The first of a proper double game weekend, it wouldn’t matter what the result was, the subheading would be a pleasure for a change. Like I’ve said before, sometimes I struggle for a subheading. Sometimes it depends on the score. With this one, it was just trying to decide which one to go for as there was just so many to choose from. So why Buxton? Firstly it was always going to be an F.A.Cup game somewhere. Secondly, Paul had been giving updates on the Bucks progress, ever since his Son had married a girl from there, set up home in the town and made Paul a Granddad. Thirdly, it was against a club whose history will forever be entwined with the competition. One day, just one day they will get their revenge on Preston. It’s just taking a while, that’s all. Fourthly, yes Fourthly, I once passed through the town as a passenger in a car load heading for a hike up the Peak District, and thought the place idyllic and worth a future visit. It may have taken me 35 years or so, but finally….. The start of the day wasn’t too good though. Just as I turned out of the gate of the communal garden I share, I saw a bus go passed the end of the road. That meant a ten minute wait. Yes I know that’s not long, but you do get to a stage where you take things for granted. Once at New Street, I caught the train up to Stockport ok, but it was late arriving there and I missed the connection to Buxton. I then had 50 minutes to wait for the next. Least it gave me a chance to work on my blog. Oh how far technology has come. Our phone’s maybe attached to us now, but only because you can do so much on them. Was a time when playing the game snake was our phones only entertainment after texting other people. Actually using it to talk to someone was far too expensive. Even to send a single text was 10p on pay-as-you-go, and everyone was on pay-as-you-go back then. Unless you were fortunate enough to have a company phone, or rich parents of course. I finally did catch a train to Buxton though, and as a resident of a landlocked, fairly flat Birmingham, the scenery on the journey there, took my breath away, along with a sprinkling of quaint, picturesque little villages and farms. It may have been the final leg of the journey to Buxton, but it was like seeing shapely, unblemished calves on the end of overweight blotchy, cellulite ridden thighs.
Touching down in Buxton, you won’t be surprised to read that the place was just as beautiful as I remembered. It had built a new indoor shopping mall, and the traffic had doubled in density (No, it wasn’t all horse and carts when I saw it last. I’m not that old.), but basically, it was still just as enchanting. I did though, want a pint, and so hit my itinerary. Even though it was passed the usual time I go in a Wetherspoons, when I was doing my research for said itinerary, the Spoons had taken my eye. Wye Bridge House is very obviously an old coaching house. Outside it’s impressive and inviting, inside it has the usual brand stamp on it, but judging by the speed the staff were having to work to serve an already busy pub, it was not only popular, but good. As with old coaching houses, they tend to be on the big side. The Wye Bridge was no different and yet there wasn’t a spare seat to be had. It wasn’t overly cold, so I went outside to what was a fairly big beer garden. I wasn’t even the only one who had taken that option either. If it was busy in mid October, I could only imagine how busy it gets during the Spring and Summer months. The next place on the itinerary didn’t match up with its review on the Whatpub website, and so I moved onto the next after that, without staying for a beer. There was no cask ale and only one key keg option, if you really want to know why. In all honesty, it wasn’t an alcohol type of place. It was more your tea or coffee and piece of cake kind of place. Slightly disappointed, the next place restored my spirits. Red Willow (Buxton). They go alot for putting the town’s name in brackets after the businesses name for some unknown reason. For me, it’s a bit strange. Is it for the American tourist? I’m not saying Americans are a bit thick, but as the U.S A. is just that slightly bigger than England, I suppose it could be lumped in with Manchester, if you’re trying to explain your holiday on return to New York, Dallas, Los Angeles or wherever.
The mezzanine and snug are brilliant features to what is a great Tap with a good selection of both cask and key keg from the Brewery of the same name. It was though, card only and in a time when we’re having to count every penny, mixing payment by card in with paying by hard cash, is another headache we don’t need. After the tea/coffee/cake place, I suppose I’d happen on a beer and pizza place amongst the itinerary at some point. Buxton Tap House is one of those places.
I must admit, I was sorely tempted into having a pizza…..until I saw the vegan cheese at the bottom of the menu. Do me a favour. There’s no such thing as vegan cheese. There’s cheese and a vegan substitute, but the vegan substitute is not cheese. Get your own name for whatever the gunk is. Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. What’s next? Vegan substitute wool? Move in with the Gloucestershire dictator if you want to hug trees. Leave the rest of us alone. Ironically, I was to go in The Cheshire Cheese next. Or is it The Cheshire Gunk? Anyway, The Cheshire whatever it’ll become eventually, is a Titanic Brewery owned pub. Along side the full range of Titanic beers, there were a couple of guest ales. I plumped for one of the guests and almost immediately wished I’d gone for a Titanic instead. Ah well, you pays your money, you takes your choices. After the CC, it was off to the ground.
First of all, here’s the obligatory photos of the ground.
I know it’s not a million miles from Buxton, but there was still a good number of Hyde fans present. At least 300, maybe even closer to 400 in fact. They also made that presence known too. Whether that vocal support lifted Hyde, I wouldn’t know, but they were all over the home side. After creating many chances, they deservedly took the lead.
I love the smell of smoke bombs like I love the smell of freshly laid tarmac, creosoted fences and paraffin. If they created a vape that smelled like a smoke bomb, I take it up. Only kidding Sis. I’m not that daft….honestly. Besides, I couldn’t afford the habit anyway. 1:0 to Hyde at halftime, I’d started clapping as the referee blew the whistle. I quickly stopped when I realised I was the only one applauding. The locals didn’t boo, but they certainly weren’t a happy bunch. Far from it. The Bucks came out for the second half with a collective flea in their ears, and went about Hyde. Hyde stood up well to the onslaught though, and gave as good as they got. It wasn’t to last though, a nicely weighted pass put one of the Buxton forwards clear. The keeper had no option but to take him out. It warranted only a booking, but as the resulting spot kick levelled the scores, you could say that was punishment enough. In these days of multiple substitutions, even at this level, I’m not so sure. Mind you, I’d never be a match official. I could never be impartial enough. Buoyant by the equaliser, Buxton turned up the pressure on Hyde. The pressure told, and the winner would put the home side in the First round proper, and gave them the chance of playing a League club. They just needed the custodians of the draw to be kind to them. A 2:1 defeat after playing so well against their opponents from a higher division, was harsh on Hyde. I reckon a draw and a replay would’ve been fairer, but Football doesn’t work like that though.
Leaving the ground and walking back into town, I got talking to a bloke who noticed my accent. After telling me he was originally from Brum, he then inquired as to who I supported. Obviously I told him who, to which he stated he was the other lot. After finding out that he very rarely went to watch them as he couldn’t afford it these days, I rubbed it in that I went everywhere watching Blues, and that I would be at Hull the next day. Parting on good terms of course, I still mischievously added KRO and SOTV to my farewell. Crossing over the road, I hadn’t been anywhere before the game that I really fancied going back to. Knowing from the pub sign outside it was a Hyde’s, I went in The Eagle opposite the junction I’d just come out from. I’ve always liked Hyde’s beer, so I knew I was on safe ground. Sitting by the window, I watched a gagle of local teenagers congregate in readiness for when the Hyde fans tried going passed. With a few desperately trying to summon up reinforcements on their phones, the much smaller but older away mob just walked through without any confrontation. It made me smile as I watched Stone Island clad kids fading away, pretending that they weren’t interested in a bit of pavement dancing after all. After the Eagle, I walked through the town to the Holt owned The Railway at Buxton. No, not just The Railway, but The Railway at Buxton. Seriously, what is it with this postfix stuff? Gentrification gone mad. Like a lot of these sorts of establishments, it had that nondescript, sterile, family orientated feel about it. The beer was actually ok, but it wasn’t the type of place I could regularly see me going in. On the whole, I’d quite liked Buxton. Would I go again? Probably not for another couple of decades. It’s not quite my kind of scene. With having almost an hour between connections at Stockport and with the pub I’d penciled in, now open, I headed out into the town and made for what turned out to be my favourite of the day.
“Now this was more like it.”
The Old Vic was much more my thing. Had Buxton had a pub like this, then I’d have visited it twice. In fact, it was a wrench to leave the place to go and get the connection back to Brum. I may not have been truly impressed with any of the pubs in Buxton, but the Old Vic in Stockport was a place that joined my ever expanding list of pubs I wish I could take to wherever I go. Catching the train, it was standing room only until it reached Macclesfield, where I was not only able to get a seat, I was able to get one with a socket too. Another ground hop ticked, appetiser finished, it would be onto the main course of Hull away.