Tuesday, 10 May 2022

I've never been to Sleaford

"You know what, Dolores? I'm much better travelled in Holland than in Britain."

"You always say that."

One of the great things about getting older is repeating yourself. My elderly realtions were experts. I've only just discovered its joys. Obviously, most of the time you don't realise you're doing it. But when do, it's as fun as a conscious dream. Looking at the doubt on the face of your interlocutor, when they're trying to decide whether to let on or not that you've already told them that 20 times. Dolores always opts for the latter course, which makes it far less fun.

But I digress.

Sleaford is one of the closest towns to Newark, where I grew up. About 20 miles away from my brother's house. Never been there. Why would I want to?

Retford. Been through it hundreds of times on the train. Only, I think, ever got off once. To change trains.I didn't leave the station.

Grantham, which I normally refer to as Newark's evil twin. Thatcher was born there, after all. Been there maybe three or for times. First was for a CAMRA branch meeting with my brother. That it was in a pub selling cask Barnsley Bitter gives an idea of how long ago it was. Pretty sure that's the only branch meeting I've ever attended.

I once had an hour two between trains in Grantham with Dolores. She wasn't impressed. "Don't bring me back here again, Ronald." I haven't.

My only time in Mansfield was to watch Sunderland play. With my brother, obviously. We stood on a cop at one end with all the Sunderland fans. At one point, a Sunderland player ran half the length of the pitch and smacked the ball into the net in front of us. Everyone around us went crazy. Most exciting moment ever at a sporting event. And I'm a Newcastle fan.

Loughborough I've been to twice. Once for a pub crawl. The town had a really good variety of tied houses. Ones from 8 or 9 different breweries. Which was rare in a place of its size. Meaning you could do a statutory pub crawl (8 pubs, a pint in each) drinking beer from 8 different breweries.

The other time was to watch Wishbone Ash. A band I loved at the time. Though I now realise some of their stuff is wank. But that was the early 1970s for you.

Hang on. I think it was also Loughborough where I saw Dr. Feelgood whilst the is sixth form. I can remember arguing with a classmate a few days that Wilko Johnson was a better guitarist than Jimmy Page. I still by that opinion.

Derby. Been there twice. Once just for a few pints around the station whilst making a connection. First time was on a school trip to see a theatre production of Tommy. I got stuck in a Hardy & Hansons pub drinking electric-pumped Mild with Martyn Young. We were so distracted that we only caught the last ten minutes of the performance. They had to stop the bus on the way home so I could get off to throw up. Happy days.

Trust Dolores to bring me back to reality.

"Maybe it's because you've lived much longer in Holland."

Don't distract me with logic, Dolores. I'm busy ranting.


Matt said...

The only thing I know about Sleaford is that it's where the band Sleaford Mods got their name from.

I'm the same with Crewe, been through it on or changed trains there dozens of times, but have never left the station and gone into the town itself.

Anonymous said...

What is British tourism culture like? To what extent is it classic tourism -- visiting historical spots, museums, and the lot? Or is it much more about going to warm beaches and sitting in the sun? In the US it tends to very much follow a class divide and tends to focus on a few major spots, but I know Germans, Japanese and Australians have much more of a reputation for going everywhere and seeing everything.

retiredmartin said...

I'd love to tell you you've missed out on Super Sleaford, Ron, but I can't.


The White Horse has nice Mann's livery, the hotel next to the station used to sell Bass, the National Centre for Craft & Design (honest) ain't bad, but I bet the chips are better in Balderton. And the A47 is the Road to Hell (via Swinefleet).

Ron Pattinson said...


you can't beat the chips at the A1 Fish Bar.

Ron Pattinson said...


UK tourism used to mostly be about freezing cold beaches. Nowadays, city breaks are all the thing.

Owd Burnly said...

South Notts bus Nottingham to L'borough via East Leake and past British Gypsum works was 12p return in 1978. Took about 45 min. Every pub in the town was worth having a pint in then. About 25p a pint. You could also get a game of snooker in the Student's Union bar after three o'clock. Even cheaper pint. Nobody seemed to mind that we weren't students.