16-01-2016-The Spread Eagle, Sawley, Nr. Clitheroe

It was 28 years this June that Sue and I last went to The Spread Eagle at Sawley near Clitheroe. ( http://www.spreadeaglesawley.co.uk ) It was on June 3rd. 1988 to be precise. The reason I can be so sure, is that it was our Ÿ??Wedding DoŸ?! Back in the day, it was one of the posher places in our area, so it wasn’t a big do Ÿ?? 23 people Sue informs me, and a few more at the night do. We couldn’t really afford that, never mind any more! From what I can remember, it was a good day, and we must have got something right Ÿ?? God knows how, but we’re still together! Now for some reason, we’ve never been back. I would imagine that in the early days of our marriage we just couldn’t afford posh places, and then as time went on, I guess it just fell off the radar. Anyway, on Boxing Day we went to the Tempest Arms for lunch, and whilst we were there, we noticed that the same group also owned the Spread. That got us thinking, and we decided it would be nice to revisit. So, when Sue suggested booking a table for dinner, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and give it a try. As usual, we decided Friday night was a good night to go out, so I sent them an email to see if they were still functioning Ÿ?? a funny question you may think, but Sawley has had more than its fair share of water lately as the River Ribble flows right past the Spread and on our way to the Tempest Arms on Boxing Day we drove past a rather wet and miserable looking Village that was well and truly flooded. I soon got a very enthusiastic reply informing me that they Ÿ??were indeedŸ? open, and that a table had been reserved for us at 8-30pm. Brill! Job on! As the saying goes. Friday night saw a prompt finish at work, and a race home to grab the bathroom before our daughter Farrah. Farrah left home about 4 years ago, but she lives on a farm with her boyfriend in a static caravan. A lovely big static caravan with a super shower, but Farrah being Farrah, she prefers baths. This means that several days a week she comes Ÿ??homeŸ? for a bath. I knew she was also out on Friday, and I knew she would want to use the bathroom. I was right! And she got home before me! All I could do was get my outfit ready, choose the jewellery, and basically get all the prep work done prior to regaining possession of the bathroom. We have a second bathroom, but it only has a shower, and I prefer the added size of a bath when carrying out all the various tasks I have to perform to turn myself from you know who into Paula. To be fair, she wasn’t long, and I was soon hard at work getting ready. I had already got half my make up on when Sue arrived home, and was able to take my time and enjoy the process of making myself look pretty. By 7-45pm we were both looking good, feeling good, and ready for the off. I drove as I don’t bother about drinking, and the journey took us no longer than 10 minutes. The Spread Eagle has changed! I suppose after nearly 30 years it is inevitable, but I could hardly recognise it from the place we had danced around some 28 years earlier. To be honest, it is a good change. It is much more homely, and has the appearance of a typical country pub with flagged floor areas, thick corded carpets and d€÷cor to match. We walked in through the front door, and found ourselves at the bar. It was fairly busy, people sat at the bar drinking, and people sat at various tables in the bar area both drinking, and eating. We introduced ourselves and ordered drinks. So far so good. Nobody had yet noticed that Sue was wearing a bright orange top (or the fact that she was with a TV!). I think they probably had noticed, but it wasn’t causing any mither. We got our drinks, and one of the young men from behind the bar grabbed some menus and offered to show us to our table. He led us past the corner of the bar through into a larger dining area which we recognised as the former function room that we had spent that fateful day in so many years ago. It was different. It was very different! It was also pretty busy Ÿ?? I reckon very nearly full. We were shown to a lovely table by the window, which, had it been daylight, would have afforded us a great view of the river. The first thing that struck me was the size of the table. It was more than adequate. I find so many times that you struggle to Ÿ??make yourself at homeŸ? on many Restaurant tables as they tend to use ever decreasing table sizes just to squeeze more people in. The Spread Eagle had lots more room, and could have got several more people into it, but they have chosen to space things out and it makes for a better eating experience in my opinion. We both commented as to what a great Ÿ??diningŸ? atmosphere it was. Anyway, after all this waffle, I guess we had better turn out attentions to the food side of things. We had been left with the menus which were loose pieces of paper held onto a hardboard Ÿ??clipboardŸ? with a bulldog clip. Great! I grabbed my glasses out of my handbag, and began the ever difficult task of choosing some food. It didn’t take us long to be fair. There was the usual menu, and also some Ÿ??specialsŸ? which were also on a piece of paper. Hooray! At last, specials we can read properly instead of staring over someone else’s table trying to read a half erased blackboard! Sue quickly chose the soup which we had previously been informed was cauliflower and onion, and I decided to start proceedings with the prawn and crayfish cocktail. This was to be followed up by pan fried escalope of salmon set upon buttered crushed potatoes, finished by a tartare veloute and baby spinach for Paula Falisia and Spread Eagle fish pie topped with cheesy mash served with buttered garden peas for Sue. As you will no doubt expect, we added a couple of sundry items to the order in the form of skinny fries, and battered onion rings. It’s not greed Ÿ?? we just like our food! Both courses were served in an efficient manner by a selection of young waiters and waitresses, and the waiting time for the starter and between courses was just about right. Long enough to chill, not too long as to make you think you had been forgotten. I will take the opportunity here to emphasise my use of the word young whilst describing the staff. I realise that due to the rates of pay available, most waiting on staff tend to be on the young side, however, there is usually an evidence of some Ÿ??adult supervisionŸ? somewhere in the background of things. Both Sue and I noticed that we did not see anyone that appeared to be over the age of 21! Granted, appearances can be deceiving, but on this occasion, I don’t think they were. So whoever was in charge was either leading from the rear and keeping out of the limelight, or was very young. Whichever it was, it worked. Young, or not, they were polite, proficient, and efficient. None of them had any obvious difficulty with my status, and I was treated with total respect. I also noticed that none of the other Diners appeared to have found me to be a problem. Not that they should, but as you all know, it’s nice when it actually works out that way. We enjoyed our food, and we also enjoyed the challenge of trying to remember the shape and layout of the room 28 years ago. We couldn’t! It’s changed, things have moved on, and that is that. The Spread Eagle today, is not the Spread Eagle of 1988. But as Sue pointed out, I am hardly the person she walked down the Aisle with, so change has to be absorbed and accepted where possible. And in fairness, the Spread Eagle has certainly moved with the times. It’s a great dining venue. We had slowly but surely worked our way through two courses of food, and an additional drink each, and had as usual succeeded in returning nothing but empty crockery back to the wash up area. Now it was crunch time. It was that time when you have to come up with some form of suitable excuse for eating a pudding. You know you are going to eat it. You also know that you probably shouldn’t. All that is needed to merge the two separate issues is a viable excuse. As I am sure you are already aware, I have no shortage of excuses. You are my main one! I always feel that I have a sense of duty towards anyone that may read this to ensure that I offer a full and comprehensive review of the Restaurant I have visited. This obviously entails having to sample drinks, and at least three courses. So Ÿ?? just to keep you all well informed, I decided that I should really try to eat a Dessert. Part of being together for near 30 years is the fact that Sue and I support each other where and when we can. She therefore felt it right that she should help me out with this particular matter, and very bravely agreed to also sample some pud. As it happens, we both chose the same thing so I suppose there is some argument here that one of us could have sat on the bench so to speak, but that just wouldn’t have been fair! The Dessert menu was varied and tempting, but the overall winner on the day was the floating island – lightly steamed soft meringue, served with a vanilla sauce, sprinkled with an almond praline. Wow! It had us both purring with pleasure! Sue finished off with a cappuccino, and we sat, still reminiscing about our special day. The dining area had gradually started to empty as the evening had progressed, and whilst we weren’t the last to leave, we certainly weren’t amongst the first. We left our table and went to the bar to pay the bill, which came in at exactly ô?61-00. A tip saw it rise a little, but all in all, damn good value for money as far as we were concerned. It was worth that just for the memories! We didn’t use the Ladies, so I can’t inform you as to their condition, but by overall appearances, I guess they will be more than satisfactory. We said our goodbyes, and were given a more than cheery Ÿ??goodbyeŸ? by the Staff. I have no reason to suspect that Paula was anything else other than welcome. Then, it was off out into the cold, frost night for our homeward journey. We had both been down memory lane, and had both enjoyed the trip. So, all I have to do now is answer the three questions, the answers to which you will already have worked out: Is The Spread Eagle Sawley TV friendly? Without doubt! Value for money? All right, we had the added bonus of a million pounds worth of memories, but even without those, you couldn’t complain. Go again? I certainly hope so, and at my age, I had better not leave it another 28 years!