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!