Warrington. The Oktoberfest Beer Festival.

Last weekend I went along to one of my favourite events of the year, The Oktoberfest Beer Festival, held annually in Warrington’s Parr Hall on Palmyra Square. The beer festival works on several levels for me, first of course is the beer, while I’m not a big drinker I do enjoy a craft ale or beer, something that’s a little different and stands a little outside the mainstream. All told there was over one hundred ales, ciders, perrys and lagers to choose from this year. I wasn’t heroic enough to try and work myself through the whole list, just a few halves of the darker ales which are a favourite of mine. As well as the drink there’s also live music, which year on year has never failed to impress and adds to the atmosphere where people have come along to enjoy a drink and explore what’s new on the flavour front, and there’s always food. The events are organised by the local Rotary Club with the proceeds going to support local charities.

Enough with the words, on with the pictures, though I would point out that any drops in quality are due to me being there to enjoy a night out and not strictly for blogging purposes.That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. Choices Choices.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 With over seventy ales to choose from making a decision can take a bit of time.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST.  Faces in The Crowd.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 faces in the crowd in the main room.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. A Pint Glass.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 The reason for the whole event, a pinmt of real ale, in this case it was Rev James Gold from the Brains of Cardiff brewery. I fancied a change from the dark stouts.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. Currywurst & Chips.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 As well as the real ales on offer there’s always some food to keep you going. This is my Currywirst & chips. I know that not everyone will find them appealing but believe me they were very good at the time.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. The Escape Commitee.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 Music by The Escape Commitee.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. The Parr Hall.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 at the back of the main hall by the Cider & Perry bar.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. The Lazy River Jazz.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 The main hall with the Lazy River Jazz band bringing a taste of New Orleans to downtown Warrington.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. No Stamp Required.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 No Stamp Required take to the stage on the last night of the event, bringing to life a great selection of 70’s & 80’s hits.

This is The Escape Committee at work.

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Chorley. Chorley Live, Music On The Streets.

Can I make a suggestion for your diaries next year? Clear a space around the beginning of October and make a note to get along to Chorley Live. Its a marvellous music event that takes over the town centre, places not normally thought of as venues become the stage for a two night celebration of live music of all types.

Professional, semi professional and people chancing their luck at an open mike session all make the two evenings swing along. You won’t go hungry either there’s food as well as an interesting selection of beers from the bars and pubs around the town centre.

Enough with the words, on with the pictures.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Bees Country Kitchen.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Part of the fun of Chorley Live is the wide variety of food available. Bee’s Country Kitchen on the covered market, offer a wide selection of home cooked food.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered market. Donna James.

CHORLEY LIVE ‘!8. Donna James gives and open air performance on a cool evening at the Covered Market.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered Market.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. With is central location the Covered Market is a natural hub for Chorley Live.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Face Painting On Cleveland Street.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. As well as enjoying the music. atmosphere and food, you can also indulge in a bit of face painting.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Adam Heap.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Adam Heap brings his own take on the songs of George Ezra for the patrons of the Ginnel Bar.

05/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE '18. Sherpards Hall Ale House. Yoz Hindley

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Yoz Hindley and guitar make the most of the Ale House’s intimate atmpsphere.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE. Jan et Al.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Entertaining the audience in the Market Hub Centre Jan et Al add a Parisian twist to the evening.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The White Bull.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. The White Bull on Market Street, one of the Chorley Live venues.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Fazakerley Street Doughnuts.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Live music, beer, and doughnuts on Fazakerly Street. All part of the Chorley Live experience.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Lone Violinist On Chapel Street.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A lone violinist serenades the night in the gathering shadows on Chapel Street.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered Market.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A wide selection of food is part of the Chorley Live experience here at the Covered Market.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Lone Violinist On Chapel Street.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A lone violinist serenades the night in the gathering shadows on Chapel Street.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE. Mike Kneafsey At The White Bull.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Mike Kneafsey strums the night away at the White Bull.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Shed Bar.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. As well as being a warm and intimate venue, the Shed Bar serves an excellent selection of beers.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE. The Shepheards Hall  Ale House.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. The Shepheard’s Hall Ale House, is a cosy bar that is another of the Chorley Live venues. Real ale and great music.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered Market.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A wide selection of food is part of the Chorley Live experience here at the Covered Market.

So there you are, don’t say I didn’t tell you about it, might see you there next year.

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Chorley. Waiting For The Bus.

Even though I’m a car owner I still like to use public transport regularly, either the bus or the train. I welcome the change from being the driver so I can just sit back and let the journey unfold. I find these sorts of journeys really helpful if I’m working on a project, a photo book, a short story or a blog post that’s got a bit ‘sticky’ or isn’t progressing as well as it should. I just sit and watch the world go by the bus or train window and let my mind freewheel. I try not to deliberately think about the problem in hand, that just seems to chase any solution further away into the dark corners.

There’s plenty of stimulus to be found on these journeys, scraps of overheard conversation, or scenes being acted out as you pass by.

What were those two staring at so intently?

What was in the big, cardboard box that was so heavy?

The briefly noticed scene in a cafe window, do those two people meet regularly?

The list is endless.

There was a particular reason for me travelling to Chorley, a market town in central Lancashire, not too far from where I live. The town has a vibrant centre and market, with plenty of independent traders and they always put on a good event. I was going to collect my ticket to the flower show which is held at the end of July in the grounds of Astley Hall which is just off the town centre. This is the fourth year that the show is being held and each year they have added to and improved it.

It has become a permanent fixture now in my own calendar. There’s all the attractions you would expect, the displays, the talks, appearances from well known gardeners from the TV. There’s also a growing food court area.

Speaking of food, collecting my ticket only took a few minutes so I had plenty of time to have a walk around the town and the market. I had a really good brunch at one of my favourites, Bee’s Country Kitchen on the market and after some more shopping I headed back to the bus station in time to have an afternoon coffee & cake at Woodchats Cafe on the bus station, in fact you can just make it out at the top, right hand corner of the photo.

The next event I’m looking forward to after the flower show is Chorley Live, a two night event of live music played at venues throughout the town centre. I blog more about that one when I’ve been.

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Knutsford. Market In The Street.

The weather’s been frightful, as the song goes. I needed to get out of the house for a couple of hours and give my car a warm through as it had been standing for a couple of days in the snow and the rain.

I live near the northern part of Cheshire which puts a clutch of market towns within easy reach. For this trip I set my sights on the town of Knutsford, I knew from previous visits that the town was quite lively on Sundays with plenty of eating places open, along with quite a few of the towns shops. What I hadn’t planned for was the pleasant surprise of the monthly Makers Market being held. I have visited this event before but for some reason my Winter addled brain was convinced that it would not be restarting until after Easter. Note to self, check the internet more often before planning journeys. At the moment car parking is free on Sundays but if an event is on it can get a bit tricky. Luckily I found somewhere fairly quickly and it was only as I turned the corner onto Princess Street did I discover why this Sunday was such a busy one.

04/03/18  KNUTSFORD. Makers Market. Cakes and Biscuits.

KNUTSFORD. The Monthly Makers Market. Home made cakes and biscuits.

The Market fills the length of one street an a few of the side streets running off. I decided to make lunch my first call and looked into a favourite venue of mine, the Cheese Yard on Cotton Yard. The inspiration for the menu is in the title, and a very pleasant menu it is too. I opted for the potato cake, scrambled eggs and bacon, perfect food for a cold day.

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The Cheese Yard. Potato Cake, Scrambled Eggs & Bacon.

The market offers a very wide range of produce, artisan breads and cakes through handmade craft good to real ales and cheeses. There’s also always a wide spread of street food vendors and live music on offer.

04/03/18  KNUTSFORD. Makers Market. Pickled Vegetables.

KNUTSFORD. The Monthly Makers Market. Pickled Vegetables.

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Chorley. Astley Hall All Lit Up.

Astley Hall is a historic manor house on the outskirts of the Lancashire market town of Chorley. It’s favourite place of mine, I like to visit it with my camera as the seasons roll and change through the year.

It has a changing sequence of events taking place through the year which always add to the pleasure of any visit. A more recent attraction is Astley Hall Illuminated, a light show that takes place in the grounds on one night in November and I was able to make it to this years performance. As well as the lights there were other attractions, living Christmas Trees walking around, children being terrified and intrigued in equal measure and a Brass Band from the Lancashire village of Tarleton played Carols throughout the evening.

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SPARK Line up outside the Hall

The highlight for me though was a drumming troupe by the name of SPARK. Their appearance was completely other worldly. They wore illuminated costumes, the colours changing as the beats of their drums changed. Throughout the evening they marched in formation around the Hall and it’s grounds like ghostly Pied Pipers with the crowds following in their wake. It was a truly magical experience.

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SPARK attracts the crowds.

I’ve already made a note to check out the date for next year, a tip if you go wrap up warm, it’s Lancashire and it’s November. I warmed up afterwards with a hot chocolate from the Hall’s Cafe Ambio, a lovely end to a great evening.

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Drums and lights in a circle from SPARK. 

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