Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Windmill Tavern, Salwick, Preston

When I was younger my mum once stared me in the eyes and said, ‘Sometimes Ben, people who say the most have got the least to say’.
‘Hang on a minute’, I replied. ‘My maths teacher? He talks a lot.
‘Does he have nothing to say?
‘What about the woman reading the news? She talks a lot.
‘What about commentators at football matches? They talk a lot?’
‘What about….’
At this point I was kicked out of the front door.
‘Go and annoy the neighbours’, she suggested.
I reasoned she must have been losing her marbles and have continued to bask in inane chatter of no particular substance, ever since.
In fact since my late teens when I discovered ramble fuel (real ale) such nonsense has, if anything, spiralled.
Ironic then that it took a trip to the pub for the penny to drop.
When I spotted The Windmill Tavern in the Good Beer Guide, alarm bells rang.
‘It’ll be littered from top to bottom with mill-themed rubbish – fake bags of flour, pretend machinery and a restaurant bit called The Corn Shed’.
But to my great surprise, when Miss J20 Sidekick and I walked in, there was none of the rubbish I had expected.
Instead, understated, clean and simple, the pub has been designed to make a virtue of its 18th century architecture, without going over the top.
The pub has a large restaurant area set over several levels but we chose a settee in what would have been the base of the windmill.
With a pint of Black Sheep, I was already in a good mood but it was further brightened when I spotted two televisions, showing live football.
Certainly not a typical sports pub, the manager kept the sound low so as to let the regulars enjoy the match without intruding on families and groups chomping through their hearty meals.
I could barely wait to get home to give my mum a call.
‘I’ve been to the pub this afternoon and I get it what you were saying about talking too much’.
‘I’d be surprised’, she replied.
‘Anyway. You know there’s a pub near us that used to be a farm building, so they filled it with farm yard clutter?
‘It’s as if it needs to constantly remind us, it has a history, it used to be something else.
‘It’s as if they’re shouting ‘Look at me everybody I used to be a farm where folk piled hay and kept chickens.
‘Well, I went to a place that used to be a windmill today but they’d just made it into a quiet, smart, understated place.
‘It must have bags of history but it is all the better for not shoving it down our throats.
‘So in conclusion…’
She cut me off again.
‘You’re still rambling, so you only half get it.
‘Now why don’t you go and annoy your neighbours?’

1 comment: