Wednesday 12 August 2015

BRAPA - Accrington

In mi' Lancashire town - a typical street view of Accrington

It's not often a cup draw is kind to Hull City (i.e. the fans), always ending up in an uninspiring Watford or Middlesbrough, usually at home.  So, to get Accrington Stanley away was something of a coup - and as if the football aspect wasn't thrilling enough(!), the BRAPA element was also great with three new ticks in a town next in line for me alphabetically in one of my most neglected counties of 2015.

725.  Peel Park Hotel, Accrington

A useful tip-off from Christine let me know this was today's S.S. (Southern Supports) designated pub so me and Dad made the most of driving and arriving early to get this one done before any suffocation might occur.  My pre-conceived notion was a very basic hotel bar, but the reality was a much grander multi-roomed old skool Lancastrian pub.  I agree with such luminaries as Dad and Clare Hoppett when they have told me Lancs is one of the friendliest counties in the land, and it was in evidence here with a warm welcome from dog, locals and barmaid.  I ordered a pint of a 'cat nap' but with the dog having displayed early over-exuberance, it seemed wise to spell out C A T, barmaid and soon we were onto W A L K and V E T, other words that dogs don't like.  Although the ale was brewed in Cumbria, I maintain it had the pure East Lancs "no frills" taste and as it turned out, was pint of the day.  Dad described the surroundings as "homely, spacious, welcoming and comfortable" and typical of the "all-knowing" SS, they had picked the best pub.  As the Wetherhill machine came in to do a pre-session reccy,  we were just finishing our drinks - perfect timing!

Dad worked hard to get both pub signs in on this pic as we arrived in Acc.

726.  Commercial Hotel, Accrington

A cross-town walk firstly made us realise that Accrington was the most Lancastrian town ever (quite an achievement when Burnley and Blackburn are considered) but we were soon at this Wetherspoons house having picked our way past a few peculiar inbreds.  It felt like an older pub that had been converted, rather than the usual post office, bank etc.  Dad, in an admirable display of responsibility, wanted a coffee but the machine was broken which might have been a blessing in disguise if the Lancastrian Water Parasite (LWP) had slithered eastwards, so a J20 was safer.  I was struggling to choose a beer, the barmaid offered me a Moorhouses Bohemia as it was today's top seller, but being based on a Czech Pilsner, it was too sweet for my tastes.  Despite her initial helpfulness, she complained that she had a bad shoulder and shouldn't be pulling real ale.  I tried sympathy, but when I then passed her my 50p off voucher, she declared she had bad eyes and couldn't really read the small print.  Possibly the best hypochondriac staff member this BRAPA year!  The layout was standard Spoons, and soon Chris D and Chrissie A were on the scene, ordering two very plastic looking plates of chilli con carne whilst I tried to work out where this tribute to a local glass company was.  Me and Dad let them finish their meals, and we moved on.

Traditional style Spoons action at the Comm.
727.  Grants, Accrington

Research had told both me and Ben (before he decided he was ill & lacking enthusiasm & saving himself up for horse racing) that this was going to be the pub of the day so the plan was to spend the majority of our time here.  Oh dear!  Well, it wasn't without it's good points.  A large building, very modern so lacking some atmosphere but they'd obviously spent some money on it judging by the decor, including a few clocks.  This is because it is home of the Big Clock brewery, and you could see the brewing equipment on-site and also smell the mash (not potato) throughout the pub.  Staff and locals were very friendly, I spent ages sampling their beers at the bar and it almost became a competition to see who's recommendation I'd go with.  Problem was, with the exception of the 7.5% Ghost stout, they all tasted the same!  It was like Welly's dying days, or Whalebone ten years ago.  Dad, Christine and Chris were even more critical than me and the latter two made a quick bee line for the Peel Park and who can blame them?  I stayed loyal, well, made Dad sit with me as I nursed the Ghost very slowly.  Ooof.  But yes, what a disappointment cos it could have been great, or they could have at least put guest ales on like the GBG suggested.

Dad needs the loo badly, but is still happy to pose for the sake of BRAPA.

So then, the hilarious game, brilliant and terrible in equal measures - why do Hull City always make life as hard as possible?  It'll still be a memorable moment of the season "come what May" I reckon!

My fingernails are shredded as the penalty shootout commences.

I'll be back on Friday to review the "bonus" pubs I am doing this week, those which are plagued by dodgy opening hours, dodgy transport, or both, and don't really work on either a Tuesday after-work night, OR as part of a weekend crawl.

And then join me on Sunday for a review of Wolverhampton's best 'outer' pubs which me, Dad and Tom will be visiting on Saturday.  August is going well so far.



  1. Nelson is the most Lancastrian town I have ever been to. Town hall, viaduct, terraced houses, the lot. Burnley is a bit plastic with it's crap shopping area to get lost in and the Tesco right in the centre.

    You say Hull City make life as hard as possible. I am pleasantly surprised they did not lose the shoot out.

    I agree with your tactic of doing pubs with no evening / weekend transport on a midweek off. A good cunning plan.

    Less the closed one and the wrong one in Sheffield West, I think you are on target for August so far. So just one to claw back. Always look to exceed targets and get ahead where you can.

    See you in the black country. Where I meet you depends on where 68009 lands or otherwise on Friday night. There are two possibilities.

  2. I must visit Nelson then! Colne is tempting me at the moment combined with a tricky one called "Black Lane Ends".

    When Meyler had chance to be hero and put it wide, the rumour is he saw a famous chicken based high street outlet in the distance and that's why he missed the target, As for Harry Maguire's effort, simply dreadful.

    Praise from the master of cunning plans, I'm impressed! I've got an earlier start for tomorrow's effort.

    I'd never really expected to get the Francis Newton in Sheff, so despite the White Lion, still on course at the moment. A work meal next Tuesday could make life trickier but confident I can overcome it.

    68009 landing? Cryptic. Presume you aren't flying? You can explain it on Sat (briefly) though.

  3. Would Colne work for our annual defeat at Turf Moor? It may be hard to do Black Lane Ends as well though, unless Burnley are still charging stupid prices in which case it will be easy to do both on the same day.

    Did Meyler's penalty actually hit the chicken shop? In common with virtually all games I don't attend, I have pretty much ignored this one.

    I do hope they are good, far away logistically difficult ticks. Anything local doesn't count as having insufficient transport due to the availability of a chauffeur at the cost of a pint.

    Has a venue been booked for the work meal? If not, my I suggest a mass National Australia Bank excursion to Wintersett. Or you could do what I do and come up with an excuse not to go to the meal. I have attended zero such events through university and work so far. I think the best excuse was York Reserves away. If all else fails, there's always Wednesday.

  4. Hi Tom, not a bad idea re Colne for a future Burnley (2016/17 then!) but think I'll stick to the 'Spoons and Rifle Volunteer this season unless the GBG changes things.

    Maguire's was nearer the chicken shop, Meyler's rolled into a nearby gutter.

    They aren't too difficult ticks really - but I'm not doing BRAPA just to keep Tom Irvin entertained am I? Or to seek his approval. Or am I?! Remember the chant "I'm Simey BRAPA .... and I'll do what I want!"

    Am thinking the meal (pre-booked at some Italian thing) is hopefully a lunchtime so may not hinder BRAPA as I originally thought.

    Before I start South Yorks midweeks, am going to do the North Yorks ones that make sense from L**ds (i.e. Kirk Smeaton, Helwith Bridge, Cross Hills, Kildwick). There may be more. It worked for Pool in Wharfedale.

  5. I don't think having pubs stocked up for future Burnley trips is a bad thing. Unless they stay up, in which case we could plausibly go 59 years without playing them. In which case, we'll tip up having fought back up to the third division, and they'll be saying it was there first win in 59 years against us, and we'll be saying 62 years since we won here. We always lose against this lot.

    Oddly, BRAPA is one of my main forms of entertainment, and despite how it sounds I mean it in a very positive way. I have always assumed that entertaining me isn't the sole purpose of it though. I also realise that I am an interfering little bugger.

    There is, I suppose, a very outside chance of the Italian place being a pre-emptive tick. Though with your rule on name changes I would have thought it highly unlikely. Talking of which, I have some very bad news that I will have to sit you down for on Saturday.

    Doing some North Yorks as midweeks is eminently sensible. I think, West Yorks aside, there is no county that you will clear entirely through midweek BRAPA, but at least four that you can know good chunks out of. That is while you are in Leeds of course.

    Just for a bit of fun, and other people in readerland feel free to join me in this, I predict that your midweek bonus ticks this week have been Wintersett and Colton, with a couple of Wakefield pre-emptives thrown in.

  6. Tom, I think you might be psychic (without wanting to spoil it for my new Romanian and Portuguese readers). Also, your North Cave prediction now rings true as a late check on Whatpub (more up to date than anything else) says they now open 4pm every day! So it's delayed, and I've had to come up with a "cunning plan"!

    Am looking forward to the bad news. It's probably not this but I hear the "First Chop" in Ramsbottom (visited on our East Lancs Railway Welly day) has closed - I hope it's not permanent.

    Glad BRAPA is a main source of entertainment. Keeps me going, though I am preparing myself for "reverse owl month". Seen the front cover of the 2016 GBG, made me v.excited!

  7. Is the Portuguese reader the goalkeeper we signed in 2005 at about the same time as Stephen McPhee? He played in the second half of the friendly at Winterton and that is the only time I remember seeing him play. I've been trying to remember his name all morning.

    I have no recollection of the First Chop in Rammy, I remember the Irwell Works Brewery Tap and I remember the beer tent on the platform, but I do't remember anything else. You will have to attempt to jog my memory, I know exactly where it is, just don't remember going in.

    Idea for Reverse Owl Month, so you at least get some midweek ticks. How long would it take for you to identify anything required in West Yorks, and clear that again first, whilst simultaneously doing the rest of the bookwork?

  8. Steve Milk! (Sergio Leite), terrible keeper. Saw him at Barnsley in either friendly or league cup and he made Lee Bracey look secure.

    Now THAT is interesting! So we went to Irwell Works Brewery? Was that when we sat out on benches and Christine got served by Pete Waterman? I have been trying to remember what that was called. If so, it needs archiving. First Chop was woodeny, quite modern, we went to sit upstairs, there was some offer like "buy six, get seventh free" so we got an extra pint for the table!

    Your Reverse Owl suggestion is sensible - however like all good owls, I need to malt my feathers and restore my natural beauty. By this, I mean that a midweek break in this period will prevent BRAPA from losing it's fun factor, stop it feeling too much like a mission or a chore - which is why I enjoyed Elland etc. so much after my two months off on Bertie duty. Maybe I should have called it "Reverse Owl Dr Who Regeneration"??