A Grand Day Out

6 Oct
Everything you need for village living

Everything you need for village living

The conversation went like this:

Friend Pam: Look at these fabulous desserts at the restaurant where we took Mum and Dad for their anniversary.

Tilly Bud: Drool…

Friend Pam: I’ll take you there one day; you have to eat these puddings; they’re fabulous.

Will she, bud?: Droo…l

Friend Pam: Hang on a minute…your birthday’s coming up…I’ll take you for a meal on your birthday!

There is a God: Thank yo…r….oo…l…

And so it came to pass last Wednesday that I found myself heading out of Manchester and into Burnley.  To misquote Field of Dreams (and, in fact, tell an outright lie for comic effect), the only thing we have in common is that Pam came from Burnley; and I had once heard of it.

Pam suffers from a chronic condition: she cannot plan an event without it being a huge success and, as we were heading in that direction, she reasoned, why not go up the famous Pendle Hill (never heard of it) and be tourists in the famous Witch Trial/Trail area (never heard of it).  We could see the famous Eye of God (never heard of it) in the famous centuries-old church (never heard of it) where her husband had proposed to her (I’ve heard of him); call in at the Elizabethan Towneley Hall (never heard of it); eat lunch there (definitely heard of that!); call in to see her parents for some northern hospitality (we’re all famous for that up here); and finish off at the famous pudding restaurant (which sells other food but, seriously, who cares?).

The woman is a genius.

DSCF3292We had a fabulous day.  Pendle Hill was gorgeous; the witch business was fascinating and a little sad (hanging innocent women gets me like that; I dunno why).  The church was…open.  It was hard to believe we were in 21st Century Britain when we could walk into an open, unmanned church and be trusted not to damage/steal anything.  Amazing.  Of course, it probably helped that it was situated halfway up a mountain in the middle of witch country.

DSCF3264I forgot to take my camera but Pam obliged by taking photos with hers, including my request for a pic of the inside of the public toilet – it had a high cistern with a chain!  I was back in my childhood (complete with cold seat) particularly as, technically, it was an outside loo.  Pam and I have a friendly rivalry going to see which of us is most common and I think I win because I was born in a Liverpool slum and come from Irish peasant stock (hence the Liverpool slum): an outside toilet with a lock was a step up for me.

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

Towneley Hall was wonderful.  Walking through rooms which have been inhabited by who knows how many people over the past 500 years is one of my favourite things to do and I’m afraid my mouth got stuck in the Wow! position until it hurt Pam’s ears.  But that’s to be expected of a slumdog, of course.  I was, like, well impressed.

DSCF3297There was a slight change of plan when we saw the queue outside the restaurant door and, as we’d only had huge slices of cake for elevenses we decided – which is to say, Pam decided and I went happily along with any plan intended to feed me – to head straight for pudding paradise and eat there, calling in for a brew at Pam’s folks’ afterwards.  Which is just as well as Pam’s Mum was having her feet done and didn’t really want her guest to see that.  I don’t know why; I’ve got feet; I know how the whole thing works.

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I forget the name of the place where we ate because I was too busy stuffing my gullet with a delicious carvery (which could have been called a spoonery because the meat just fell off the bone and the chef told me that sometimes he has to use a spoon to serve it) to write it down.  Pam tells me it’s called Sycamore Farm.  Check the desserts:


Now tell me it wasn’t worth turning 52 just for that.

We rolled out of there for the short journey to Pam’s parents’ house and I’m not sure that it wasn’t the best part of my day.  Her parents are lovely and her mother is adorable.  She hugged me despite never having met me before and then gave me an entertaining rundown of some of her neighbours, past and present.  They included friendly drug addicts who ran in to help during a crisis to the creepy bloke who introduced himself with the words, I’m not a paedophile and I’ve got a letter to prove it.  Pam’s Mum – or I should say, Pamela’s Mum, because that’s what she called her the whole time; no one ever calls Pam Pamela, she’s too friendly to be full-named;  but you know what mothers are like.  As I was saying, Pamela’s Mum wasn’t convinced by the not-a-molester, though she was glad to see him go when he was arrested for his cannabis farm and stealing his neighbour’s electricity to supply it.  I can’t decide which of her neighbours was my absolute favourite, but it’s a toss-up between the biker who stripped and rebuilt his motorbike many times over fifteen years, in the middle of his living room and partner and children; or the dominatrix who kept a dungeon in the basement but lived elsewhere.

DSCF3278Don’t think that any of this is my usual hyperbole; I swear I had it straight from the horse’s mouth – which was wearing its false teeth at the time, as she happily informed me.  Only the best for Pam’s friends.

I think I love her.

Thank you, Pam, for giving me a brilliant day, showing me a fantastic time, and for having a wonderful mother.

All photographs courtesy of Pam Robinson.

30 Responses to “A Grand Day Out”

  1. http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com October 6, 2015 at 18:16 #

    Wonderful. Those neighbours sound a bit scary. Thank you, Pam for giving Linda such a great time – she deserves it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue October 6, 2015 at 19:09 #

    This made me smile. As a long time friend of Pam who was the fourth daughter whilst growing up, I am surprised that Monica didn’t want you to see her feet. I have many memories of having to look at scars and ailments in all areas of the body. I didn’t know where to look sometimes! Glad you had a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. slpmartin October 6, 2015 at 19:44 #

    What a wonderful birthday celebration….thanks for sharing your day with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. SchmidleysScribblins October 6, 2015 at 21:08 #

    Took a class and read several histories on witchcraft and witches. Too sad, you are right. I know your site is famous or infamous depending on how you look at it.

    What’s very sad for me is that one of my ancestors was tried as a witch and exonerated. Another ancestor was a judge at a different witch trial. The accused was found not guilty and released. All this happened in medieval New england in the seventeenth century. People forget that those early English settlers brought their beliefs, superstitious and otherwise with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Laughing Housewife October 23, 2015 at 12:19 #

      Not so sad, if they were acquitted.

      By sheer coincidence, I was given a free ticket to see Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre’s production of The Crucible this week. The Pendle witches were in my mind the whole time. It was a masterful piece of theatre.


      • SchmidleysScribblins October 23, 2015 at 13:30 #

        My daughter’s Thespian group produced The Crucible when she was in High School. She made the costumes. A arduous job, but everyone fitted nicely. Yes, it’s good when they were acquitted, but some were not. Do you know Daniel Day Lewis married Arthur Miller’s daughter?

        Did I mention one of my ancestors (Leavitt) was a judge in New England? One woman tried as a witch was acquitted. In a different instance, another ancestor was tried as a witch and acquitted. A bunch of my ancestors are buried in Salem, which they helped settle in the 1600s. They thought they were building the new Jerusalem(Salem).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. colonialist October 6, 2015 at 22:50 #

    Some really clever strategies there to create interest in some things other than spending the whole time binging at the puddingery!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Barb October 6, 2015 at 23:12 #

    You went to Burnley? That’s where my hubby is from, we lived there for many years until we came to Oz!
    All the locations you visited are very familiar to me – Pendle Hill and the witches, Towneley Hall – and not forgetting Sycamore Farm. We met up there with some relatives when we were over four years ago and were very impressed – great food, wonderful atmosphere and very busy most of the time (always a good sign for an eatery).
    Glad you enjoyed your day out so much with your friend Pam, her parents sound delightful (wonder if I know them?)
    Your post took me back to my teenage years, thanks for the jolt!


  7. McGuffy Ann October 6, 2015 at 23:38 #

    Wow. Does Pam(ela) need another friend? Or maybe I can just tag along sometime. I don’t know whether I am more taken with the desserts or Pam’s mom or the neighbors! And I loved the names of those desserts, too! I definitely need friends like you and Pam to go out with. You are living the good life. Happy birthday, indeed. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  8. laurieanichols October 7, 2015 at 01:38 #

    I thought that at one point there was a male stripper in Pamela Mum’s living room but then I reread it and figured out he was stripping his bike, my mind took a detour somehow. lol I am so happy you had an awesome day, I wish that I could have been there to join in the laughter and do some serious witch sightseeing, we have our own Salem MA and it is quite interesting even though it is horrifying that all those innocent women were put to death. Birthdays are meant to be savored and stretched out as long as possible! xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Grannymar October 7, 2015 at 21:37 #

    Never desert a good friend like Pamela, she knows where the best deserts are!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bevchen October 8, 2015 at 11:56 #

    Ooh, what an excellent day!
    I was in Manchester on Tuesday but I’d completely forgotten you live there!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Debra October 10, 2015 at 05:58 #

    What a fun day! The dessert case alone was worth the trip! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. judyt54 October 10, 2015 at 13:01 #

    I was doing fine, thankyouverymuch, until we came up against that photo of the dessert case. sigh. What amused me, is with all that splendor and goodness and frosting (hold the cake, just let me have the frosting), at the top of the case are Hershey Bars. And Twinkies. Not that I don’t appreciate Twinkies, but when you are confronted with Strawberry Tart, would you really choose a Hostess Twinkie???

    Your friend Pam(ela) really knows how to throw a birthday party, I am in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Elaine - I used to be indecisive October 10, 2015 at 20:29 #

    What a wonderful day! You fitted more into one day than I would have thought possible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rorybore October 17, 2015 at 19:45 #

    Sounds like a wonderful day!! And people who hug you when they first meet you are something rare and special. Them desserts tho….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. sarsm October 18, 2015 at 14:36 #

    The Pamela’s and their mothers are the people we really need in this life!!! That cake looks delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. SchmidleysScribblins October 23, 2015 at 15:24 #

    Are you demented if you realize you are repeating yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The Laughing Housewife November 13, 2015 at 17:10 #

    An email from Pam’s dad to Pam:

    Your e-mail is very funny; your mother has just about stopped laughing. She laughed at the photo of the toilet. Have you forgot to tell your friend about the toilet we had when we lived on Buccleuch Street the toilet was outside BUT the cistern and chain was inside the kitchen. So anyone who went to the loo and didn’t know the system got a shock when they were sat on the loo and someone in the kitchen flushed it. I think your friend would have enjoyed that.


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