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Friday, April 14, 2006








THE CHIPSHOP BOYS REDUX: THE PIEMAN COMETH

It’s Easter and, as is our tradition, Dos Hermanos headed up North to visit family. As I put in my post on our previous visit, that involves unfeasibly large amounts of food and the inevitable visit to a local chippie near our home in Rotherham.

But first, a little about this much maligned town. It is, actually, a very old town and is mentioned in the Norman conquest version of The Rough Guide to Britain, The Doomsday Book where it says, I am pretty certain “grimey, lousy football team, great pies”

Running through the town is the River Don. It is, I believe, officially a dead river after suffering years of pollution from the steel and mining industries that were once the source of its prosperity and, the loss of which drove the town into terminal decline.

However, someone must have thought it was a possible source of attraction as, just by the train station we saw a sign offering pleasure cruises along the Don! The other picture of The Don in its full majesty shows you why, I think this company is no longer in business. If it is, anyone fancy an outing?

Rotherham also has, as I mentioned, a failing football team. Rotherham United “The Mighty Millers”. I have followed this team for years. I have seen them through thin and thinner times. At one point (OLD JOKE ALERT) they were going to change their name to Rotherham Nil to save time.

I recall seeing a pennant in the Club Shop, some time in the 70’s long before they had their brief moment of glory under local legend Ronnie Moore, that listed all the club’s greatest achievements to date. Whereas your Arsenals and Manchester Utd’s crammed in countless trophies and championships, Rotherham’s, if I recall correctly, had but three entries.

CHAMPION LEAGUE CHOIR – 1967
FLOODLIGHTS– 1965

And, even more forlornly at the very top.

BEST LEAGUE PIES - 1974

Sad, no? But, they are my club and I love them and the fact that they have recently dragged themselves away from the edge of extinction fills me with much happiness.

But, back to those pies. Rotherham is the spiritual home to Pukka Pies (although, I believe they are now made in Leicester – boo! ) these are the Rolls Royce of pre made pies. They are the pie de choix of every footie fan in the UK and an obligatory item on the menu of every chip shop in town. “if it ain’t Pukka, it ain’t Pukka” as a fat tongued uber geek of a chef might opine.

Tonight, we tried a new place, Davians. In a poorer part of town ( a relative term as none of it is quite Mayfair ) you know it is going to be good because people up North with limited funds will not waste a brass farthing on a bad pint or bad Fish & Chips. It was good. The required huge portion of haddock, enough chips in two portions to feed eight people, bright green peas and, those pies. This time, we went off piste and ordered a chicken & mushroom pie. Fabulous. Flaky pastry and filled with a nice chunky, creamy filling. Everything an overgrown boy could possibly want.

With our usual glass or two of champagne the four men of the family were very happy indeed and looked forward to the exchange of a ritual Saturday joke.

Me: I see Rotherham have lost then

Them: How do you know?

Me: Well, it’s 5 o’ clock isn’t it?

And how we’ll all laugh.
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