Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Home is where I'm harshest?


    I was interested in a comment on the write up of my Cheshire pubs visit on Bank Holiday Sunday. I have been going to the Swan With Two Nicks at Little Bollington for about as long as Dunham Massey brewery have been going (since 2007 I understand) and had never really given any of its credentials, other than the beer range, a second thought.

This is weird for me, because usually I am keen on the whole picture - the interior layout, the fixtures, the historical integrity (rarely relevant alas) the type of pub, the mix of clientele. And yet someone local to the pub mentioned it was a bit expensive and foody.

It was interesting to read this from Curmudgeon, because myself and Mudgie are two of the only bloggers I know of interested in unspoilt pubs and specifically  the CAMRA/English Heritage National Inventory of Unspoilt Pub Interiors. By extension, we both therefore prefer more basic, traditional pubs.

I still like the Swan just as much of course, but when I thought about it, the pub is quite foody actually. And am not sure the beer is particularly inexpensive either. And, its been extended so many times as to be internally at least, no doubt radically different to 40 or 50 years ago when my Dad would have first started going in. So how come I didn't notice?

Because I only visit on holiday or on a day out. And the minute I leave Sheffield beer prices behind, I adjust my expectation of what I will be charged to allow myself to be paying what I would consider unreasonable at home. A £3.60 pint in Aberdeenshire? No problem. A £3.40 pint in Dundee? No surprise. An average round of a pint and two halves in Kent for £7.50? Unexceptional. And I reckon I also drop my expectation of other pub credentials, thus accepting my own arbitrarily set higher food prices, and even ignoring the fact that very occasionally, the pub I am visiting, if transplanted to the Peak District or Sheffield, would not be my pub of choice.

I was fairly surprised to reach this conclusion, not least because I thought I always applied strict criteria to whether or not I would or did enjoy a visit to a pub, irrespective of where it was. And also because, turning this theory on its head, am I therefore unnecessarily harsh on pubs that don't qualify for these concessions?

Maybe this is simply a demonstration that I'm getting older, becoming more willing (or maybe able) to spend money on pub meals, and being rendered blind by the grass is always greener wanderlust of the pub lover.

Either way, as highlighted over the last week, I'm clearly not enjoying pubs any less as a result...

Wee Beefy


  1. I quite take the point that, if you're out on a Bank Holiday, and looking for a pub with food and some decent cask beer, the Swan fits the bill. It also has a couple of quite cosy opened-out snug-type areas at the front which have real fires in winter.

    1. Yeah, its just interesting how I or other people can change their outlook when away. I suppose the deciding factor though is that we were out with Chala for her birthday. I personally wanted a chippy tea and to divert home via the Bleeding Wolf at Scholar Green; I concede this may not have been what she was after! (and am heading orf that way soon mi sen) And the Dunham Dark was really brilliant, which probably swayed it...

  2. The Bleeding Wolf is a fantastic NI pub, although the purist might point to one or two doors having been stopped up. But when I last visited, maybe about 8 years ago, it had the most fantastic food ordering system, with four different methods depending on what you were having.