If you’re expecting a new wondrous recipe, then move along please, there’s nothing to see. It was drizzling when I came out, a typical autumnal day,
“Not your usual bus ticket though”
It’s never easy trying to gauge timing on a Sunday, not wishing to miss my train and ruin the day, I ended up in town with far too much time to kill, I went for a mooch. I ended up close to the Hall of Memories, a monument to the first world war, I thought the people milling round there, were setting up for a service to include the 11 o’clock observance, how wrong was I? On closer inspection, I found it was a photo shoot, and the object of the shoot, was a male body builder, dressed in only a thong, I turned on my heels, moving away, shaking my head, ‘only in Brum’, thoughtless and tactless to the last. The German market had been set up, it filled me with dread looking at it, the German market has evolved from a place where you could find something different to buy, to a tourist attraction for the Carling Brigade that live outside Brum. Each year, it gets bigger, with less stalls, and more places you can fill up on imposter German lager and food. I and the vast majority of Brummies, despise the damn thing, it’s a huge inconvenience to anyone actually trying to get through it all, both in terms of size and time. . . . . but as it’s increasing in size, every year, it won’t be ending just yet. . . . . oh, how we long for it to go out of fashion. I cat napped on the train up to Preston, by which time, the 2 pieces of marmalade on toast had worn off, and my stomach was moaning that it needed feeding. The rather long queue at the main buffet, put me off, and I went to a smaller one, on the opposite platform, I made do with a microwaved bacon bap, it filled a gap, but I can’t say I was impressed, I couldn’t help reminiscing about the buffet at Huddersfield. A little later than advertised, I was on the last leg, with the wonderful Northern Rail. Correction, Northern Rail is on its last legs, it just has to be. We were informed, we needed to get off the antiquated train we were on, without any explanation as to why. A Virgin staff member, informed us that we were to depart on another train on an opposing platform. Getting there, the digìtal display was still showing the next advertised service, I’ve covered about the ‘class’ of train that came in, before. These old ‘buses’ can’t get much older, before the duct tape and sticking plasters, simply won’t work anymore. Nephew Dave rang me up to check on my progress, I stated what I was on, well aware of how incredulously I view these archaic contraptions, he wished me luck. Chorley isn’t far from Preston, but I genuinely had reservations with whether we’d make it. Much relieved getting off in Chorley, I met Dave. Relieved that I’d made it, but also relieved that out of the chaos, I’d been on the platform at Preston, when the bugle had sounded for the start of the minutes silence, marking the Armistice. I’d got designs on dragging Dave to The Crown, but Ben, his youngest, wasn’t 100%, and like a good parent, wanted to check on him, so we went back to his. It gave me the opportunity to greet Steph, his wife, and a much needed cup of tea, most importantly, we were able to share how depression was gripping us, talking to a fellow depressive, you don’t feel so much of a freak, and it stops you from feeling so alone, you’re able to reveal your darkest thoughts, without the person you’re revealing them to, instinctively worrying about you and wanting to help. Just over 10 minutes before kick-off, we left his, encountered a group of pavement dancers, who had got there eyes on another set of pavement dancers, thus leaving us alone, and got to the ground, with enough time, he really does live that close, to get a programme. At £5, two fools were a little reluctantly, parted from their money, the article on the Chorley Pals, making it worth it. The Mags, got the Armistice observance, slightly askew, after standing in reflective silence outside the turnstile, we interloped on the official one, that was taking place on the pitch, it was an awkward stick or twist moment, we found a decent spot, as the game got underway.
Chorley came out of the blocks early, and really took it to their football league opposition, this early pressure, resulting in a great header, giving the Mags a deserved lead, if Doncaster thought they were going to have a relaxing Sunday stroll, they were to be rudely awakened, Donny clawed their way into it, claiming a scrappy equaliser, it should’ve really have been cleared, it woke the followers from Yorkshire up. It was a proper cup tie, and a proper league v non-league game, professional tricks v honest endeavour,
“It wouldn’t be the cup, without one of these”
Mags hit the post, and Donny had a glorious chance, at the other end, so much so, that I averted my eyes to watch the inevitable celebration to the goal, only there wasn’t a celebration, there certainly was, when Chorley went 2:1 up though, half time came, and the first 45 minutes, had been vastly more entertaining, than the whole of the 90, from the previous days fair.
“Even the moors were trying to get a view”
Their wasn’t any let up in the second half, but one particular incident, did alter the game, a straight red, it seemed an innocuous challenge, but after much surrounding of the referee from the Donny players, protestations from the Mags players, and the eschewing ‘handbags’ between the two sides, the crimson card was brandished. After the miracle cure had been administered, the ‘victim’ frolicked around, like a spring lamb. It meant that it was going to be backs to wall, for Chorley to hold on to the lead, valiant in their efforts, ultimately, they were to relinquish the lead, but at least it was to the best goal of the game, and it finished 2:2. I won’t be at the replay, but hopefully Chorley will give another good account of themselves.
Checking my phone for the time and Sunday opening times, we settled on Shepherds Ale House, a cracking little micro pub, full of proper drinkers, and a copy of Ale Cry, the Camra mag for central Lancashire, research for future trips. I’d seen a photo of the Crown on the Camra website, Dave had taken me passed it, on the way to the Shepherd’s, but curiosity was getting the better of me, it had been taken over, and been refurbished, however, I don’t know who’s idea it was to paint the whole of the outside, a garish Orange, but you need dark glasses to look at it, even if it was one in the morning, in the middle of a power cut, hence no photo here. (Not even sure, that it wouldn’t have melted my phone, as I took one anyway) Although the horrid colour scheme, stopped at the door, the interior decor wasn’t much more tasteful, from garish to bland, I suppose it gives your eyesight chance to recover, but I can’t say, I didn’t prefer the ‘old’ Crown. My accent always seems to confuse someone I speak to in Chorley, and this time, it was the barmaid, who poured a half pint extra, I didn’t mind, it meant I could sample two of Bowland’s beers, both were nice. They’ve invested in a couple of T.V.s, and thought it a good idea to subscribe to Sky sports, for me, it’s ruined it, especially as I ain’t bothered about the Premier league anymore, someone had supplied a couple of kids with too many ‘E’ numbers, and furniture had turned into climbing frames.
“And don’t drink Carling either”
The dinner bell went, and we scuttled back home. Now about those roast spuds. . . . , when Steph was a student, and as like less affluent youngsters do, experimented with cooking, she happened upon the formula for roast potatoes, she has gone on to fine tune cooking them, and turned it into an exact science. My brother in law John, asked Val, his wife since 1980, and an accomplished cook in her own right, mischievously/innocently (delete where applicable), why she didn’t cook roast spuds as nice as Stephs. I was disappointed when I thought I’d finished them all, and utterly delighted at the bonus of finding one last one, hiding underneath a piece of chicken. I could very easily, sit down, to just a plate full of Stephs roast potatoes and gravy. If ‘The Great British bake off’ just did a competition based solely on roast spuds, Steph would be banned, as it wouldn’t be fair on the other contestants. It was fantastic catching up with them all, including their friend, whose name escapes me, (Not so much of an escape, as an all world announcement on the media, that it was leaving, and there’d be a month of events) and seeing the development in Sophia and Ben, It’s only been since Easter, but I’m sure Sophia has jumped two years, never mind the Manchester derby, she was way more entertaining, the time had flown by, and although I could have stayed there for a lot longer, it was time to get the train home, Northern Rail, almost getting the timing right.