Saturday, March 31, 2007

Otley, Masham and Manchester March 2007

In aid of 'Paul the Wilson's' 30th birthday on March 24th, I undertook one of my crazy driving jaunts last weekend, beginning with a 5 and 3/4 hour non-stop Friday night direct cruise from Aberdeen to chez Alison in Otley, Yorkshire. After brief hellos to Alison herself, Andrew R and The Leach, and a refreshing G&T, we were soon at the bar in the wonderful Junction Inn, a real ale delight complete with stone floor and roaring fire. After a couple of Old Peculier's, it was definitely time to eat something, and so we returned home where my Sainsbury's pasta salad awaited! After the life-saving nutrition, I defied medical advice in order to continue on to try some beautiful whisky, including the group's first tasting from new Islay distillery, Kilchoman, as we opened one of Andrew R's New Spirit miniatures, drinking it straight from a quaich; I can happily report that this is going to be one fine malt, with the expected peat in abundance. After that, my fatigue was upon me, not-to-mention Alison's living room developing some structural instability, or so it seemed.... It was definitely time for bed.

Saturday came, and it was wonderful not to have any rush in the morning for a change. In fact, the most pressing matter was nipping to the bakery to get some teacakes for bacon sandwiches!

As I didn't have to be at Paul's in Manchester until teatime, it was agreed that we had time to visit Masham and the Theakston's brewery, not a bad idea at all. After some great driving through fine Yorkshire scenery, we were booked in for the 14:00 tour and sat having a great pub lunch, although a mis-communication meant that the food only came 15 minutes before the tour began!! However, we coped fine and were soon learning (again) about different mixtures of hops, scraping out brewing vessels, Yorkshire squares, and friendly rivalry with Black Sheep down the road. The tour ended in the bar-shop and we had a fine table full from the full Theakston range. My only pain being that I had to drive so could merely take a small taste of each. Nevermind, I could still buy a T-shirt, Old Peculier cheese & truffles, and two Old Peculier glasses!! And then this was fantastically complemented by Andrew R and Alison buying me a Theakston-branded barrel head as a late house-warming gift, c'mon! Just the thing to finish off some home decoration!

A mighty team was assembled:

The tour begins:

You can have anything you like as long as it's...

Arty beer shot no.76 in a range of 100...

Still, all good things must come to an end and I was soon back on the main roads making my way over to see Paul in Manchester. The Masham trip had delayed things slightly, so by the time I had found roughly the right location and given Paul a call and then repaired my own navigation efforts it was 18:00. A quick Old Speckled Hen and Paul, Jolan and I were sat having a great curry in Rusholme's Curry Mile, accompanied by Cobra of course!

Once our plates were cleared, The Britain's Protection was our destination; a fine, friendly and homely pub with real ale and whisky in abundance, and we were soon joined by Paul's workmates, Chris and Frank. Such was the venue that we didn't leave all night, although it descended into a cigar-smoking, insult-throwing, hyper-price whisky downing, Star Wars quoting shindig. All good then really.

Jolan, Chris and a rather rude Paul!

One for the family album then:

Perhaps sensibly, our whisky downing intentions soon ran out of speed once back at Paul's, although it meant I woke up early to be confronted by a full glass next to my bed, not a welcomed sight!

A very welcomed Irn-Bru was quickly followed up by an equally welcomed pub lunch in The Friendship, where I had a beautiful steak & Guinness pie with chips, just the thing to ready oneself for the Aberdeen run (in less than twelve parsecs).

And so it was that I began a beautiful drive northwards, passing hill & dale, The Lakes and into Scotland as the sun shone bright. Wonderful stuff, until the sun went down that is and then from Stirling on was a real chore. Still, The Sonia had my tea ready so I can't really complain! A wonderful weekend, but an exhausting one. Happy Birthday Paul!

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Blogger Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Looking grand our kid! Glad you had a good weekend!

1 April 2007 at 15:05  
Blogger Jolan Sulinski said...

It's a pity we have to import our friends, but it was great to see you! I enjoy your pictures of the Wilson. I'm forgetting what he looks like...

3 April 2007 at 10:43  
Blogger George Walks said...

Lisa - Aye, by 'eck lass, it wha great.

Jolan - If the SNP have their way, I may soon need a passport to come down! You are welcome for the pics, my readership has surged since his appearence!

3 April 2007 at 16:47  

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