We are very lucky in that we are only 15 minutes drive away from Ashworth Moor - wide open countryside adored by fresh air fiends and ramblers.
We set off with the windows of the car wide open letting the breeze whip through our hair. The weather was absolutely beautiful - bright sunshine, 17 degrees C and a light breeze. Our destination was a country pub called "Owd Betts". Owd is Lancashire speak for Old (for my visitors from over the pond).
All photographs copyright 2007 Click on photographs to enlarge
Owd Betts is isolated on the moor and overlooks Ashworth Reservoir, which is quite beautiful, as you can see from the photographs.
With the moor as a backdrop
Owd Betts is a typical country pub - all beams and copper kettles and has a long and interesting history, including being haunted.
Owd Betts was built in 1796 by Richard and Mary Ashworth as a farmhouse. In the mid 1800's they passed ownership to their son, Richard and his wife Betty and the building became an Inn called 'The Hare and Hounds'. When Richard died, Betty continued to run the pub alone until she died in 1893 at the age of 93. The pub now acquired its nickname "Owd Betts" but it was not until the 1950's that the name was changed.
A portrait of "Owd Bett" now has pride of place in the pub. All new tenants have said to have been visited by her ghost. They have all testified to mysterious events in the pub like the switching off of electrical items together with footsteps heard crossing upstairs rooms.
The interior is what many people describe as the typical English Country Inn and many are captivated by its charm and history. There are panoramic views over Ashworth Reservoir and Cheesden Valleys where the remains of several old mills can be seen. It is overlooked on the far side of the valley by The Peel Tower (a monument to Bury born Sir Robert Peel - Prime Minister and founder of the Police Force). To the rear of the building stands Knowl Hill (1371 feet) nestled in Ashworth Moors.
We chose a quiet table by the window (Cream will appreciate the signficance of this!) and browsed the varied menu.
There was plenty of traditional food on offer - Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding etc along with the not so traditional - Rogan Josh and Tai Green Curry!
I chose the home-made Cheese and Onion plate pie with Salad and Potato Wedges and MWM had a Ploughman's Lunch. The portions were huge and neither of us were able to eat everything on our plate.
Actually there was a portion of blue cheese on MWM plate which he really doesn't like, so I wrapped it up in a napkin and brought it home for my supper!
I had a small glass of chilled Pinot Grigio and MWM had a glass of orange (well he was driving) and we sat and enjoyed our lunch looking through the window at the reservoir.
On the way back from Owd Betts we passed another famous local restaurant "Nutters". This restaurant is owned by celebrity chef Andrew Nutter and was originally housed in a another old farmhouse about five minutes drive down the road from Owd Betts. However, because of its popularity Andrew has now moved to this impressive building.
Nutters is very, very popular as the food is exquisite and the service is excellent.
Andrew was a pupil at the school where I work, and the school is very proud of his achievements. He still keeps close links with the school by coming in to do demonstrations and taking up to four of our pupils for Work Experience for two weeks every year.
Well that was my first outing since my operation and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. There'll be no stopping me now, except the weather which unfortunately is due to turn nasty again. Never mind as soon as the sun comes out again we'll be off into the wild blue yonder!
Wednesday 28th March
So, so much better today. I am not having to concentrate on working the muscles when I want to move my leg, it's become much more automatic now. I think it must have been all that fresh air, which , incidentally made me sleep like a log last night!