Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Travels with my ramp

Last night I went to The New Inn  in Marsden: Marsden known to CAMRA stalwarts throughout the North of England and beyond. Marsden where every other pint is a pint of Jennings and every third is from a microbrewery. What a place to be  with my 16 year old daughter and my heavy-with-child p.a. E.   
Marsden is a lovely village just beyond the Saddleworth Moors, past breathtaking views of the Coalshaw Valley, a buffer before you hit Huddersfield. We phoned The New Inn, like good little disableds, before we set off, to check access arrangements and were encouraged that "a couple of the regulars are wheelchair users". We were warned of a small step in at the front but were assured that their local motorised wheelchair user didn't find it a problem.
We arrived a little early and they don't open until 5pm on a weekday. I was not sitting, waiting for the pub to open. I've been that desperado! We had a wander and within a few hundred yards, found the Standedge Tunnel: and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal: 
So far, so refreshed. Having worked up a hunger, we headed for the pub.
The step was a stone monstrosity. Its centimetres might well have been metres for the difference it made to my little Invacare wheels. E asked the staff if there was another (hidden) entrance and they sent out a burly couple, offering to carry me. With no further ado, we fetched the portable ramp:
best £20 I ever spent on ebay!
The ambience was cosy, relaxed and inviting. The staff were hospitality itself; attentive but not intrusive, homely and welcoming but just the right side of polished professional. We were given a choice of tables and chose the accessible one. The decor was cosy/kitsch, (I hope, deliberate) the local artwork was interesting and made for a good talking point, with neat explanatory paragraphs by each piece. The menu was simple, elegant and each dish whet my appetite. I knew that at this stage I would be suffering from eyes-bigger-than-my-belly syndrome, so I had already chosen the risotto. Whilst my daughter drank her tea and my fruit juice, (cheers!) E ordered;  

  • Red pepper & spinach risotto with feta 7.50
  • whole tail scampi, fat chips, tartare sauce 7.95 
  • new inn fully loaded burger, bacon, cheese, onion rings 6.75
I paid a visit whilst I was there. It'd almost be rude not to! E asked if there was a wheelchair accessible toilet? Both the wheelchair using regulars must be men. (As well as stunt riders on that there doorstep!) After checking with a manager the bar staff directed us to the ladies, "end cubicle". E cleared the entrance. None offered to help an albeit strong but obviously >6months pregnant woman with a teetering stack of wooden high chairs. To be fair, E had been droning on all day about how strong she is but all the same... A really tight corner, some eye watering driving skills and a teensy scraping of wallpaper and we were in. The thinnest of cubicles, no bigger than a standard wardrobe, stood in a row of 3. The "end cubicle" contained 2 grab rails. E fetched a portable urinal. We are so organised, I frighten myself.
The food was delicious and beautifully presented. I will certainly revisit Marsden. I am already plotting an accessibility pub crawl. 
Good food, good company, nice views and a bit of a whinge: happy days. 
listening to: Tim Minchin - Not Perfect
reading: The Etymologicon - Mark Forsyth 

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