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  • sgoff - Tuesday 10 November 2015 20:49
    Steve Goff, Kevin Jordan, Larry Johnson and David Lamb boarded the 8.46 from Manchester to Windermere on Saturday 28th December. I joined them at Bolton. Introductions were made to David, whom I hadn’t previously met A pleasant journey passing waterlogged fields saw the Five arrive at 10.27. During the journey, KJ proved that he must have had plenty of Christmas crackers as the quality of his jokes was underwhelming. In fact, KJ went on to be the focal point of most things that happened during the day. After a brief visit to Booths to allow Larry to purchase the obligatory Rennies, we set off towards Bowness. We attempted to visit an exhibition about Ambleside and Auschwitz during the war, however, the Library was closed. It was a pleasant day and I certainly didn’t need the number of layers I was wearing. As we approached the lake, KJ became increasingly agitated. We had been talking about lake crossings and cruise trips, trying to ease him into the idea. But, KJ is not a sailor and he wasn’t having it. Large numbers of swans and Canadian geese massed around the lake edge, whilst people fed them. Many children were observed being chased by hissing swans which were intent on eating a whole child rather than an old crusty cob. Our stroll took us around the lake, through a small coppice and out to the car ferry. Having seen the ferry in action KJ agreed to the short crossing. Ignoring the pedestrian route, Steve was almost decapitated by the bright yellow descending barrier that he didn’t see!! 50p one way. Pity Colin wasn’t with us to negotiate a return fare. Having disembarked safely we strolled around the corner – pointing out the lack of public house or café. Various ideas were discussed about pooling codger pensions and opening a welcoming hostelry. Waiting for the return ferry, we marvelled at the views and size of the lake; remembering that our codgerette, Julie did in fact swim the bloody thing. She rose even further in our estimation as we discussed how cold she must have been and how knackering the swim was. Larry rang Julie to confirm which route she actually took. Turns out she swam nearer the Ambleside end. The Ship Inn on Glebe Road was our first hostelry. Jennings’ Cumberland ale being the first pint. (Sorry, KJ drinks lager but I don’t know which one). I had prepared a list of the pubs I intended to suggest, but this wasn’t on it. The quality and price were both fine and I will visit again. Heading back to Bowness, we stumbled across The Stag’s Head. Never been in before and it didn’t show up on my t’internet search of good ale pubs. But undeterred we entered. A large roaring fire with a convenient empty table greeted us. Moorhouse ales were on sale. Sadly the barman had had a humour bypass. Very grumpy unwelcoming and miserable. (he was about 25!!) I used my new cask ale app. For those with app phones, download it. it helps find cask marqued pubs and has a scanner for you to record your visit. A modern day trainspotter’s delight. Also, once you have visited 100 bars you get a free pint! Ignoring the White House, which seemed to be a restaurant rather than a pub our thoughts turned to food. So, one more pint. This was taken at the Royal Oak. Coniston Bluebird being taken. As well as sweets from the bar. Steve was told off for taking more than one. Another roaring fire. Larry and KJ conversed with fellow music lovers, with Larry playing name that tune with a lady who had northern soul tunes on her phone. Carrying on an old tradition; when KJ went to the toilet, I put a large log in his bag. It was rather large and KJ rumbled me straight away. From here we went to the chippy. The fourth pub and location of KJ’s first spat was the Hole in t’ Wall. Mostly serving Robinsons ales. We overheard KJ raising his voice with the young chap behind the bar and saying something like “your havin a laugh”. Turns out he was charged £4 for a pint of lager. As we sat and discussed the merits of dick turpin, we agreed that £4 was steep. But KJ then confessed to simply asking for lager and he was actually given a pint of strong Czech lager so £4 was probably about right. With time pressing, we had to bypass other targets and set off at a fairly rapid pace up Lake Road towards the station. The final stop was The Ellery up in Windermere. Not sure what the beer was, but yet again KJ fell foul of the bar staff. Paying with a £20, the barman only gave change of £10. When pointed out he apologised, said it was a mistake but “there is no need to look at me like that”. Can anyone imagine our dearly loved KJ giving anyone a dirty or threatening look?? Having observed final score we marched to the station to board the 5.06 back to Manchester. Once on board, KJ produced a glass from his bag, saying having been ripped off twice he was getting his own back. Not sure which pub is now one glass short A great day out, fine weather, good beers and great company. Watch out for the next Five go to….. Kind regards Mark