

This pub has obviously had a good redecoration fairly recently, the paint work, upholstery and carpet are all in excellent condition.  A good measure of the quality of maintenance is antique-style lights with glass globes:  How many are broken - None here - and how many light up - I can't tell.

The football punditry gave way to music once the assessment of Liverpool's defeat had finished.  I thought the BBC were a bit unfair saying that Liverpool were thrashed, losing 4-1 away to a team above you in the league is hardly a thrashing, although I should own that (a) I didn't see the match and (b) I know nothing about football.    If you're a regular, dear reader, I expect you've already deduced the latter.

From where did I pinch the "dear reader" meme?  I can't remember and Google doesn't seem to know:  Uncle Tom's Cabin?  Pah, I've never read it.  While we're asking irrelevant questions, what did we call this sort of thing before the word meme was invented?  [Update:  The word I was looking for was motif, I think.  Or maybe trope?]

The barmaid plus a customer singing along with the jukebox produced some talented harmonisation.

I walked past the closed Earle 

... and on to my next target,  another one I think may have closed, the Ashdale Inn:

No, it's still open, with a well maintained unchanged interior.  Quite a few locals were spread about the split levels.  With the front door being open it was very chilly in here, I kept my jacket on as I consumed Carling number four.  (Pint by default here.)

I examined my surroundings;  they really are well looked after.  Just like the Earl, the carpet and upholstery are spotless.  On my previously stated measure, all the lights were lit, but a number of them had lost their globes.

So, on to my next target, first passing the closed Salisbury, Waldeck, and then the Railway, all three still displaying their pub signs.  The cool sunny day had changed to a very very grey sky and a bitter breeze.

Finally, one I never thought I'd visit, the Picton:

I only discovered the existence of this shop conversion a few years ago although it has been here for over a decade, and to be honest I feared it wouldn't survive lockdown, but I'm happy to report I was wrong so I got a brand new tick for my collection, number 1,432.

Just across the road from the Wellington, I thought they would steal each others custom, but apparently both have managed to endure.

In here, a plain comfortable and warm shop conversion, with a lively gang of regulars blocking the counter.  The barmaid instantly spotted me behind the crowd and soon provided another Carling.

Certainly the warmest pub so far, which was very welcome after the walk from the Ashdale.

People came in and out while I watched The Chase on the telly.  I've only just noticed that this quiz, and the Tipping Point, are cleverly designed so that one can have a go at at least some of the questions in a pub without the sound on.  I wonder if that's by design.  Probably not, because we drunks turn away when the ads come on.

Now what?  The pub across the road is also overdue for a visit.  On a couple of recent surveys I've prioritised the tick when relaxation and enjoyment should be more important.  So this time I'm going to get it right and, because I feel I've drunk enough, head for home leaving the Wellington for next time:

Pub of the day: Earl Marshall, truly a classic urban boozer.
Beer of the day: Carling
Miles walked: 2.5 miles
Maybe coming soon: Rainford, Everton, Southport, Rice Lane

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