I got ready to go out – I’m not ultra fashionable or even clothes aware, but I guess I put on something smart-ish but pub-ish. For some reason I had recently bought a rather nice handbag which I can’t even remember now. There must have been something about the colour, maybe greeny-grey or grey-y-green, an expensive leather bag, which I only realised once I’d bought it at considerable expense from a very posh Manchester shop that I would never use as I wasn’t really posh enough or stylish enough. Going on an actual date I suddenly thought this might be the time to take it out for its maiden voyage, even though I knew very well my ‘date’ was not a guy who would even notice.
The bell rang or the knocker knocked (did I have a bell or a knocker, I don’t recall) and there on the doorstep was my colleague smiling at me as if he was quite pleased to be taking me out. It rather touched me that he looked so jolly. Burbling something conversational I left the house and got in his car and he told me he’d heard of a great pub (excellent) where the landlord, a Mr Crabtree, brewed his own beer (even more excellent and quite unusual in those days) and it was on the way to Huddersfield in a small place called Linthwaite (pronounced Linfit) out from Oldham, beyond Marsden and beyond Slaithwaite (pronounced Sloughwit)
I can’t remember what we chatted about on the way over, probably school things, and general things, but thankfully it was all quite relaxed and easy. We turned off the A62 and began to crawl up a pothole riddled road, barely more than a farm track and eventually arrived at The Old Saire Inn. He explained that a saire was a sow, and we entered the pub which immediately interested me, and when my eye alighted on the row of pumps with intriguingly named beers, Old Eli, Twenty Guineans, and other names referencing the Luddites who had broken the new-fangled mill machinery which was putting them out of work, my eyes lit up even more.
The floor was flag-stoned, there were beams, and wonky walls, it was a really old pub and intrigued me no end.
“What would you like?” he asked. Afterwards I leaned that he had thought I was posh, and for some reason supposed I would drink Campari. He was astounded when I looked along the beer pumps, and decided on a half of Old Eli, and then on realising I wasn’t driving, asked for a pint.
Supplied with a couple of pints we retired to sit in a small snug, by the window which was set in the foot deep stone walls. We began to chat and suddenly the conversation was flowing and we were laughing and sharing life stories and chatting away and drinking more beer, moving on to Twenty Guineas, and others brewed by Linfit Brewery (I later learned.)
What an unexpectedly splendid evening this was turning out to be!
Part 3 tomorrow!