I’ve now been drinking in The Lord Nelson for as long as I’ve not been drinking in The Lord Nelson. It’s only a matter of time before they start charging me rent. The fact that the default address on my Just Eat take away account is The Lord Nelson says it all.
So what is it that keeps drawing me in?
It’s a quintessential British pub and there aren’t many of them around these days. It’s a grand old building with a lounge and a vault; it doesn’t serve food, it serves beer; Holt’s bitter is the order of the day (though their lager is award winning); you can get a round in for less than a tenner; and above all, it feels like a home from home – warm, safe, friendly and a place that gives you a sense of belonging. But don’t put your feet up if you value your life.
It has great bar-staff with amazing pairs of personalities which is testament to Ian and Julie’s Hooters-like recruitment policy. Let’s just say The Nelson has more jugs behind the bar than any pub in the whole of Greater Manchester.
It’s full of characters, past and present. We’ve lost the likes of biker Mick whose quiz master skills were beyond ‘compere’. If legend is to be believed, he once drank 28 pints in one sitting – but then again I suppose standing wasn’t an option! Barfly Bry was a man who never ventured more than a few inches from the bar for fear of it disappearing along with his livelihood. And then there was Roddy – all round gencleman (in the words of Mike Valentine) and with a barnet blacker than his favourite tipple. The takings on the fruit machine have never been the same since. I hope you’re all enjoying the Nelly disco in the sky. Goodnight, God bless.
Nowadays, we have Joe in the front room – a very learned and well read man that has an answer for anything you throw at him. Like Norm in Cheers, he sits in the same seat every day. You can always rely on Steve to be wearing his hi-vis jacket, even in the height of Summer. There’s Mike Valentine too who’s partial to Nelson Mandela shirts and pints of diamond in equal measure – both of which have been known to cause fuzzy vision and drowsiness. Dave who likes a wisecrack and whose tough skin masks a human kindness. And his mate Mo – the teddy boy who turns out in immaculate clobber come rain or shine. Then there’s Maurice – in his eighties but still delivers a joke as polished as a Ronnie Corbett soliloquy. He even buys sweets for my nan when she comes in for half a Joey’s or some ‘nectar’ as she calls it.
Then there are my friends. Too many to name and each one different in their own inimitable way. Some blue, in every sense of the word, some red. The one constant? The Lord Nelson. Every week we get together at our local for Thursday Club and Sunday Club to share a beer, some nuts and lots of laughter.
To my Lord Nelson friends, “In honour I gained them, and in honour I will die with them.” Lord Horatio Nelson 1758-1805.