Blog Surfer

Thursday, 25 July 2013

#122 Shroppie Fly, Audlem, Cheshire : 1987 to 2012

I'm not exactly sure when I first visited the Shroppie Fly. It could have been in 1981 when we got delayed and had to turn round at Audlem, but the first photo I have is from 1987.
This was a lunchtime stop on Friday 10th July 1987, just about halfway round our trip from Lapworth to Worcester then up to Barbridge Junction and back via Stoke and Birmingham. The Shroppie Fly has a perfect location canalside about three quarters of the way down the Audlem flight of locks.

Emma Jane was moored near Wigan for a couple of years and then down south on the Grand Union Canal near Berkhamsted so it was a number of years before I returned.
This was another lunchtime stop on Monday 2nd September 1996  on our way back from Llangollen and Chester. There were very few obvious changes. (The Bass signs have gone!)

One of the charms of the Shroppie Fly is the bar made from the bow of a narrowboat.
This is what it looked like in 1996.

It was another four years before we returned, this time on the way back from a trip to Manchester.
Yet another lunchtime stop, on Tuesday 5th September 2000. The main pub sign had changed and most of the minor signs have disappeared...and just look at the growth of ivy on the end wall!

Although we did stop at Audlem in 2002, our next visit to the Shroppie Fly was on Monday 29th August 2005...again a lunchtime pit-stop on our way back from Chester.
For a change I took a photo from the other side. In the five years since our last visit the exterior had been completely refurbished and painted cream with blue and gold signage.

We returned the next year, this time heading north and on our way to the Anderton Boat Lift and Northwich.
This was taken from the stern of Emma Jane as we moored up right outside the pub at lunchtime on Wednesday 30th August 2006. This view gives a better view of the changes since 2000. Inside it was pretty much the same as before.
This is the post-lunch view from the stern of the boat going down in the lock.

In 2007 we were back again...twice! The first visit was lunchtime on Tuesday 28th August 2007 on our way to Llangollen.
This shot shows the direct comparison between then and the previous years.

On our way back from Llangollen we stopped in Audlem again for an evening stop! (Finally!!) As we had plenty of time we visited all three pubs in the village with the Shroppie Fly being our final port of call.
This was on Monday 3rd September 2007.

In 2010 we repeated our trip to Manchester that we did in 2000 and we stopped at the Shroppie Fly on Tuesday 7th September 2010 (Lunchtime).
Another complete refurb on the outside, this time with white paint and red signage. We managed to moor right outside to take on water before we moved along and went inside for lunch.

Throughout the years, the inside of the pub has remained largely unchanged and I took the opportunity to take another photo of the bar.

And so...we get to our final visit to the Shroppie Fly. This was on Thursday 12th April 2012 on our first ever hire boat trip...but it was still a lunchtime stop!
Again, little change from two years earlier.

Since our last visit, the Shroppie Fly has been closed and reopened and is now under yet another new management regime. Details can be found here. It would be a great shame if the Shroppie Fly were to close, but the news looks to be good and I'll keep my fingers crossed that it is still there next time I'm passing by.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

#121 The Wheatsheaf, Braunston, Northants : 1993 to 2012

Although Braunston has been a regular stop over the years of our canal trips, it wasn't until 1993 that we finally discovered The Wheatsheaf.
This was taken on Thursday 23rd September 1993. From the canal there are two pubs before you reach The Wheatsheaf and, by the look of it, we had visited both before we got here. As I recall it was a bog standard village pub; a basic local and, much to our joy, contained a skittles table!

We obviously liked the place as we were back again the next year.
This was on the evening of Saturday 3rd September 1994. The Wheatsheaf didn't do food in those days, so we'd probably eaten at The Old Plough before strolling up the road for a game of skittles.

It was quite a few years before we returned and although there were noticeable changes to the outside, inside it was pretty much the same as before - a proper village local!
This was on Saturday 25th May 2005. That was the last time we've paid a visit whilst on a canal trip, but I was passing by and took this final picture.
Seemingly unchanged in the intervening 7 years, this photo was taken on Sunday 30th September 2012. It is good to see that The Wheatsheaf has survived and is thriving - here is an up-to-date description.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

#120 Wickstead Arms, Nantwich, Cheshire : 2005 to 2012

This is going to be a short entry - the Wickstead Arms is a pub I've only visited twice and it didn't leave much of an impression. That's not to say it was a bad pub, far from it, but it falls into the class of 'bog standard' town centre pub and there are more interesting pubs in Nantwich.
This isn't one of my better photos as it was fairly late on the evening of Sunday 28th August 2005. As I recall it was reasonably busy.

We decided to pop in again when we stopped at Nantwich on Thursday 12th April 2012 as part of our evening pub crawl around the town!
In the intervening seven years the Wickstead Arms had hardly changed at all.

Friday, 5 July 2013

#119 The Black Horse, Foxton, Leicestershire : 1997 to 2012

Although we'd stopped at Foxton before, our first visit to The Black Horse was a lunchtime visit on Wednesday 27th August 1997.
This was on a trip that took us through Leicester and on to Nottingham. In the morning we'd come down the famous Foxton Staircase and were in need of liquid sustenance...and a bit of lunch as well!

Next time we were in Foxton was on the evening of Tuesday 19th August 2003 on a repeat of our 1997 trip to Nottingham.
This time, we popped into the Shoulder of Mutton (#113) and then strolled up the hill to The Black Horse for our evening meal. The food was good and inside the pub was typical of many comfortable country pubs of that era that do food.

Another six years later and we were back. This time we were doing the same trip as previous years, but in reverse.
This was on the evening of Tuesday 8th September 2009 and I particularly remember the excellent customer service and very good food, in distinct contrast to the abysmal service received at the Red Lion in Crick the next evening! As I recall the inside was little changed from previous visits.

The final photo was taken on Sunday 16th December 2012.
I didn't go inside, but from their website it would appear that the interior has been 'modernised' and is now more in the 'farm house/rustic' style that many country pubs have adopted over recent years.