Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

Blackpool v Burton Albion: Kirkham Pubs

Dear reader, when we are safe again, I am planning a train crawl to Preston. To maximise my time at each stop, I am undertaking the research now. I know exactly where I’m heading in Poulton after Saturday’s crawl. Today it is time to check out Kirkham.

I buy an Off Peak Day Return for £5.60 and board the 1315 from Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I bury my head in my book for the 25-minute journey. I am reading Recovering by Richard Sadlier, an autobiography of a former footballer suffering with addiction. It is a compelling read and I am so engrossed in it, I almost miss my stop.

I disembark at Kirkham & Wesham and realise I have never been here before.

Tap & Vent Brewhouse

I confess this dog-friendly micropub is the main reason I am doing the train crawl. It was recommended to me by a random reader I met in Albert’s Ale House back when we were allowed to go to pubs and talk to strangers.

The most recent beers on their local delivery list are:

  • Bank Top Palomino Rising (blonde)
  • Reedley Hallows Old Laund Bitter
  • Bank Top Flat Cap (bitter)
  • Fuzzy Duck Mucky Duck (stout)
  • Fuzzy Duck Golden Cascade
  • Reedley Hallows Filly Close Blonde

Beers are delivered in 2L containers on Tuesdays and Fridays, free to FY8 and PR4 postcodes.

The Stables

This pub is proud to be featured in the Good Beer Guide – and it has a free jukebox. Yay!

It has an emphasis on sports – shown on seven big screens – and has a pool table and dartboard.

Recent Untappd checkins include:

  • Maltsmiths Lager
  • Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew (golden)
  • Westgate Classic Blonde
  • Moorhouses Blonde Witch

Queens Arms

This pub is ‘pet friendly’, which gets me thinking about pets other than dogs you can take to the pub. I have seen ferrets being walked on leads – and I understand this is a thing with cats, too. I took a pear tree to the pub once, which got me some odd looks. In my defence, I was on my way home from purchasing it at the local greengrocers.

Are there any pubs you do like, Karen?

Reviews like this one will only attract me to a pub. As a rule, I love walking into a pub where everyone looks at me like I have two heads. I used to get this all the time at CAMRA beer festivals (a woman? drinking real ale?) but it only tends to happen in local pubs for local people these days.

Pizza is on the menu here, which I’m pleased about because I’m starving. After some deliberation, I opt for this:

The most recent Untappd checkins include:

  • Marstons Wainwright
  • Banks’s Brewdolph (bitter)
  • Robinsons Trooper Of The Dead (2019) (extra special)
  • Theakston Best Bitter

Swan Hotel

The Swan is under new management and is currently being revamped ahead of reopening when we are out of lockdown. They are already booking live music acts and have Natalie Dee booked for the grand opening night on 22nd May:

It is dog-friendly, too, which gains bonus points from me.

The most recent Untappd checkins include:

  • Marstons Wainwright
  • John Smiths Newcastle Brown Ale

Huntsman

This pub was formerly known as Top House (the most effectual / Top House / who’s intellectual). It is dog-friendly and has a real fire.

Here’s a recent menu:

Well, there’s only one thing I’m going for on that menu…

The most recent Untappd checkins include:

  • Hawkshead Windermere Pale

I can also see from their Facebook page they have recently had on:

  • Bowland Hen Harrier
  • Timothy Taylor Landlord

Right, that’s enough of Kirkham, which is bloody hard to navigate online, let me tell you. I’m heading back to Blackpool North on the 1746 from Kirkham & Wesham (NB not ‘Fylde’).

Blackpool v Burton Albion

After a recent run of disappointing form, I decided it was time to dig out my lucky bra for tonight’s match. Burton had won six on the bounce so this was going to be a tough match.

The game starts sprightly, with opportunities at both ends. Alas Burton score after 24 minutes and proceed to dominate. Blackpool simply aren’t scoring freely enough and thus are becoming a difficult watch. Hence we amuse ourselves on the livestream, talking about food and haircuts and beards and scientific elements and US states that border Canada. It’s called survival. God knows if I was fully engaged with the football right now (on top of lockdown, the pubs being shut, etc.) I would not be in a great place mentally. As it is, I’m surviving.

Critch changes things at half time, including bringing on Elliott Embleton for the ineffective Ellis Simms. Demi Mitchell looks lively. Kaikai perks up, too, having had a quiet first half. We win the second half 1-0, with a goal from Luke Garbutt – a player I like very much. Indeed we are blessed with four excellent full backs at the club right now, with Garbutt, James Husband, Jordan Gabriel and Ollie Turton.

Here are the highlights from tonight’s match:

If you haven’t looked in on one of our livestreams yet, please do so.

We’ve introduced a reading material of the week feature. Tonight the focus was on this brand new book from Peter Duerden, who you may remember writes the historical pieces for the Blackpool FC fanzine, which I edit.

I’m also sporting the new retro shirt of my Lego team FC Brickstand, which I love. This – and many other ace shirts – is available to buy from Kit and Bone.

Next stop Oxford, which I know to be a smashing place for a pub crawl.

Are we nearly at the end of the season yet…?

UTMP.


NB Pics above are taken from the websites referenced, as this was a virtual trip. The exception is Peter’s book, which is my own photo of my own copy.


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