Day 3… Ta-Ta Treacletown

So, as mentioned in the last ramble, I managed to get a decent night’s sleep in the hotel, and finally surfaced about 9. We had already had a recommendation for food. I didn’t mention in the previous days’ blog, that Chris had stopped off at a chothes shop to pick up a cap, as he didn’t want to get any of his dozen hairs wet. We got chatting to the shop owners who had instantly picked up on our accents. I explained about our pin-on-a-map charity shop excursions, and he gave us a recommendation of an old cinema that had been converted into a large eatery place with lots of individual stalls to buy food from.

We went on the search for it, and also stumbled on an untapped vein of 5 or 6 independent charity shops. That was an unexpected bonus.

Thankfully, I did pick up a few CDs this time. I don’t think there was anything amazing in them, but I’ve yet to listen to them at the time of typing.

We found the eatery which called itself “Picturedrome”, and it was indeed large, and plenty of places to eat… It did seem a bit “hipsterish”, with plenty of laptops and beards flying about. It wasn’t exactly cheap either. Ihad a chuckle at a noodle bar called “Send Noods”.


So, it was time for the final hurrah. Naturally, one last trek around any charity shops I might have missed. My first concern was… had they restocked the Age UK I’d visited previously?

Yes. Yes, they had. the shelves were full. Of course, my next question was, could I still get the CDs for 50p? I was feeling confident. I was definitely going to get away with it two days in a row. I took my 11 CDs to the counter.

“That’ll be £11 please”. Gosh darn it. Never mind. It’s all for charidee, innit? As the weather was still nice, and we still had a little bit of time before we could set off, we had a walk around the surrounding area. I found a mural dedicated to those 108 steps, stuck to the side of a bridge.

It’s also the first time I can recall where I’ve walked over a bridge, but also been under a bridge at the same time…

Fascinating stuff. I also don’t know what it is with me seeing faces in things… first there was “Coke Bloke”, secondly, there was this one…

I’m not quite sure which one amuses me more. I feel that second one might be a little more intentional though.

And, doing things slightly out of order, because I can, and there was no other place for it, I also photographed these classy old fluorescent streetlights in the grounds of Macclesfield sorting office…


So, that was it for good old Macc. It’s a nice place. Plenty going for it. The next stop was Stockport. Again, this was more of a pin-in-the-map type thing. It was on the way home, and I have no recollection of where the idea came from. We probably passed it on the way down. I’d like to call this place ‘varied’. It’s bigger than I imagined it to be. There were a few charity shops we’d passed on the way down. I expected that to be it, but it turned out we were a good few miles from the town centre. Leaving Macclesfield and getting to Stockport town centre seemed an age, but in reality it only took 30 minutes, and that included an aborted stop in an Asda to get to the afore-mentioned charity shops.

First impressions were… not amazing. There was confusion on how to pay for parking – it looks like the shopping centre we were in was in the process of going “app only” for parking. A genuinely disgusting turn of events. If that’s the future, no wonder town centres are dying.

Anyway, rant over, thankfully, we found possibly the only pay machine tucked away in the corner. I deposited the cound, and we had two hours to explore the delights of Stockport.

Peering over the wall didn’t look promising.

Oh, would you look at that! It’s taken my collection of shopping centres during demolition up to three. Two in three days. Aren’t I lucky?

It took a while for things to get good when it came to shops. It seemed like you have that rank old precinct, but walk a couple of streets away, and it’a much nicer affair. Modern shops, a decent number of charity shops, and of course, a market hall.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the market hall, but it was much nicer than the one in Huddersfield. There was even a guy selling local bottles of beer. Reasonably priced too. I think I picked 4 up. I have, of course, drank them in the intervening time between me getting home and typing this, so I can’t remember what they were called, but they were very nice.

We even stumbled across a record shop. I knew we were limited on time, so I couldn’t spend much time as I wanted in there, but I almost jizzed my pantaloons at the sight of a “Loading Bay Records” copy of Ankie Bagger’s “Where Were You Last Night”, until it was pointed out that I already have it. A quick check of the databse, and it is, indeed in there. I certainly didn’t pay £2 for it though. Bugger. Or should that be Bagger? A-hahahaaaaa. Sorry, it’s getting late.

That pretty much would be the final stop. I nipped into the “Pound Bakery” for a sausage roll. It was not amazing. I also nipped into Holland and Barrett for some cough sweets that I liked, but it seems they don’t stock them anymore. Another thing discontinued is “Green Cola”, something released a few years back. It was not amazing. Either way, I picked a can of that up for 59p. I’ve yet to have it, it’s chilling in the fridge.

And that, as they say, is that.

The rainbow, pointing towards the pot of gold that is Teesside, assuming you don’t check the GPS location embeeded in the photo. Overall, an enjoyable few days away. The food was superb. the charity shops could have been better, but I was still happy with the little haul. the weather certainly could have been improved on. Unfortunately, the week after we went, the sun was cracking the pavements. At least it was back in sunny ol’ Hartlepool. Still, a little rain never hurt anybody.

Hopefully, I won’t leave it six months until I have something worth blogging about!

Day 2: The full day out

Well, it’s day 2, and if you’ve not seen this for a couple of days, it means I’ve struggled to think of a catchy title. Anyway, today was the fun day. The one where we had free rein to do anything, go anywhere. So, of course, that means.. Go to some places related to where I work, because everyone’s sad enough to do that… right?

Seeing as we’re already here, the first stop was, of course, Macclesfield. Luckily, the hotel is a very small distance from the town centre. It’s situated next to something referred to as “The 108 Steps”, because, I assume there’s that many steps.

We didn’t take these, deciding it was too early in the morning for anything resembling excersise, so we just took the long way round.

And there we were. In the shops. What had started off as a lovely day weather-wise, was soon turning overcast and cold. Joy. Never mind, it was warm in the charity shops. The first step, however, was the indoor market. It took me seconds to stumble on a decent little stall called “Rockalittle Records”. Despite having a large amount of stock, I did feel a little guilty about only picking two out of the £1 box.

It didn’t take long for me to turn my attention to the charity shops. I found a large one down one of the side streets, namely an Age UK. We got in, and there were very few CDs on display, despite there being a large bookshelf for them to reside. I needn’t have worried, as the one of the ladies kept bringing out armfuls of CDs. I quickly amassed a small collection, but at £1 a pop, I had to keep it fairly modest. I took my haul to the counter. “That’ll be £4.50 please”. I couldn’t have got out of there quick enough. I was definitely going to come back here later when the stock had been replenished.

B+M was next door. That gave the opportunity to stock up on the essentials. Namely, some of these.

We stopped off at the market again to get some brekkers. I got a cup of tea and a sausage sarnie. We had a walk around the shops, but there wasn’t anything else that particularly stood out, apart from this particularly tacky display. Hope you enjoy your sponge cubes and cup of paper, kids!

Unfortunately, by now it was now absolutely heaving it down. We went down the 108 steps, somehow managing to avoid breaking our necks on the cobbles, and headed to the car. Next step was Buxton. It was probably about half an hour in the car, it became clear why this area of the country is called the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Now, as I mentioned, I occasionally talk to people from the Staffordshire area, as part of work. It was pretty interesting to see some of the places I’ve only talked to people from.

Of course, the shops were the next step. We had two hours. There was plenty of charity shops, in fact more than I was expecting. I picked up a few CDs. There was also a shop that sold American cans of pop, for roughly the price of normal ones, so I picked up two cans of cherry coke. The US stuff is much nicer than the British stuff. You could also tell you weren’t in Kansas anymore, as there was also a shop that sold pigeons ready for roasting. Never seen that before.

We left Buxton behind and headed off to Matlock. A place I hadn’t even really heard of, until this particular day.

The road between Buxton and Matlock is an especially picturesque one, with the road running through a valley, with a nice litte river running alongside the road. Unfortunately, neither my photographic skills nor the lighting did it justice…

If, like me, however, you like charity shops, you’ll love Matlock. There’s essentially a whole parade of shops dedicated to them. Beautiful. I wish I’d have got a photo of them. Just stick “Firs Parade” into Google Maps. You’ll see what I mean.

In fact, here’s a video of me in 40 years time reminiscing about the place.

On the way back, we stopped off in Bakewell. I didn’t even know we were so close to it until we actually drove through it. There was literally just enough time to stop off and grab some stuff from the original Bakewell tart shop. Sort of wish I’d got a photo… but I did get one that summed up the weather…

Yep, nice weather for ducks. As we headed back to the car, it started raining. Hoying it down. I got into the car, as I thought Chris was going to drive over to the pay point. Nope, he walked over, and came back completely sodden.

We accidentally went a different way back which took us through the town of Leek. In fact, according to Google Maps, it was quite the detour…

By this time, there wasn’t much to do in Leek, except to nip into Lidl and get some suff for the following morning.

And so, back to ol’ Treacletown. After Chris dried himself off a little, we headed back out on the way to discovering that other Indian, namely a place called Paprika, and of course, a few more of the nearby bars. Of course, it was back to the George and Dragon for a couple. A nice little place.

It was then onto the Jolly Sailor. A nice little pub that has a huge wall of random books. I’m not sure if any of them have ever been read since they were put up there, so we chose to pick out to film review books and have a flick through them. It took a while to get served though, even though I was the only one at the bar. Twice. Still, I liked it in there and I’d definitely go again…

Next was to the Indian. Paprika. Unfortunately, it took us longer to get there than originally intended because the GPS had broken on my phone, and we were completely heading in the wrong direction. Instead of walking what should have been about 100 yards, we walked half a mile. the walk, however, was well and truly worth it.

It takes a lot for me to absolutely, 100% recommend a place. I’ve reached the age now where I’m cynical about everything, but I will quite honestly say that this is, without doubt, one of the best curries I’ve ever had. Once again, there was the poppadom, with their own variation on the newly discovered “brown dip”.

I even asked them what it was, they just said it’s “their own chilli sauce”. I’m still none the wiser, and I’m gutted about it.

Vindaloo for the main again, with onion pilau, and of course, naan bread. It was faultless, absolutely faultless. It even had that little drizzle of melted butter over the top… Ghee whizz, it was superb. I’d say, in the dozens, if not hundreds of indian restaurants I’ve eaten in other the decades, I’d probably put this in the top 3. It also worked out at about £10 less than the first place. I was gutted, as I bought the first one the previous night, and Chris paid for this one. Typical. Even “Coke Bloke” had a long face over it…

One last stop in a place called “The Fountain”. I think the beers were taking hold at that point. We’d headed back to the Travelodge after this, and watched whichever episode of Family Guy was airing that night. I remember this, because I commented on the episode at about 2AM in the morning, two hours after the telly had gone off and we’d both been asleep.

Needless to say, I’d managed to get an infinitely better nights’ sleep than I had previously. even the trains didn’t wake me up. Almost time for day three and the journey home…

Day one in Treacletown

A couple of years ago, during the lockdown, I came up with the idea that when we were through it, I’d visit a few places that I’ve never been to, with the whole premise of raiding thr charity chops and trying a few nearby eateries and… drinkeries. Last year, I travelled to Skegness with Chris, and this time we headed off to Macclesfield.

As I type this, it’s 7:39AM. I’m laid in bed in a Travelodge listening to the traffic go by. Unfortunately, the traffic seems to consist of large trains, seeing as we’re probably less than 50 yards away from the main train line, the one that runs from here to Manchester. I’d ask Chris which one it is, but he’s snoring merrily away, and by the time I get this online, I’ll probably forget.

Anyhoo, on to yesterday. It started off with a trip to Huddersfield. It’s a place I’d been to several times. One place I remember with a great amount of fondness, was a little record shop known as “Vinyl Tap”. The top part of the shop was unassuming, and not really that interesting. It was all new stock. All stuff that was out of my price range, and also stuff that just didn’t appeal. There was one saving grace, however. A massive basement, that probably ran underneath three other stores, full of 7″s and 12’s, of all different genres. I remember my previous visit in 2016, I spent hours down there and came back with a fairly decent haul.

Sadly, on this visit, the record basement was no more. Instead of a welcoming staircase to heaven, there was instead, the velvet rope, draped across the stairs. I could have cried.

So, after about 2 minutes, aimlessly looking at CDs I was never going to buy, we left. Probably never to return, ever. Sad times

Of course, Huddersfield has more to offer than just one record shop. There were, of course the charity shops. And what a disappointment they all were.

Approximately 2 hours of walking around yielded 4 CDs, and most of those were from a branch of Barnados that had only just opened.

There was also the outdoor market. I don’t know whether Tuesday is “Flea Market” day, but it seemed like it. Not one shred of anything decent. Unless you like horse ornaments.

We then stumbled on what could only be described as a fire waiting to happen. It’s hard to put into words just how cramped this place was, stacked high with tables, chairs, cabinets. If it’s made of wood, it’s in there.

Of course, I had to stumble over a mercury vapour light. Should I have bought it? I certainly didn’t fancy lobbing at around, with no guarantee that it actually worked, so I passed on it.

One of the last few stops we made was to one of those local community / tourist places. Ended up picking a bottile of Carolina Reaper hot sauce. At the time of typing, I’ve yet to try it.

So, that was Huddersfield. It was getting a bit late in the afternoon, but there was still time to head somewhere else, and that place was Oldham.

Getting there was a piece of cake. Getting parked, not so. Eventually we settled on a car park that we’d passed twice. Luckily by that point, I’d discovered two charity shops, so we headed there. It was 15:32, and one of them, the RSPCA, closed at 15:30. Sure enough, the doors were already locked.

That’s definitely one of the worst thing about being a charity shop fan, having to put up with whatever opening hours the old dears beihind the counter can put up with.

The other one is an Oxfam. These are always hit and miss. Sometimes, they’re great and have reasonable prices, sometimes they just slap any old price on stuff.

It was raining at this point. Missing a charity shop by 2 mintes had also not lightened the mood. I was ready to put on par with Grimsby as the most depressing place I’d been to, but thankfully there was no smell of fish in the air.

We found another untapped vein of charity shops, adn I ended up with my biggest haul of the day. Only 9, however, but it was still more than before.

We did find a diamond in the rough, however. Tucked away in the top left corner of the “Tommyfield Market” was a lovely little micropub called the Cob & Coal. I didn’t get a photo of the place itself, but here’s a photo of the doorstop, as we both found it particularly amusing.

And that was Oldham. The rain had not relented the entire time we were there. Thankfully, this meant that there was no dust from the shopping centre they’re knocking down… and it also allowed me toadd to my ever growing collection of shopping centre demolition photos with…. two.


And the onto the final destination. Good old Macclesfield. Sally satnav showed us the way, and after making only one wrong turning, we’d reached our destination. I was quire surprised how small the town seemed. Seemed one minute we were in the country, the next second was the sight of the Travelodge, and our base for the next couple of days.

Even though it was raining, there was a decent view out of the window, both daytime and at night.

We dropped our stuff off. Chris has a cup of tea and I watched The Chase. We then went in search of food. Naturally, we went for an Indian. Of course, before that, we made a stop into a nearby pub, the George and Dragon. What a lovely little place. Not sure if it had just been done out,, but it was absolutely spotless. The drinks were nice… I went for a Dizzy Blonde, and Chris had a pint of something called Unicorn. It was decent. And the bogs were spotless. Not often you can say that about many pubs. they even had genuine brand-name hand soap.

After a couple of these were necked, we went onto the Indian. Now, we ended up going to a different one than we originally planned, a place called Lazeez. It was over the road from the George and Dragon, and seeing as the weather was still ‘inclement’, we ended up here because it was closer. The food itself was absolutely lovely. There was some sauce that came with the poppadoms. Now, anyone who knows me will know that I could quite happily bathe in the red sauce that you usually get. This time, it was like a brown sauce. No idea what it was, but it was beautiful.

I went for a vindaloo, naturally. Ended up getting loads. Only downside was that the beer wasnt great., it tasted like it had been in the pump for a while. If you go here, It’s probably an idea to get a bottle, but that was genuinely the only downside to what was otherwise a decent place. 7.5 out of 10.

So, the night was getting on. We went to a place for one more drink, namely Alfred’s. They had Beavertown Neck Oil on. Its lovely stuff. Expensive, but worth it. I ended up trying to teach some of the intricacies of Pokémon Go, but I don’t think he could have been any less interested!

So, back to the Travelodge. Thankfully the rain had stopped at that point. A couple of episodes of Family Guy later, and time for sleep. Turns out that the bed seemed slightly smaller than a normal single bed, and it felt like I was going to keep falling out. The trains going past didn’t help. Chris later explained that the rail appeared to have a loose fishplate, which was causing the “Th’dunk” sound every time anything ran over it. So, I’d say it was a below average sleep. Not terrible, but not great either.

And so, onto the main event… day two!