What have Pete Townshend, Windy Miller and Mick Channon all got in common? The answer, fairly obviously to anyone over 45 is Windmills! They are definitely a blast from the past that don’t appear to belong to this modern age but back in the day they were more than useful from a farming perspective pumping out grain and water. The modern world has seen them ‘diversify’ to coin an estate agent’s phrase and double up as houses and tourist attractions to name but a few.
Nevertheless, anyone who was born in the 1970s will recall windmills were far more exciting than just a building in a field.
You had Pete Townshend ‘windmilling’ wildly whilst smashing out riffs to the likes of My Generation and I Can See For Miles and the cudgels were also taken up by Southampton and England footballer Mick Channon who would celebrate his goals with his unique one-armed windmill celebration wheeling away in delight.
Channon, of course was arguably more famous for pronouncing Gary Lineker’s surname as Line-acre when he appeared on early forerunners of Soccer AM such as Saint & Greavsie.
Slightly less exciting was the serene Windy Miller who defied all the odds by constantly avoiding the whirling razor-sharp blades whilst sliding in and out of his working windmill on the kids classic Camberwick Green.
This was of course narrated by another legend of TV Brian Cant who, in my humble opinion, had a voice to rival Jim Laker for distinctiveness and evocative memories of youth (blimey, this is supposed to be a pub blog!)
So, whenever I see a pub associated with Windmill’s I always assume it has a history attached to it and 96 – The Windmill Inn DE21 4FY is no exception.
This boozer has been around since 1836, nestled in the Breadsall Hilltop area of Derby and is another example of a good Marston’s pub. When they put their minds to it, Marston’s deliver some fantastic boozers (although it is the landlords who make a pub what it is) and this has the feel of a real local.
A Tuesday night visit with two drinking buddies saw not only a cracking pint of Pedigree (Marston’s) at just £2.90 but a bloke sitting in the bar with wellies and shorts despite freezing temperatures and our pub conversation reaching the heights of how unhappy a Polar Bear is in Bristol Zoo!
Again, there were a reasonable amount of people in but this place clearly tries hard with an abundance of activities allied to food, decent beer, lots of chilled out dogs and friendly bar staff.
At the risk of sounding old even Pete Townshend would have thought the music in the bar was too loud so we retired to the lounge and carried on with usual pub conversations covering topics such as the merits of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Texan rodeos!
The view from Hilltop across Derby are highly impressive and is one of those Derbyshire villages, of which there appear to be plenty, that is surrounded by country walks but on the edge of civilisation and urban sprawl.
Not vastly dissimilar to our next port of call 97 – Three Horse Shoes DE7 6DF in the village of Morley. One of my fellow connoisseurs reckoned he had the best pint of the night with a Directors (Courage) although my Hobgoblin (Wychwood) was more than respectable too.
This pub had an impressive beer garden and play area, which suggested it might be frequented a lot by families but, at around 9pm on a Tuesday night it was still impressively busy with adults.
Considering it has a population of less than 500 I estimate that not far off a tenth of them were in here enjoying a chat, pint and the general ambience of pub life.
Apparently Morley’s Church of St Matthew has an impressive collection of medieval monuments but I’m not sure what Dawkins would make of all that after discussing his book!
As I inch ever closer to the century mark of pubs in the Midlands here are two more examples of boozers off the main ale trails that are doing very nicely indeed for midweek trade and ignoring the harbingers of doom!