I took a gamble on Monday night and arranged a drink with a friend without making a booking in advance. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with this – you know how I like to be organised, dear reader – but this was necessary because (a) it was a last minute thing and (b) the pub we really wanted to go to wasn’t taking bookings. Happily, Karen managed to secure a table for us and this was suddenly all very exciting.
I was struck by panic just before I left the house for the first time (not just ‘for a walk’) since I can’t remember when (October?). What did I need to take with me? Did I need a handbag? What did I need to put in it? I ran around the house in a fluster, adding the following to my handbag:
- Hand sanitiser
- Credit card
- Cash (‘just in case’)
- A pen
- Business cards (I don’t know why)
I realised I needed to get changed as well, so as to be comfortable whilst sitting outdoors for a few hours. I could only rely on the beer coat to provide so much protection. I opted for:
- Thermal vest
- Winter boots
- Fleecy/fluffy coat
- Sunglasses (my beloved Maui Jims)
- Pashmina (to use as a blankie for my legs)
Yes, a blankie for my legs. So what if that makes me officially middle aged (old?). If it was going to ensure I was comfortable in a pub beer garden, it was coming with me.
I love this pub. The beer and food is always excellent quality and there is always a dark beer on. What more do you want from a pub? Oh yes, there was a dog in the beer garden at one point…
There is an open seating area at the front of the pub on Whitegate Drive. It’s a little suntrap – and there is shelter from the wind (and the neighbours) on either side. Large umbrellas are available if you want protection from the sun or rain. QR codes are on the wall by each table for you to check in (hmm if only they could link this to the Untappd/Cask Marque apps…).
The beers on offer tonight were:
- Jennings Cumberland
- Copper Dragon Black Gold
Obvs I was all over the Black Gold. The pump clip indicates a dark beer but Untappd stated this was a mild. I can confirm that it was 4%, had a very fluffy head and was extremely quaffable. This was heaven!
I realised with horror that I had forgotten my keys. How could I bring a blankie but forget my house key? Karen pointed out that my blankie would come in handy if I had to sleep in the doorway later. What larks.
There was no food served here tonight – that will be back at weekends and when the pub is fully open (i.e. inside as well). However we knew there to be an excellent chippy practically next door, so a Saddle Chippy Tea it was.
My usual fayre from this place is battered haggis, mini chips and gravy. However I am on a diet at the moment (beer notwithstanding), so I opted for just a small portion of chips (naked chips? is that a thing?) on this occasion.
I had pre-eaten (a tin of beans and some grapes) for diet preservation reasons, so I wasn’t ravenous, but of course beer = unhealthy food choices. And there was no way I could have watched Karen tucking into Hollands Meat & Potato Pie and chips without eating myself. The Hollands Pie put me in mind of the old pies at Bloomfield Road, which I used to enjoy. I ate around half my portion of chips (we resolved that we could have shared a small portion between us). The portions at Saddle Chippy are massive – but the food is so good. I haven’t tried the fish there yet, so can’t judge it on my usual criteria, but the chips and gravy are top notch. This could well be my top chippy in Blackpool.
After four pints and a chippy tea, I still managed to be home in time for Corrie (Lee came to pick me up, negating the requirement for a house key). Now, Corrie is a useful beerometer for me. If I can’t remember what happened in Corrie the following day, I’ve had too much to drink.
**SPOILER ALERT** Please skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to know what happened in Monday’s Corrie.
I vaguely remember something about Leanne telling Toyah she was leaving – and Nick agreeing to go with her – but beyond that it’s all a bit woolly.
Ultimately, four pints in three hours is too much – even if it is a session beer. Do I need to learn how to drink again? Seemingly so. Drink responsibly, folks.
I also scoffed half of a HUGE box of Maltesers while I was watching Corrie, which was not great for the diet. But, hey, I had a brilliant night, so I’m not going to feel bad about it. I’m in the healthy BMI zone and you can’t spend your whole life avoiding things you enjoy.
Blackpool v Accrington Stanley
This was another game where I wasn’t sure what to expect. Perhaps because Blackpool adapt their game specifically to match each opponent, it is difficult to predict how they are going to play and thus what the outcome of each game is going to be. Aside from the fact that we aren’t going to lose, obvs, because we simply don’t do that any more. Well, we haven’t since 6th February or 15 games previously.
Dear reader, whilst I didn’t know exactly what to expect, I wasn’t expecting what happened…
Accy had taken a couple of batterings in recent weeks, 5-1 at home to AFC Wimbledon and 7-0 at Peterborough. Whilst it would have been nice to enjoy that elusive 7-0 win (I have seen Blackpool concede seven but never score seven), I wasn’t expecting that tonight. Why? I explain in the intro to the match on our livestream.
What I also wasn’t expecting was for Accy to prove impenetrable. Blackpool carved out numerous chances but failed to convert any of them. This was a painful watch. And yet Accy didn’t look dangerous at the other end.
And then, with minutes remaining, Accy were awarded a penalty. Could this be the end of our winning run? Sure, a draw would have been disappointing – but for the run to come to an end at home to Accy would be devastating.
Cue a wonder save from my Player of the Year Chris Maxwell. What a superstar this man is. You can watch his penalty save at the link below.
Sunderland lost, which was a great result for us, and Lincoln won to leapfrog us into 4th. And we are now unbeaten in 15 matches. Next up is Sunderland, which will be an interesting test for both sides. In the meantime, I’ll be off to a different pub to report on in my blog at the weekend.
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