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Friday, 22 February 2013

#103 Ye Olde Boot Inn, Chester : 1996 to 2012

If you want to find lots of 'Olde Worlde' pubs, then Chester is one of the best places in the country. Our first canal visit to Chester was in 1996 after having paid our first visit to Llangollen. It was like finding pub Eldorado...and just as we so easily managed to lose our bearings with so many pubs and so many streets that looked similar  to each other!
This was taken on the evening of Friday 30th August 1996 as we embarked on our first pub crawl through Chester. To be honest I don't really remember too much about it other than it was a proper 'Olde Worlde' pub with the entrance on the upper level of the shopping centre. I do recall that it was a Sam Smith's pub and consequently somewhat cheaper than most other establishments nearby. However, for a full description of the bar and it's history, this website fills in all of the gaps!

We spent two sessions in Chester before heading back on the Saturday afternoon. We didn't make it back to Chester for another nine years, mainly because of a canal blockage in 2002 that prevented us getting there, but in 2005 we made Chester our destination.
This was on the evening of Saturday 27th August 2005. As the pub has been there for over 350 years it is unlikely that the outside will change very much...and, indeed, it hasn't, apart from a few minor changes to the signage. However the shop next door has changed and Accessorize, below, was up for sale.

And so we come to our most recent visit, Monday 9th April 2012 (Easter Monday), for the first of our two stops in Chester on that trip. Again, the pub has hardly changed and the shop next door is also unchanged (apart from the 'nutter' leering from the balcony! Ooops! That's no nutter, it's Andrew!) Downstairs, Accessorize has gone to be replaced with Ecco. Ye Olde Boot Inn is still a Sam Smith's pub and still cheaper than any others around...sadly it wasn't my round! It does rate a mention on The Lonely Planet website.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

#102 The Swan, North Kilworth, Leicestershire : 1997 to 2012 (RIP)

The first time we stopped at North Kilworth was in the summer of 1997 on a trip that took us to Leicester and Nottingham.
This photo was taken on the evening of Tuesday 26th August 1997 and, to be honest, I don't remember too much about The Swan. I DO remember that we got a 'lock-in' at one of the pubs in the village while we played skittles in the bar.

North Kilworth is on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal and so we don't often pass through there, but we were back again six years later.
This was a lunchtime stop on Tuesday 19th August 2003. The exterior had been repainted and all of the signs replaced. Inside? I still can't remember exactly what it was like!!

My latest pictures were taken as I drove over to Foxton Locks to observe the refurbishment of the lock flight. I took the opportunity to take pictures of a few of the pubs we'd visited in the past. This is what I found: -

That's's closed and now a rather attractive house. These photos were taken on Sunday 16th December 2012.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

#101 The Patrick Kavanagh Bar, Moseley, Birmingham : 1996 to 2012

I've known this pub from the days I was a student here in Birmingham. Back then it was The Trafalgar and for a few years my friends lived in the house next door (on Trafalgar Road). It was a lovely, cosy pub with several rooms including a bar, lounge and a small 'snug' room. That was in the early 80's and, as with many things, it gradually went into decline.

Some time later it was refurbished in an attempt to bring it back to life, which was successful in the short term, but it also destroyed the intimate character it previously had. This is the first photo I took of The Trafalgar.
We were on our Spring canal trip and, because of a delay at the Shirley Drawbridge, we'd not made it into Birmingham and so we moored up in King's Heath and caught the bus to Moseley for an evening of nostalgia. This was on Saturday 25th May 1996 and it was still called The Trafalgar.

It was a couple of years before we returned and the name had been changed to The Patrick Kavanagh Bar.
I'm not sure exactly when this was taken, but I do remember the visit which was some time in 1998. We walked in one early evening to be confronted with this scene - there were no bar staff to be seen, but there were two rather large Alsatians wandering about and a man lying on the floor, unconscious! We turned around and left quite quickly!

We didn't return again until Saturday 29th May 2010. This time we'd moored up at Bournville and after a visit to my local, the Country Girl in Selly Oak, we'd caught a taxi and gone to Moseley for yet another trip down memory lane.
This time it was a much more welcoming experience and the pub was quite lively...a vast improvement over the experience 12 years previously! (Still not as good as 30 years ago...but then again, what is?)

Finally, here is my latest photo, taken on Sunday 11th November 2012 on a stroll around Moseley to catch up on the pubs of my youth!
The Patrick Kavanagh Bar had yet another external coat of paint...and a new satellite dish. The pub's website is here and, if you're in Moseley and on a pub crawl, this is another one to add to the list of potential venues.