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Something Else to Grouse About.

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

It was a nice, sunny spring Sunday morning. Just the sort of day for a nice, sunny spring Sunday sortie with the spouse. With sandwiches stored, pockets packed and alliteration achieved we set off with Mrs. Bygone Boozer leading the way as she always does. Several years ago now we rode over five thousand kilometres across Europe in that formation. All the way from Spain to Norway. Why don't I ride in front? Well, it could possibly be that I'd just power away leaving her behind. It could be, but it isn't. It's just that with my sense of direction being slightly worse than that of a dead badger who knows where we'd end up.

So, to avoid any chance of a mystery tour, Mrs BB set off and I tucked in behind as we headed north, which was a good place to be as we pedalled against the permanent headwind of Long Dale. I've never worked out why it is that, whether I'm riding up the dale or down it, there's always a headwind.

In High Needham, with Long Dale behind us it was on towards Dowel Dale...

...with its reef limestone topography...

...before passing Buxton Raceway and the bygone Quiet Woman in Earl Sterndale and then retracing our tracks homewards in time for lunch and shower before settling down to watch Leicester Tigers hopefully beat Clermont Auvergne.

Let's just jump back a few years for a moment. Back to January 2015. Whilst getting dressed one morning I was flailing my arms around trying to get into a rugby shirt when, CRACK! PAIN! My right arm was raised in a fascist salute and just wouldn't come down. It didn't want to move and the sensations which occurred when trying to get it to do so discouraged any further attempts. The seventy kilometres on ice-covered roads to A&E weren't especially comfortable and the situation wasn't helped by the fact that I was in Sweden where it was about minus twenty-five and I couldn't clothe my upper body.

By the time that I arrived at hospital my humerus had relocated itself leaving me relieved that I didn't have to enter bare-chested, appearing as if I were a member of the neo-Nazi Nordiska Motståndsrörelsen on a summer break in Mallorca. The following year saw a handful of minor subluxation events, often when on the bike, but thereafter things settled down.

Jumping forward again, back to Sunday. Having returned home and eaten it was time for a quick shower before settling down in front of the TV for the match. Some over enthusiastic lathering and POP! Hmmm? That shoulder feels a funny shape. By the time that I'd emerged from the shower to stand in front of the mirror everything appeared normal, but the residual discomfort and pain when attempting any abduction, flexion or radial rotation suggested that all wasn't well.

To cut a long story short, for this is beginning to sound like an episode of Casualty, Sunday's shoulder subluxation has resulted in a referral for a steroid injection and a ban from riding outside. The latter is hardly necessary, for the pain from any potential jarring on Derbyshire's potholed roads is sufficient enough deterrent. Besides, I can't turn the handlebars to steer. I can't turn a steering wheel either, so it looks like it's back to blogging in lockdown, except I didn't get a surprise birthday party or even a cake, Boris. There'll be more on that grouse in a later post.

Not too long ago I posted on the former Royal Oak in Stoney Middleton. The road I'd ridden along from Calver Sough was a product of the1759 Turnpike Act and where I'd stopped to photograph the now lost pub stood a tollhouse, built in 1840.

grouse boot and shoe stoney middleton
The former tollhouse, now a fish and chip dispensary, in Stoney Middleton.

The tollhouse now serves as a fish and chip shop. However, it's not that building that I'm interested in but the white one which stands behind it.

Grouse boot and shoe stoney middleton

This now private residence used to be the Grouse Inn.

Joseph Blackwell was landlord of the Grouse Inn at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The earliest reference that I can find to this building being a boozer is in Pigot's 1831 directory which gives William Wild at the Boot and Shoe.

Extract from Pigot's 1831 directory.

William died in 1838 and bequeathed “the possession of all that Cottage-hold Public House known by the Sign of ‘the Boot and Shoe’” to his son, also called William.

William junior is in residence at the time of the 1841 census...

Extract from the 1841 census.

...but he is declared bankrupt in 1846 and according to the 1849 Post Office directory the pub has both a new owner and a new name.

Extract from 1849 Post Office directory.

There is a problem with directories. They're always out of date by the time they're published. Robert Cocker had also been declared bankrupt the previous year.

Subsequent landlords seem to have fared better and the pub continued to run until at least the 1940s. Quite when it shut I don't know, just like I don't know when I'll be riding again. If it's not the lungs it's the heart. If not the heart, it's the shoulder. How many weeks are there left until that race in July?

I can grouse all I like about how the state of my body frustratingly keeps holding me back, but one thing I can't grouse about is Leicester's result in the Parc des Sport Marcel Michelin. I can still grouse about that red card though.

Edit 8/6/22: I've just been informed by a former customer that the Grouse closed in the early 1960s.

William Wild (d1838) was Rosemary Lockie's great great great great grandfather and her website has provided me with some of the information for this post and has also helped me to find more.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.

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