Down In The Wild Garlic Valley

Cold and crisp. Perfect weather conditions for drinking. Logistics were somewhat complicated by the need to avoid the Trackside until late afternoon. The Santa special had started running and who needs people running round screaming and throwing crisps everywhere. And that’s just the parents. So we needed somewhere to drink until it was safe to venture into central Bury. No problem. It was the perfect excuse to take the Whitefield Holts Bandit and Archimedes on a Rammy ramble.

First stop was the Good Samaritan. Not many punters in and those that were in were riveted to the horse racing on TV. Their leader was definitely one scoop short of a vanilla cone and took some shaking off. Combine this with the Alsatian jumping round the seating and it was something of a surreal start. However, yet again, there waItalics no faulting the Golden Pippin. I, along with the WHB, would have gladly stayed for another, but Archimedes doesn’t believe in drinking the same beer twice, so we pushed on.

Next up was the First Chop. Here we enjoyed Phoenix Arizona before moving along to the Major. This had been designated the lunch stop but I was in for a bitter blow. They’d just sold the last piece of their famous homemade cheese & onion pie. Devastated I turned to Dent for some solace and, in a 70’s retro mood, scampi and chips. I also tried the Taylors Landlord which was in good form. The fog had really taken hold in Rammy and we were glad that it was only a very short bus ride to the Hare & Hounds.

Here we were joined by Eddie, the eager, legal beagle. Seems the Manx Minx was in London discovering new ways to rip teeth out. And while the Minx is away, etc. He’d spent the afternoon teaching Don Ricardo and White Wine Sally the Pasa Doble and was ready for a drink. I avoided Hart Dishy Debbie as it usually tastes like dishwater and plumped for Storm Ale Force which was quite drinkable, if unexciting. Much better was the Bollington which was light, with a fruity aroma and a good dry finish. More beer followed-well for me at least. The WHB was seduced by double whisky at £3.35-JDW eat your heart out.

Eventually, before we took root, we took the bus back into Bury and the Trackside. Here we were treated to a cornucopia of beery delights, including the lovely sounding Rugby Cement (6.8%) which even Archimedes, our strong beer expert, said had to be treated with respect. The night sky ebbed and flowed-a bit like the beer, really. Eventually it was just me and Eddie, with tears in our eyes, joining in the sing-along to this moving love ballad*

She’s amazing
She’s so fine
She’s doing Gordon’s Gin at £10.99
And she whispers and calls me darling
As we roll around the cans of Carling
She’s got me on my knees
As we kiss by the Boddies and Tetleys
She’s got me all confused
I love her
The girl from Bargain Booze...

Probably wisely, we then called it a day. Well last orders had been called anyway. And, right on cue, the Manx Minx called to say she had returned. Eddie was quite overcome, I must say. Or was that just his dodgy knee playing up? Ah, no, there’s nothing like a day on the ale to light the flames of passion, is there?

*The Girl from Bargain Booze. A modern tale of covert love by the Lancashire Hotpots.


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