Thirst things first. There were three cask beers on: Southport Golden Sands, George Wright Blonde Moment and Springhead Surrender 1646. I like Golden Sands but concentrated on the other two, as I'd had neither of them before. The George Wright was much as you'd expect a blonde beer to be and was extremely drinkable. The Springhead was a complete contrast: a copper beer with a combination of hoppy bitterness and malt. All the beers were well kept, and Paul, the licensee, told me he wanted to concentrate on local brewers whenever he could.
The singaround was run on the usual lines of going around the room. There is a big range of styles and performances, including country, folk songs and tunes, and singer-songwriter material; the Beatles' Blackbird was played as a instrumental. This singaround is very informal and friendly, and is not at all daunting ~ to the extent that a man who hadn't intended to perform borrowed a guitar and gave us a version of John Martin's 'May You Never'. Performing is not compulsory; if you just want to listen, you're welcome to.
Paul told me that there are open mike nights in the Ship on Wednesday evenings; I must check them out as well.
The Ship is on Rosemary Lane just off the A5147, about 7 miles from Southport. (postcode: L39 7JP)