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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

#168 Ring o' Bells, Marple, Cheshire : 2000 to 2014

My first ever visit to the Ring o' Bells in Marple was during an epic canal trip from Lapworth (south of Birmingham) to Manchester and back, in a fortnight. This wasn't the first time that our narrowboat Emma Jane had been to Marple; that was back in 1989 when the boat was being moved up north. At that time I was living in Australia so was unable to partake of the delights of the Ring o' Bells.
This picture was taken on a lunchtime stop on Friday 1st September 2000. I don't remember too much about the interior apart from the fact that it was full of canal memorabilia and served good food.

Although we repeated this journey in 2010, we didn't stop in Marple so it wasn't until lunchtime on Tuesday 24th June 2014 that we next stopped in Marple.
It's amazing what tricks the mind will play on you, especially after 14 years. We moored our hire boat by Marple Junction and expected to see the Ring o' Bells just by the bridge there...but there was no pub! At somewhat of a loss to understand why such a good pub would have disappeared we wandered into the centre of Marple, had lunch and a bit of a pub crawl and headed back to the canal only to find the Ring o' Bells where it had always been - by the bridge 200 yards BEFORE the junction - doh!

On this occasion we didn't venture inside, but we rectified that situation a few months later when we popped in and had a very good meal in what is still a lovely canal themed, old style pub!

Unsurprisingly, over the 14 years the pub has been completely redecorated on the outside, now in Robinson's Grey. (Is that a shade you can get from Dulux?)

If ever you are passing through Marple, the Ring o' Bells is a pub well worth a visit for its traditional feel and good food. The website is here.

Monday, 8 June 2015

#167 The Greyhound, Sutton Stop, Coventry : 1995 to 2014

My first ever visit to The Greyhound was on my first canal trip back in 1980, long before I started taking photos of every pub we visited. It has a superb location being at Hawkesbury Junction where the Coventry and Oxford Canals meet. Although we passed it by on many occasions since then, it wasn't until 1995 that we stopped there again.

This was on the evening of Friday 1st September 1995 and was about halfway through our journey to bring Emma Jane back to the Midlands from her sojourn down South.

The Greyhound is such a traditional canalside pub that this entry will focus more on the changes around the pub rather than the pub itself which has remained almost immutable through the years. Back in 1995 it was possible to moor outside the pub. Also note the amount of hanging baskets and the, somewhat dilapidated, fence around the outdoor drinking area.

We returned again three years later.
This was another evening visit on Tuesday 23rd June 1998 and as you can see we managed to moor Emma Jane right outside the pub. (Not allowed these days!) Since our last visit, The Greyhound had been branded as a Banks's pub, but was unchanged inside.

It was quite a while before we stopped there again; mainly because it is a very popular spot and moorings can be difficult to find!
This was on the evening of Tuesday 31st May 2005 as we were taking Emma Jane to Nuneaton to get the roof replaced. Still a Banks's pub, but no upper level hanging baskets/window boxes and the fence around the patio area has gone.

This next picture was taken on the morning of Tuesday 26th May 2009 as we made a stop to get rid of our waste and rubbish at the British Waterways facilities nearby.
We weren't there at opening time, so we moved on.

Next time we were passing, again we didn't stop, but I still too a picture!
This was taken on the afternoon of Tuesday 31st May 2011 and the exterior was being redecorated (which explains the lack of hanging baskets!).

Our most recent visit was in 2014 and we actually went into the pub this time (twice!).
This picture was taken on the evening of Monday 6th October 2014 and, although we did go in the pub, we left after one pint. It was so busy we couldn't get a seat meaning that we couldn't eat in. So, that evening we ended up in Coventry for a curry! However, we did return a couple of days later and, although it was still busy, we did manage to get a very good lunch there.

The Greyhound has ostensibly stayed the same throughout the years, but has subtly kept pace with the times - note the smoking shelter, first visible in the 2009 picture. It continues to be a popular pub and, unlike many establishments in prime locations, the service is good and it is always a pleasure to visit (if you can get a seat!). If you're in the area it is well worth a visit -