The moon was in somewhere or other and the sun was in the ascendant so today seemed like as good a day as any to start my new project - the 100 P Challenge (you may recall that the idea is to drink 100 pints in 100 different pubs for no other reason than it sounds like a good way of passing the time). The problem was, where to start? I am saving my local for number 100 and I wanted to start with somewhere that would establish a certain standard. I therefore headed off to the Shibden Mill Inn which is about three or four miles away from where I live.
It turned out to be an inspired choice - everything you could possibly ask from a pub. As the pictures shows, it benefits from a truly wonderful location. It is old, it still retains much of the interior fittings and wood panels, and a feeling of calm restfulness seems to seep out of the old oak beams. In keeping with the terms of the challenge, I had a pint of Moorhouses Best Bitter which was superb : when beer tastes like this who could possibly ever think of drinking lager. I will put together a brief report and add it to my website where the developing results of the challenge can be viewed.
Whilst enjoying my pint I couldn't help but remember the last time I had been to the pub. It must be about five years ago when, very briefly, I became involved with a Liverpool based firm of urban regeneration consultants. They held regular "away-days" for all the staff and in my honour they decided to hold such a day on my side of the Pennines. They therefore booked the Shibden Mill Inn for the day. I remember little other than the topic for the day was "our vision and values". It provided a perfect example of how a perfect venue can be ruined by the need to talk nonsense. The firm didn't survive long after I joined it - it might have been my impact upon its corporate ethos or its lack of vision that brought about its downfall. Since then I have been involved in endless hours of stale debate on vision and values for the various organisations I have been part of. And I cannot recall one good idea, one positive thought, one exciting development or one sensible suggestion coming out of any of it.
That day five years ago we would have all been better just sitting back and enjoying an excellent pint of well kept beer.