Still Learning…

Squires Cafe Bar – Sherburn In Elmet [A Review – of Sorts]

Back in the day, when I had my Suzuki GSX1400 [2003 – 2006] and before that even, when I had the Deauville 650, we lived in Doncaster [South Yorkshire. UK] and the nearest cafe bar that was specifically for bikers was in a place called Newthorpe, near Sherburn in Elmet, Leeds. It is called the Squires Cafe Bar.

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Jason and his dad owned the place and at weekends, did a roaring trade, but what made it special was not the bikes but the family that owned it. They were special. As was their dog, who used to walk around the cafe with a tiny peak cap on, I forget with which words on it, but the little mite looked like any greasy biker you would befriend on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The greeting you got was fine. The food was fulsome and there was plenty of it. Many a day, I have had a chip butty or a veggie burger with the wife and a coffee with whipped cream oozing out the top, or just a brew and a pastie, to keep the hunger at bay. I took my kids there, one by one for hot chocolate drinks with the same heap of cream on top. They adored the place.

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I even remember sitting down by the raging coal fire one day, with the father, who I think was called Harry, chatting about bikes and even being offered the chance to buy the place because I said, as a former chef, that I would love to own a place like this. Of course, this was in the days before the DMP and then the IVA, so now, I would not be allowed to own such a handsome place as this.

Well, handsome might be pushing it.

That was then, when it was in need of being done up, but was homely and rough n ready. So what about now? What about the time since I last cocked my leg over a bike seat and roared off into the sunset? It has been ten years since I owned the Suzuki 750, the all too naked, sit up and beg version, in an attempt to get back into biking from the 2003 – 2006 days of the GSX1400. But that had to be sold when I lost my job, again. Austerity and cutbacks have been a bitch!

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So, since last November, when I finally got the chance to own a decent bike again, I have been up and down the A1M to the Squires on about three occasions. At each venture, I have seen the usual things; the place rammed to the rafters with bikes. Stands selling bikes, like today, when Suzuki were giving test rides on new Vstroms and other luscious Suzis and bikers with all their differing bikes and gear on. It has been a sight to behold.

But I have also noticed the change in ownership, or at least, the change in the people running it. New leaders. New girls serving. New chefs. I have not ventured into the land of the veggie burger yet, or the chips, which used to be as chunky as hell and totally gorgeous, but what I have seen is a cleaner place, good for the health inspector I suppose, but a spruced up joint that looks better than it did. Whether the food, or the gracefulness of the owners is any better, only time will tell.

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Today, I went and had a tea and a pastie. I am a lone rider now. My wife chooses to stay at home. My bike, being a 600, will not take the both of us, according to Honda, as I am worth two in one go, if you get my drift. So all I need is a pastie, but the same things are there; bikes and bikers, tea and pasties, pool tables to thrash my son on, back in the day, telly screens for the MotoGP, when we ever see it nowadays.

But the soul has gone from the place because Jason and his little family are not there, or if they are, they are not seen any more. And that is a pity, for today, as with each day, I have gone down, bought my beverages, looked around for a friendly face and all I see are strangers. Perhaps that is the old fart in me, but in the end, the place is not the same as it once was. As I went today, mainly because there is nothing near to me, I decided to go via York from Teesside, down the A19. I normally go via the motorway, to get there faster, but did the opposite today and loved it. When I got there, I took some photos, as you see here, and then sat down to have my brew and pastie.

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Lovely it was too.

And then, I went for a wander, glancing at all the beautiful bikes. As I did so, I saw a bench I could go and sit on so headed off to sit down and watch the world go by for a few minutes.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an ageing biker motioning to me, waving his arms at me strangely. How odd, I thought and carried on to the bench, whereupon, as I was about to sit down, he simply said four words which finished me off in one go, for I had been walking round for the last twenty minutes, soaking up the atmosphere.

And those four words were …..YOUR FLIES ARE DOWN!

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Lesson learnt #3 for this biker. Ah well, there will be other days.

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