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Rough Guide to.... the picturesque, drug-free Lincolnshire market town of Boston

impsTALK.co.uk > Rough Guides > Rough Guide to Boston

One of the few benefits of following a football team as shit as Boston United is that such an inexplicable loyalty to an obscure football club languishing in the depths of the English football pyramid affords all those mental enough to do so an excuse to travel to exciting new places, meet new people, experience new towns and stadiums; you can try all manner of locally sourced cuisine and local beers in the comfortable and hospitable surrounds of good old fashioned rural, working class England. And, obviously, watch some good football.

Well, that’s the theory.

The reality is inevitably somewhat different. If you travel away by car, you can't get pissed. There's one motivating factor for lugging your fat arse to some remote pothole in Cumbria gone straight away. You could always go by bus, but as we'll see, this is never a good idea. And when you arrive, you'll find the club sold its town centre ground to Hillards in 1985 and has long since relocated to a portacabin on a windswept industrial estate on the fringes of civilisation. So your locally sourced refreshments will most likely consist of a packet of Quavers and a flat pint of Carling from the clubhouse while a boss-eyed nutfuck wearing the kind of coat only sex criminals and drug dealers would be seen alive in eyes you up menacingly from behind a fruit machine so old it dispenses shillings.

But it doesn't have to be this way, which is why impsTALK has taken time out of its very, very busy schedule of watching ESPN Classic Babestation +1 to give you all the advice and guidance you need to make sure that your trip to Boston, Lincolnshire, is both slightly less horrifying than it might be AND non-fatal to boot. Don't say we're not setting our sights high with this.
Getting there by road 
On 19 January 2006, NASA launched a space probe called New Horizons. Ahead of it lay a 4.7 billion mile, nine and a half year trek to Pluto - which used to be a planet until someone far more intelligent than the likes of us decided that, as spherical bodies go, it was about as important as one of those 99p beach balls in the wire racks at JJB Sports.

On that same day in 2006, Mike Dobson, a plumber who lives in Boston, hopped in his van to make the two mile round trip to ASDA to purchase a pint of semi-skimmed milk.

Who do you think will reach their destination first?

This lump of kitchen foil cost $650 million. That's roughly equivalent to what Boston United spunked up the wall on Ken Charlery during the Steve Evans era

Here's a clue. It's not Mike.

NASA’s probe sailed past Mars years ago. It has already zipped through Jupiter's back yard. But Mike, at this precise moment, is still sat in a traffic jam down Sleaford Road wondering what’s causing the hold up. He's going to be there for quite some time.

Bostonians are already acutely aware that they can drive from Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Bangkok, Lima, Perth - or any other local city - and find that their journey time is doubled merely by attempting to circumnavigate Liquorpond Street. Without such intimate local knowledge, it's little surprise that visiting fans are frequently caught out on their trips to Boston when they fail to allow three hours for the last 500 metres down John Adams Way, the dual carriageway that neatly bisects the town centre and is somehow expected to cope with the amount of mentalists who are trying to go to Skegness for a day out in the middle of December.

But that last little trek to the ground is actually the least of your worries, because merely getting to the outer fringes Boston can be a tortuous task in itself. Lincolnshire's roads have been explicitly designed to kill as many people as possible through an innovative combination of temptingly flat, arrow-straight stretches of asphalt, a dearth of dual carriageways and line upon line upon line of slow moving agricultural traffic. Add into the mix an above average number of twatty boy racers in shit cars that have been desperately plastered with Max Power stickers to make them look even more shit and it starts to look like Lincolnshire's transport network was in fact designed by a genocidal maniac.

Most people will approach Boston along the A52, which is the road connecting Boston with civilisation and, further along, Nottingham. The A52 is a lethal road, clogged by caravans, combine harvesters, motorbikes, nutters in tractors and Skegness-bound coach trips. Designed to simply prevent you getting to where you want to go, the road is almost entirely single carriageway in Lincolnshire, meaning it's inevitable you will at some point be stuck behind a lorry or some other slow moving vehicle. On impsTALK's most recent trip, for example, we found ourselves behind a mobile crane, two caravans, a water tanker (a water tanker? I mean, come on) and - and this is the best bit - a HOUSE on a lorry. Not a mobile caravan. A big wooden house.

If you survive the A52 and don't suffer an aneurysm through sheer frustration, you will eventually reach the outskirts of Boston. Or best advice is to simply ditch your car at this point and hike the remainder of the journey on foot. It’ll be quicker, cheaper and you won’t have your tyres slashed.

Parking
Parking at the ground is permit only, so don't try it. Bung your car on one of the residential roads around the ground, preferably blocking someone in their driveway for two full hours of their miserable fucking life.

Getting there by rail
If you decide to skip the delights of the A52, you may opt to take a more leisurely route to Boston: train. Good luck.

Ah. The romance of rail. Where else in the world can you be mugged by a teenage gang of feral sociopaths, stabbed in the head by a mentalist because you may or may not have looked at his missus, bum-violated in the toilets by an escaped sex offender and be forced, practically at gunpoint, to part with £875.42p for the privilege? Nowhere!

Well, apart from Hull, but we can pretend, as most people do, that Hull doesn't exist. And in parts of London you really are forced cough up at gunpoint, especially if you're wearing a coat, happen not to be white and are surrounded by CO19 officers. But we digress. Transport in Britain is a nightmare. We know that. Transport to and from Lincolnshire is something worse than a nightmare. Frankly, it was easier to do Workington away in the Bronze Age.

 

Will this collection of shitpuppets be any better than the last collection of shitpuppets?

She's a beauty! A green thing sits at Grantham station. If the wind is blowing the right way, these motherfuckers can sometimes exceed 31mph
Unless you're travelling to Boston from Skegness, and if you need our help with that one you really need to seek immediate execution, a train journey to Boston will almost certainly mean going first to Nottingham and changing there to catch the Nottingham-Skegness crawler service.

This is perhaps one of the more desperate rail journeys in the world. Operated by East Midlands Trains, the service runs along a section of track plagued so badly by metal fatigue that an attempt to run an actual train along it (i.e not one of the green square things) resulted in the rails simply falling to pieces.

The lack of investment in basic infrastructure - and we're guessing rails are pretty important to trains - tells you everything you need to know about this particular service. Essentially, if a green square thing were to fly off a section of cracked rail and submerge itself in a drain, there's not going to be the same kind post-Hatfield wailing and gnashing of teeth.

At the time of writing, the trains depart from platform two at Nottingham station. Platform two is located as far from the main building as it is possible to go, and it's only when you arrive to catch the train that you realise why. Put in simple terms, the passengers are the kind of people who think a holiday in Skegness is an acceptable way to spend their leisure time. And they don't own cars. The sort of people, in other words, who want to go to Skegness and - get this! - who do not own a caravan. You may have thought this was impossible, but there, on platform two, it is an every day fact of life.

If there are any seats on the train, and in summer you may struggle, make sure you avoid sitting next to the customary Nottingham family comprising eight moronic kids, an obese mother telling each child in turn to 'saddahn ya little fucker or I'll crush yer fuckin' skull' and a comatose grandmother, high on morphine and awaiting the blissful sweet release of death. If you DO sit next to the family, and there is one on every single service, you too will soon be praying for immediate death to take you to a better, and presumably much quieter place. Unless you have a one-way ticket to Hell, in which case you'll end up dumped by Satan himself outside the Isaac Newton Shopping Centre in, yep, Grantham.

Nine hours later, depending on a number of variables, you may or may not arrive in Boston. Head immediately to The Eagle pub and drink yourself silly. You deserve it.

Useful links: East Midlands Trains - timetable


The town

Looks nice, doesn't it? Yeah. But just wait til the tide goes out, revealing a rotten little creek of glutinous mud, dead seagulls, rusting shopping trollies and sunken boats - all caked in a rancid green slime and the overwhelming stench of broken dreams

If you’re not hit by a volley of bricks, broken bottles and used condoms the moment you step off the train or out of your car, well done: you’re not in Hereford. You're in Boston!

Let's be honest. Boston gets a bad press. But then where in the Midlands doesn't these days? If it's not people shooting each other in the face in Nottingham, it's twelve-toed, boss-eyed freaks touching their sisters in Grantham, fucking chickens in, well, Grantham, or eating babies in, er, well yes, that'll be Grantham again.

And if you believe what you read in the papers, people who live in the isolated market town of Boston, Lincolnshire are frightening monsters: twelve fingered, earth-trembling, 400-stone gravy-sweating shaven-headed BNP-voting fascists who are lucky have lived beyond the age of three hours and who make their living by boiling hapless Polish migrant workers in large vats and selling them on as bars of soap to supermarkets in Mexico. And they do all of this while moaning about a bypass, or lack thereof.

It is, of course, utter nonsense. They sell the soap in China. And the bit about Grantham is mostly true. But look, we're not going to pretend Boston is an exciting place to visit. It isn't particularly vibrant. The shopping is awful. The night life is dogshit, and frequently bloody. But there are worse places to work and live. Salton City, perhaps. And Grantham.
Things to see and do

Boston is a town full of surprises. Many of them unpleasant, true, but scratch beneath the surface and you'll discover a vibrant, diverse community rich in sauce- sorry, history.

Boston is small, but if you find yourself in town with time to kill before kick-off, there are ways to occupy your time that don't involve picking fights with locals or trying to abduct children from Central Park.

You could visit the Saturday Market, a big church, a tower with wings, a non-existent seaside or a local RAF base. You could visit the Guildhall Museum - if it ever reopens. You might wish to take in some culture at Blackfriars Theatre.

Or you could go and trespass on the port and watch drunk Swedish captains stagger back onto their grain ships with Latvian prostitutes.

Indeed, there's so much to do you'll have to remember not to miss the match!

A windmill. There's something unique about this particular windmill, but as it's a fucking windmill we seriously doubt anyone gives a flying fuck. Still. There it is. Wow.

The Stump
Built in 702BC or something daft like that, the Stump resembles some kind of medieval skyscraper that towers over not just the town of Boston but the surrounding twenty miles.


Although it is no longer possible to climb to the very top of the tower, the balcony half way up is of sufficient height to attract the kind of suicidal depressive who can’t be bothered to drive the ten miles to Tattershall Castle for the more picturesque ‘head-first death plunge into the two-foot deep moat’ finale. If the unfortunate jumper happens to land on the grass bank of the Witham, they tend to leave a human-shaped dent that becomes a ghoulish attraction for local school kids. And impsTALK.

If, however, you'd just rather hold off the death dive until you've at least witnessed Boston v Burscough, you can climb up to the balcony for a couple of quid to enjoy the view. They say on a clear day you can see Denmark. Although they might have said Lincoln.

Links: Parish of Boston

The Wash
A casual glance at a map and the layers of seagull shit caking roofs in the town might suggest that Boston is located relatively close to the sea. The presence of a port, tide times in the paper and the unmistakable whiff of saltwater in the air all lend weight to this popular misconception.


A short drive to that bit on the map where green defers to blue, however, reveals nothing like the shimmering emerald expanse of water, dotted by rolling waves, windsurfers and swimmers you might expect to find. There isn’t even a promenade of Mafia-owned amusement arcades. No, what you’ll actually unearth is a vast, post-apocalyptic landscape of thick mud, creeks, sandbanks and rusting ship carcasses – all being strafed to crap by supersonic RAF jets.

The Wash

You'll be immediately struck by the desolation. The silence is stunning. It is almost as if you have arrived at the end of the world. And in many ways, you have.


Welcome to the coast

The sea itself will be a barely visible glint far away on the distant horizon. Should you attempt to try and walk to it, one of two things will happen. You will either get caught out by the tide and drown, or you will stumble into a huge pit of quicksand and bombed by the RAF as you flash your torch for help.

Still, on a brighter note there are, apparently, ample opportunities to watch animals with wings flying about. Some of them are presumably 'rare' and 'endangered', if that’s the kind of thing that gets you going.


Plane spotting
Spend any length of time in Boston and you’ll be struck by the number of RAF jets buzzing overhead. It’s a plane spotter’s paradise, and should you so wish there are ample opportunities to spy on the latest military aviation technology at RAF Coningsby. Which isn’t far from Tattershall castle if you then fancy topping yourself. And when we say ‘latest’ we really do mean it.

A few years ago, for example, Boston was shaken by what sounded like a huge explosion. The blast roared around the town, rattling window panes, causing townsfolk to flinch and family pets to mess the carpet. The cause was a mystery. There were no reports of a fire. No planned blasting. And Tony Crane was twinkle toed Owls academy player. Wasn’t him. There was only one logical explanation. It must have been a sonic boom caused by an RAF jet.

“Er, what sonic boom?” an RAF spokesman said when questioned. “No idea what you’re talking about.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t anything to do with the plane that looked suspiciously like a top secret Eurofighter flying about?” Bostonians asked, this being the time the jet was shrouded in secrecy.

“Eurowhatyousaynow?” replied the RAF. “Probably just a weather balloon. A cloud, even.”

Unconvincing. Not that the locals cared much. Bear in mind that this is the county where a random old bloke thought a Tornado flying over his house ‘sounded funny’, so he called RAF Waddington to tell them the plane was kaput. When the RAF engineers stopped laughing at him, he convinced them to at least look at the jet. When they examined the engine, the RAF discovered a fault with a turbine blade so serious that the jet was in imminent danger of dropping from the sky with the vertical grace of a Paul Ellender clearance. Bonkers.


The Market
As Boston is billed as a 'historical market town', you do not need to be a fucking genius to figure out it has a market.

Quite why people are bussed in on Wednesdays and Saturdays to browse stall after stall of knock off DVDs and shit clothes you wouldn't dress a dead dog in is beyond the comprehension of most people, but whatever. It's there. And if you really do insist on handing some illiterate freak a quid for an illegal version of The Best Of Motown then good for you.

Where to stuff your poxy little mouth hole

In Boston, your choice of eatery is likely to be determined by which local establishment has not been condemned by shocked Health and Safety officials rather than by any scale of quality, and the list of cafes, restaurants and snack bars that fail to keep their rats in check is growing daily.

The traditional pre-match food in Boston is, unsurprisingly, fish and chips, and if that's what you're looking for there are really only two destinations.

Tates, in the town centre, was once voted 'Chippie of the Year' by Yorkshire TV, and they celebrated by hanging a banner outside their building for the next decade. If you can stomach the queuing, it's the best bet.

Otherwise, head for Eagles. It's across the road from York Street and although the quality has varied over the years it generally remains a perfectly adequate vendor of battered fish corpses.

Eagles: chips and fish

Where to drown your poxy little drinky hole
One great thing about Boston is that all the town centre pubs are within walking distance of the ground, meaning you have a large selection of potential venues to choose from. Obviously, some are better than others.

By which we mean, in some you will die. In others, you may live. Basically, it's a lottery - and since the people behind this website fled the town years ago we're taking no responsibility for directing you to the right establishment. For all we know, the below recommendations could have all turned into hang-outs for paedophiles by now. If so, be sure to let us know! As in, just so we can update this section. Not because we like kids. I mean, we love kids. Just not.... er.... anyway....

Handily placed just two minutes from the railway station, and highly recommended by impsTALK, a good place to start would be The Eagle. It's part of the Tynemill chain, so a decent selection of well kept real ales is assured.

The Ship Tavern (Custom House Lane, Boston, PE21 6HH) is across John Adams Way, a five minute walk from the ground and keeps a decent pint of Batemans.

The Coach and Horses (86 Main Ridge, Boston, PE21 6SY) is an even shorter walk from the ground, about 54 seconds, although its proximity to York Street ensures it gets a little crowded on matchdays. You might like that.

Or you could just pop into the Sportsbar. Having undergone a recent refit by the club, it actually has windows now. And proper beer. It's generally welcoming to away fans, given that it is home to the hardcore United fans, most of whom are well into their second century and have long since given up feeling any kind of antipathy to visiting supporters given they are extremely grateful to simply still be alive. Bask in the love.

Links: impsTALK's interactivisation Windows Live map thingy of pubs and stuff


In the vicinity... Skegness

If your ideal night out is lying unconscious, face-down in a pool of rancid Barcadi Breezer-saturated vomit in the middle of a preposterously dreadful nightclub playing Bonkers Vol 1 thru 52 at 3.30am, surrounded by violent bigots fighting 300-pound bouncers, you will be delighted to learn that Skegness is a mere 45 minutes up the road.

Skegness is a popular destination for Bostonians who feel the curious need to marry their liver-melting alcohol consumption with a revolting combination of tacky, run-down mudflat resort and parochial Lincolnshire market town.

Put simply, no-one should ever go to Skegness. Not even the train from Boston wants to go there, the track forging stubbornly north until steering eastwards, sharply and reluctantly, at the last possible moment.


Look at it! I mean, just look at it!

Skegness is perhaps best summed up by its pier, a pitiful structure mortally wounded in a storm years ago and yet never repaired. It barely reaches the beach, let alone the sea, poking half-heartedly from land with an almost apologetic shrugging-of-the-shoulders; a shameless statement of hopeless underachievement. That's Skeggy.


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