I was awake early on Saturday morning. Breakfast was served at 8.30 and I walked in a minute after that. There were only two other diners, at opposite ends of the room. They both ignored me so I quite happily ignored them back. We sat there in total silence with only what appeared to be a Best Of The Carpenters cd to liven things up. They were also ignoring the jug of orange juice so I dived in and gave it some attention.
Breakfast was good, and I was soon off out to explore. I was panicking a bit about finding the railway station on Monday so I explored some directions that Jane gave me and I found it easily which really put my mind at rest.
I’d got a daysaver for the trams so I went off on a mission, catching one all the way from the North Pier to the South one. The trip was a joyous one. That long stretch of promenade doesn’t half bring back dome memories, from family holidays, through to football trips, stag do’s, an odd work visit and a meet up of posters from a football message board.
I left the tram at the South Pier and headed straight for the amusements. Again there wasn’t much to interest me, so I jumped back on the tram and headed for the Central Pier. In the amusements here I found a Deal Or No Deal fruit machine and somebody had left two jackpot symbols on the win line. Now I don’t play these anymore, and there is a rule that you should only gamble what you can afford to lose, I reckoned I could afford to lose £2.50. There was also a rule back in The Fullbrook days about not leaving two Jackpot symbols on the win line. “You can’t leave that on” was always sited by people in the vicinity. I put my money in, but the machine was in a bad mood.My £2.50 went very quickly (even at 10p a play), I didn’t get on the feature at all and barely got a nudge. Story of my life. I walked away leaving two jackpot symbols on the win line.
I went outside and spent £3 on what turned out to be a small Slush Puppy. New rule. Only spend on Slush Puppy what you can afford to lose.
It was time for a beer or two and I was meeting Jane in a new micropub called Shickers. It took me longer to find it than I spent in it so I was gasping for a pint when I eventually found it, which still required Jane shouting and waving even though I was opposite. Two people I don’t know repeatedly shouted hello at me as I walked in which startled and confused me a bit. I had a pint of Cunning Stunt which was as superb as its name.
The people that shouted hello had been talking to Jane whilst I was walking up and down the same street, and they advised that the Royal Oak opposite is “terrible” and like “going back to the 1980’s”. She knew that we were going in, and we did.
The Royal Oak was busy but good. I think it was around £3.50 for a pint and half. There were plaques dotted about to passed away former regulars including one for Donkey Dave, which I’ve got to be honest I had questions about.
I nipped to the loo and it was time for the first odd incident of the day. A guy followed me in, lined up to the urinal and then slapped the wall really hard. A voice from a cubicle came “is that you John?” “No it’s my granny” came the reply. There then followed a bizarre f word filled conversation which continued with John/his granny continuing to talk after the other guy had left the room.
We left although the doorway was partially blocked by a guy with a big bag asking if we wanted to buy any steak. We declined and he followed us to The Bull where he asked the same question of people there, through the gaps in the fence. Jane suspected that he may have pinched this merchandise but I try to see the good in people. Had I got my jury service hat on I could have been prepared to accept a plea that he is a vegetarian and had won the meat raffle in The Huntsman the night before.
When Jane and myself were on about the pubs to visit, I only had one on the list. The Bull. Swill and I randomly found this place in 2018 on our way back to the hotel and he asked if I fancied 1 more pint? I’m glad I did as of the 407 pubs that I visited on Pub Challenge 3, this place made the top 10. Was it going to be as good as last time? Oh yes. We hadn’t even walked in and we could hear the whole pub singing Champagne Supernova. A good sign. There was another plaque to a former regular here too, this one to someone called Wee Shite. I did get me thinking though, when I shuffle off this mortal coil, if all the pubs I frequent erect plaques there will be worldwide metal shortages again.
Anyway the bull was superb. But it was one drink per pub so we moved on to Last Resort. This is a pub that Jane had been advised not to go in. So we did. I had a pint of McEwans lager as I’ve not seen that since my last trip to Scotland. This was another decent pub. Felt a bit like the Blackpool version of the Tap & Tanner, which is no bad thing.
We now had the munchies so went off in search of food and stumbled upon Mother Hubbard’s. This fish and chip chain has recently opened a store on Pleck Road in Walsall which I have been meaning to tick off. We timed our arrival superbly as the couple of people in front were already being served and by the time we sat down the queue was back to the door, and no it wasn’t because I ordered everything on the menu. We both went for cod and chips with gravy which came in at around £10.50 each. It was absolutely divine. They do an XXXL fish and chips at a cool £18.95, but that’s for another day and budget.
Our next destination was Crazy Scots Bar. Someone got up to sing Kingston Town on the karaoke which called for the place to be renamed Pissed Off English People Bar. Next up was two young girls singing Let It Go from Frozen. Their dad proper got into it. I’ve never witnessed a guy in a vest and shorts clutching a pint of Carling singing Let It Go before. I had to visit the loo and for some reason the gents sign sometimes lit up in red, and it was like this as I entered. As well know Red Light Spells Danger so I entered cautiously. There was no danger. Just a couple of blokes having a piss. Pretty standard behaviour for a room of that nature.
On the way to The Mitre we saw the Lifeboat Inn which wasn’t on our to do list but it looked lively so in we went. It was very busy. We found two stools which we were quickly evicted from but someone gestured that a table with a couple of drinks on was actually vacant so we dived on that. It was also karaoke in here but with a twist. The guy hosting was playing an electric guitar over the backing track as someone sang Highway To Hell. It was really odd but somewhat entertaining too.
We passed a new James Bond themed bar. I wasn’t fussed having only ever seen one of these films, but Jane wanted to try it. Upon entry we realised that the cheapest thing was a £9 cocktail. Appreciate it would cost them £2 but had it been priced £007 I might have gone for it for that quirky attention to detail. We said Dr No to those prices and sneaked out. The bouncer like a standard Bond villain didn’t spot us escaping.
The Mitre Inn was good which is the norm and we ended the night in Knobby’s Karaoke Bar which is right opposite. It was very busy in there but everyone was jovial and people were singing along to I Believe I Can Fly without a care in the world. I popped to the loo and gave the toilet attendant a quid, for which he tried to give me just a paper towel. Er, I don’t think so George. So he gave me a squirt of hand sanitiser too. Figuring that was all I was getting, I dealt and left.
Walking back into the bar and it was now Angels by Robbie Williams being played. Not a song I’m a great fan of but absolutely everyone was singing so I joined in. It reminded me of the final episode of Early Doors.
We called it a night, Jane’s partner Lee gave me another lift back to the hotel which was very appreciated. The Carpenters cd had been turned off but I didn’t care. I was On Top Of The World, possibly even looking down on creation after another class day.