I'm just conscious (in more ways than one) BRAPA can get quite complex, with acronyms and commonly used phrases that I sometimes think only me and Tom understand. When I see that today, I've had my first ever blog view from Indonesia for example, I thought it might be good practice to 'crack the code' as they say, which might also sharpen up the nature of my challenge.
1. BRAPA - Okay, if you really are a newcomer or just a simpleton, this acronym stands for "British Real Ale Pub Adventure" and sums up the whole idea, that is to tick off every pub in the Good Beer Guide, not just the 2015 edition, but each one in the future too. 4,500 in all, at the time of writing, I am approaching 16% completed! Note it is a 'pub adventure', not a 'beer adventure'. If I walk 5 miles in the pouring rain uphill past bleating sheep and find a grumpy barman, growling bulldog and two miserable locals, with a beer choice of John Smith's Cask or Doom Bar, who cares, I've "ticked another one off".
2. The Red Pen - This is actually a fluorescent yellow highlighter pen. You'll just have to go with me on this one, and blame Tom who coined it. It is what is used to "tick off" the pubs in the Good Beer Guide (GBG) which I take on my travels, and is basically my bible (or my Koran as I unwisely once told a Muslim taxi driver). I often get barstaff or locals to 'tick off' their own pub for added interactivity (see Grill in Aberdeen, Green Tree in Brompton).
3. Tom - You'll often hear me refer to Tom, Tom Irvin, my BRAPA chief advisor and current holder of BRAPA person of the year (yes, I have a year end awards ceremony!). He drinks blackcurrant with tap water, no ice, pint glass. He is a railway expert, a money saving expert, and a good co-ordinator And his endless enthusiasm helps drive me on. You may sometimes hear me talk about "managing expectations", this is me quelling a particularly "out of the box" Tom move , for example using a spaceship to visit 15 pubs on the outskirts of Nottingham between 11am-3pm.
4. A Swift Half - You may often hear me refer to having a "swift half", but don't take this literally. It might be, but it also might be an emergency pint of lemonade (as when dehydrated in Nottingham) or 4 leisurely pints in York Tap after Cambridge with Jig last September. It is most likely referred to in pubs I've already visited, but a good stop gap, time filler, or relaxation point - Greyhound in Riccall on Saturday was a good example.
5. One Month Reverse Owl - This is me between the approximate dates of 10th September - 10th October every year. Whereas an owl malts it's feathers in the summer and is less vocal and active, I get my new Good Beer Guide early/mid September and my BRAPA activity temporarily drops off (particularly midweek) as I take stock of new entries/deletions etc. (see also book work)
6. Book Work - Coined by some academic man, stolen from Tom, this refers to any time spent in the name of the BRAPA challenge from the comfort of my own home. This may be anything from planning a complex journey, writing archive entries, booking tickets, cross ticking GBG's, BRAPA statistics, updating my spreadsheet, responding to social media messages etc etc.
7. Chris Irvin Syndrome (CIS) - Not specific to Chris, but this term relates to someone enthusing about a BRAPA pub I have not yet visited, me building it up in my mind, and finding it quite disappointing. Doric Arch at Euston, Newark's Micro Pub, Claret Freehouse in Addiscombe are all original CIS examples. There is of course, also the BTFCIS (Back to Front Chris Irvin Syndrome) where someone tells me a pub is terrible, but I go along and am pleasantly surprised, The Reindeer in Overton is a recent example of this.
8. Ten Down at the Cross - I'm no train expert but this useful phrase means you are ten minutes late getting into London Kings Cross on a given train journey. So impressed was Dad by this, he invents his own like "3 up at the Pete" when we were amazingly 3 minutes early into Peterborough a year or two ago, but it quickly slowed back to even stevens. "13.5 down at the white shite" and "levels at the Manc Pic" are other recent examples.
9. Pre-emptive tick - This is a pub which isn't currently in the Good Beer Guide, perhaps it is fairly new or has recently been taken over, and is getting rave reviews about it's ale, or has won a "Most Improved Pub" award from CAMRA. Chequers at Wrestlingworth was a (fairly) good example of this. Tom sometimes sees every pub as a pre-emptive tick, which I can understand to some extent. Beware though, Christine Andrew recently referred to Bradford's new Brew House as a "pre-emptive strike" which sounded like she wanted me to launch a missile in the pub's direction.
10. Bonus Pub - I use this term to differentiate from what I consider a great bet for a pre-emptive with a more fanciful effort. For example, I recently visited CASC and Brewdog in Aberdeen. Both were good but a deliberate lack of handpulls means how likely are they to get in the GBG unless they have a massive change of policy.
11. The County Clincher - This is the final 'pub tick' I need to complete a given county (well, until the next GBG is published and new pubs become necessary. For example, at the time of writing, the New Adelphi in Hull will probably be East Yorkshire's county clincher, West Yorkshire is most likely Wintersett and Bedfordshire could be Souldrop's Bedford Arms but a bit of a way to go with that one still. When I do them, I'll be all over Twitter like a football commentator "Oh yes, it's in from New Adelphi .... and the county has been clinched! Remarkable." #eastyorks (or something).
12. A Manoeuvere - Another one I've caught from Tom relating to train travel mainly. and whilst I trust his honesty implicitly, I've always taken this to be a euphemism for some devious way of not getting 'gripped' (caught/charged) by a particularly officious ticket guard which could be hopping trains or even hiding in the loo or blinding them with science - but I'm probably imagining such behaviour. My "manoeveres" are usually pointless as I have a valid ticket anyway - see Castleford.
13. A Jakey Dive - I'm in Scotland and it's the kind of pub where you might find a more toothless, working class style of drinker. Aberdeen's terrifying Wetherspoons, Justice Mill, is a good example. Cowdenbeath's New Goth too, but hardly a pre-emptive tick. Since April, Jakey Dive can also be used if you see someone snorting cocaine in the toilets (see Ross on Wye or York's Three Tuns).
14. Whip it in - As in "Si, as we are travelling back to Kings Cross from London Bridge post match and we have time to kill, you may as well whip in any Northern line pubs en route". It basically means a convenient bonus BRAPA pub you have maybe not planned from the outset, but is easy to get to and time just about allows. This attitude to BRAPA leaves me with mixed feelings, but efforts like the Three Compasses in Hornsey prove it can be a valuable way of getting additional ticks.
15. An "OMG Si!" Pub - This is when people I know, especially those who don't even care much about pubs are proud to report they have visited a pub that I haven't, or express extreme surprise and disappointment that I haven't managed it. Or bask in the glory of it. Or I'm just jealous. Here's a few examples. The Mexborough Concertina Club (Irvin's). Stratford's Tap East (Ben). Everywhere in Berwick (Lizzy). Soup Kitchen & Molly's in Manchester (Christine). Oakham's Grainstore (Mum and Dad). Hunslet's Garden Gate (everyone at work). Barge & Barrel Elland / Narrow Boat, Skipton (Lu - but these have been rectified). Guildford in Edinburgh (Dad), Rat Inn, Anick (Krzb Britain), the Adnams one in Aldeburgh, Suffolk (John Watson), And that's just a very small percentage.
16. A Retrospective visit - Perhaps I was writing up my archives and I either could not remember much about it (Valley/Cellars, Scarborough), I had a bad experience there, or feel I must have been missing something (Gardeners Arms, Hull), because it is still in the GBG all these years on, gets a great write up, and I feel I want to redress the balance. There is another side to this coin, if a pub was superb first time round, I'd be unlikely to go out of my way for a revisit as I'd be worried the magic would not be repeated, thus souring my memories. A bit like going to Yeovil away again.
17. A Finn Experience - No I don't mean I met a dolphin, a man from Finland or a former blonde Home & Away star of the 90's. Sadly. It is a pub which seemed at first glance, or for at least 5 minutes to be absolutely terrible, or at least incredibly average, and then things started happening which made me suddenly see the light, "wow, I can see why this is a great pub now!" The Morning Star in Lincoln this January was a most perfect example of this. Named after Craig Finn, brilliant songwriter of a band called the Hold Steady who often writes about someone in a bad situation (drugs etc) only to have a kind of resurrection, religious or otherwise, right at the end of the album. And all is well with the world. But this is a new term so not used it yet.
And there you have it, now go away and re-read every single blog entry I have ever done.