|The Strawbury Duck|
Next to the station is a pub called the Strawbury Duck. This is an old, multi-roomed pub that has had some money spent on it in a fairly recent refurbishment and therefore looks rather good, with stone walls and nooks and crannies. There are also outside drinking areas where you can watch the sheep while you sup. It's popular with walkers and with people like us who catch the train out specifically to drink there.
It has quite an extensive menu. Unimaginatively, I had spicy veggie burger with chips, salad and salsa sauce, not normally my first choice but it was just what I fancied. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meals.
The beers that were on were: Lancaster Blonde, Robinson's Unicorn, and Everards Horizon. There was a pumpclip turned around for a Strawbury Duck house beer brewed by Tetley's of Northampton - still doesn't sound right, does it? I had the Horizon until it ran out, then the Blonde. Both are golden ales, with the Horizon being drier, which I preferred, but the Blonde was quite acceptable. The beers were at the right temperature - good news considering the weather. After we'd eaten, we sat outside in the glorious sunshine drinking more beer, except for one driver who was on water. I've often noticed that the sunshine brings out a hoppy smell in real ale.
After 5 and a half hours, it was time to catch trains to our various homes. I had to change at Bolton and had three quarters of an hour to kill, so I wandered out of the station and found a pub nearby called the York, which had 4 handpumps but only Hobgoblin on. It was a locals pub and the people were friendly but, owing to train timetables, for me it could be no more than a brief pit stop.
When I got back to Southport, I went to another reunion, this time of people I used to work with in Southport DWP, but unfortunately it wasn't in a real ale venue. One nice thing came of it: the social club is arranging an evening barge trip as a staff outing and they asked me whether I'd join them with my guitar so they can have a 50s and 60s singalong. It should be fun.