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Friday, 27 September 2013

#129 Parr Arms, Grappenhall, Cheshire : 1991 to 2013

This will be a short entry as I've only ever drunk in the pub once! Our first visit was at lunchtime on Tuesday 22nd July 1991 as part of a trip from Wigan to Lapworth.
As I recall it was a pleasant village pub, but over 20 years later the memory hasn't dragged out anything significant.

After we'd finished our journey in 1991, our boat Emma Jane went further south and for a few years was based on the lower reaches of the Grand Union Canal.

In the intervening years we've passed through Grappenhall a couple of times, but not stopped there.

This year, in a break from tradition, our Easter trip took us into Manchester, starting from the Claymoore Narrowboats hire base at Preston Brook. On our way back we took the opportunity to revisit the lovely village of Grappenhall.
This photo was taken on Sunday 31st March 2013. There are two pubs in the village, almost next door to each other, and we went in the Ram's Head first where we had a few pints and our evening meal. It was getting a bit late and I was keen to have a last pint in the Parr Arms...but it was closed having finished serving at 10:30 pm!

On my (very) brief visit inside it appeared to be a proper 'old school' village pub, but sadly with 'old school' opening hours! So we had another one in the Ram's Head!

As you would expect in 22 years the exterior had been extensively changed, but it is now a Robinson's pub and back in 1991 it was Greenhall Whitley. One trivial point to finish - it is unusual to get an orange car in one picture...but in two, 20+ years apart, that's just 'spooky'!

Friday, 20 September 2013

#128 Black Star, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire : 1999 to 2013

The Black Star is a canalside pub in Stourport that should be thriving. Our first visit was on the evening of Tuesday 1st June 1999, which still surprises me as we'd been to Stourport previously at least on two occasions.
From what I remember it was a cosy little canalside pub that did good food.

Our next visit was a lunchtime stop on Tuesday 27th May 2008.
It had been extensively redecorated on the outside, but inside was largely unchanged.

Our most recent trip to Stourport was on the evening of Thursday 16th May 2013. Although this was a scheduled stop on our trip it also proved to be the end of our journey as the River Severn was running several feet above its normal level and was closed. The incessant rain from Sunday had worked its way down from Wales and we were unable to get our boat back to the hire base on the river near Worcester.

So, it was time for a pub crawl!
Again the Black Star had been externally redecorated, but the internal layout was still pretty much the same - a smallish, quite cosy, front bar/lounge and a larger room at the back set out for dining. The only problem was that it was almost deserted! From what I can glean from t'internet the lease is currently available and it sounds like an attractive proposition...but only if someone can make it work. It should be thriving, but when we were there the canal was full of boats that couldn't go further and yet there was no-one in the restaurant part of the pub!

Hopefully someone can turn it around and here is their website.

Friday, 13 September 2013

#127 The Red Man, Kidderminster, Worcestershire : 2008 to 2013

Despite the fact that we've done the Stourport Ring on several occasions, we've only ever stopped in Kidderminster twice! 

Before I get on with it, I'm not sure if there are any other pubs with this name - I've come across many a Green Man, but this is the only Red Man I know of - do you know any better? 
The first time, and indeed only time I've been inside The Red Man was on the evening of Monday 26th May 2008. We were having a bit of a pub crawl around Kidderminster whilst trying to find a suitable place to eat when we came upon The Red Man. Inside it was like many small town pubs; functional but lacking in any real character...and, as it was a Monday evening, fairly quiet. One rather different aspect was that it didn't just allow people to eat their takeaways in the pub, it was positively encouraged with various menus scattered about. At the time I thought it was a great idea for a pub that doesn't do food!

The next time we stopped in Kidderminster was on a lunchtime and we didn't go in The Red Man, but I took this photo as we strolled by.
This was taken on Thursday 16th May 2013. This is one of the most complete external makeovers I've documented in the time I've been doing this blog. Seemingly their innovative experiment with the food has gone by the board as it would appear that they now do their own. Here is their website.

Friday, 6 September 2013

#126 The Wheatsheaf, Crick, Northants : 1986 to 2013

Crick is a village in the Northamptonshire countryside and sits on the Grand Union Canal Leicester Section. It is home to the annual Crick Boat Show. There are three pubs in the village which we've visited on numerous occasions.

The first time I went to Crick was on the evening of Monday 21st July 1986 on a canal trip that would take us to Leicester and Nottingham.
I don't recall too much about it, but I think that The Wheatsheaf was a fairly standard village local with a Bar and Lounge. I do seem to remember that many of the pubs in that region seemed to be Mann's pubs.

It was quite a few years before we returned to Crick and this is how The Wheatsheaf looked.
This was a repeat of the previous journey and the photo was taken at lunchtime on Tuesday 26th August 1997. Quite a change in the intervening 11 years, although the hanging sign appears to be the same. Also, the light fittings are in the same place, but different in design.

We were back again a few years later on a similar itinerary (except that we didn't go to Nottingham this time) and we spent the evening in Crick.
This was on Monday 18th August 2003 and the six year gap had resulted in some more changes. New signage, new windows (I think!) and a replacement satellite dish. Also, no more car parking at the front.

Our next visit was another six years later, again on a similar journey, except this time the route had been reversed. We'd already been to Nottingham and Leicester and were on our way back to our moorings at Lapworth.
This was on the evening of Wednesday 9th September 2009 and again there were noticeable changes to the exterior of The Wheatsheaf. A new sign and yet another satellite dish!

Earlier this year I visited the Crick Boat Show for the first time and took the opportunity to pop into the village to get some updated photos of the pubs.
This was on Monday 27th May 2013. I think that the narrowboat mock-up is only there during the boat show. Other than that, there were some minor external changes...and the satellite dish has gone!

I haven't commented on the interior because, quite frankly, I don't recall what it was like. However, judging by the website, it looks as though The Wheatsheaf has gone a bit more upmarket.