Another day trip to Market Drayton and some memories jogged

5 Jul

Street Market day in Market Drayton today. Lovely warm, sunny weather, so we jumped in the camper and off we went.

Our favourite, hard working, pub landlord had left his town centre pub whilst we were away on holiday. So, whilst my wife was shopping for grandchildrens’ clothes , I went for a prowl around the Church end of town. The black and white old building is typical of many to be found in this delightful Shropshire town. The postcode is actually a Telford TF13. Bordering Staffordshire, Cheshire and with Wales not too distant, there is a widespread food choice of Midlands delicacies. The Crown was offering a Welsh breakfast of cockles and a lunch of Black Country faggots.I think that the landlady is Welsh, adding to the mix of British food cultures available. Wonderful !

Made from pork cuts, offal including heart and liver, it is somewhat similar to Haggis but don’t say that to anyone from the Black Country (Dudley, Wolverhampton and area) or South Staffordshire. Normally served with peas (pron payes) and mash, The Crown has chips instead. Rich, salty gravy with onion, it makes for a hearty lunch to say the least ! I used to be fed this by my , North Staffordshire, mum to fill my belly in more difficult times. As I ate mine today, with a glass of Chardonnay to toast my Scottish chum, Martin, I bored my wife with tales of mum’s pastry baking and winter busting traditional grub. Cornbeef pie with marrowfat peas and oxtail gravy anyone ?

My little walking  tour took me along to the resurrected Joules Brewery and Pub. Originally from Stone in North Staffordshire, this very well known local brand has many happy followers. My late friend, Tony Dobson, was deeply involved in CAMRA and Joules was one of his favourites, I believe. To those who knew this amiable and popular man, I have a confession to make. His distinctive chipped front teeth were a result of a “Sagan vs Cavendish” type cycling incident when we were very young and very close freinds.

Joules bitter,  always had a distinctive light  flavoured. Low in alcohol and , it has to be said, in former times, low fizz. In a jug from the offy, it was flat. When I was a very small boy and we visited my maternal grandmother and my mum’s great “Aunt”, as evening drew on, one of my mum’s sisters would be sent to fetch a jug of Joules Ale for us all to taste. Once tasted never forgotten. Today’s brews are a must try !

As a personal aside, my mum’s great Aunt , who was always referred to in the family as “Aunty” had been taken in by my grandparents after tragedy overcame her years earlier. On her wedding day, returning from Church, her husband was thrown beneath the wheels of the large horse and trap in which they travelled (yes, I am getting on in years….) and sadly killed. I think that a half pint of Joules was well deserved now and again.She lived to a ripe old age.

From the brewery, I took the steep, winding , Clive of India Steps,  dating back centuries, up to the town’s Church. I got a stunning view over the Swimming Centre towards the surrounding agricultural land.

The centre now has modern facilities and a gym. Decades ago, the original “Drayton” pool was unheated and fed from an icy watercourse. It was bracing to swim there. Not for the faint hearted. As cold as the Scouts’ plunge pool at the Kibblestone Campgrounds near Stone. Not far from the original Joules brewery as it happens. Taken home by slow, MG Magnette, myself and cousins, wrapped in damp towels and no working heater in the car, we would fall into a cold induced “coma” as soon as we were fed and warmed back to ambient temperatures!

I returned to the shops , passing Church Lane and it’s quaint row of terraced cottages. As I passed the pub shown above, I remembered using the old route directly through the town, when as a twelve year old, I was chauffered by my late father, to Prees Heath. Almost very Sunday, I would test out my Villiers engined Kart and my mum’s nerves on the disused airfield. Other weekends we would watch Kart racing at the Lion Kart Club based at what is now the Barracks and helicopter airfield. Wonderful ! I may do a post on all this another time.

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