What’s the problem with a little bit of snow? You’ve got the BBC panicking everyone by mixing up centimetres with inches and the papers crying that the end is nigh. It may be the worst for 30 years, but does everything really need to come to a halt?
After all, Bury is a thriving metropolis. I could understand it if it was a little backwater like, say, Middleton. But still, snow panic had set in by yesterday afternoon. Shops were closing left, right, and centre. This despite the fact that buses had-once they realised it was just snow-started running again. We counted buses coming and going from the four exotic corners of the world: Radcliffe, Tottington and Little Lever. Even the tiny hamlet of Cranford, I mean Bamford, was being served.
Initially I was untroubled by the closure of shops and the shutdown of the local authority services. If people can get (paid) time off, so much the better for them. However, there was a dark side to this phenomenon as we shall see.
The story so far-a motley band of drinkers were meeting to spend such a day as God intended it to be spent; in the pub. Eddie the eager, legal, beagle for once cursing his luck to be within walking distance of work, arrived to find most sensible people still at home. Having tried to assuage his boredom by forging a few wills and attaching unnecessary clauses to various contracts, he finally gave in to the call of the licensed premise in the afternoon.
The spacious Art was an obvious first stop. Something seemed amiss here, though. People in coats were huddled round looking rather glum. Did they know that Phoenix Snowbound was about to run out? No, it soon became apparent that the problem was the heating. Or rather the lack of any. Tiring of the sound of our chattering teeth, we set forth for warmer climates.
Alas, it was here that we discovered the true horror of the snow situation. Some pubs were closed. Now to my mind, there are only two legitimate reasons for a pub to close-it runs out of beer or when the licensee goes to bed. And I’m a little doubtful over the second of those, to be honest. So imagine our shock on seeing the likes of MALT and Wyldes shut.
But, being made of sterner stuff, we bit our lips, wiped the tears away and headed for the Robert Peel. And, for once, it delivered. The George Wright Five Gold Rings proving to be on good form. The kitchen was shutting at 2030 and the pub at 2300. In the meantime there was plenty of entertainment-firstly in the shape of a middle aged soak smashing glasses and then by the pub running out of gas. This prompted an exodus of wildebeest proportion, accompanied by the cry “Quick next door. They’ve got plenty of gas”.
Which left us alone and at the tender mercies of real ale and whisky. The cheap Talisker not having arrived yet, we settled for the more pedestrian Glenlivet. But whisky or no whisky, buses wait for no man. So it was I soon found myself winding my way home. An unexpected treat was finding the ever welcoming Lees still open and quite happy to cook up a fresh batch of fish & chips. Lush.