Wednesday, 7 October 2015

BRAPA - Middlestown & Horbury Bridge (Wet West of Wakefield!)

Brian the dog and a real fire - see pub 705
If it hadn't been for the local knowledge of Bryan from work, Tuesday night may have taken a long time to get off the ground.  The 16:40 from Leeds was delayed but a 16:45 to London Kings Cross had me in Wakefield at 16:57, and I didn't have to walk to the bus station as the bus stopped on Westgate.  Cheers Bry.

It was a leaden grey and drizzly day, perfick Wakefield conditions, but bus 232 soon had me at Middlestown a few miles to the west for 17:36 precisely.

705.  Little Bull, Middlestown

This was a very local pub, with three men and a young barmaid all looking nervously at me as I ordered a Scrummy Blonde from the usually disappointing (but not on this occasion) Wentworth brewery.  There was more friendliness on display from a Dad who waited patiently with a pint whilst his teenage son finished off some homework on a 'tablet'.  The youth of today eh?!  The other barmaid with stars on her neck and a cheery smile also seemed more of a people person than the squat Nick Barmby-esque girl who served me.  The ceiling was low but the lack of phone signal seemed to not be an issue as there was a blackboard giving the free wi-fi password, but could I get it working?  Not a chance!  The fact that the first letter was either "G" or "C" and the "J" might have been a "T" meant I soon gave up.  The locals at the bar started moaning about politics, radio stations and typical West Yorks barfly topics.  A smell of home cooking and a lot of floorboard creaking from above was soon taking over but I'm not sure if it was a ghost making tea or not.  In summary, lovely old pub, routine experience, lacked a bit of 'wow' factor.

About to cross the road to the impressive Little Bull, Middlestown.
The rain was still spitting so the 20 minute walk to Horbury Bridge made sense as there wasn't another bus due for a while.  10 minutes later, it made less sense as the sky had gone black, the rain was torrential, and I was "enjoying" the best thunder & lightning on a BRAPA day since Doncaster in July 2014.  

The fact the pub was across the road on a bridge over the River Calder only added to the precarious feel, but the traffic eventually took pity on my soaked state and let me cross ......

705.  Bingley Arms, Horbury Bridge

It was one of those "choose which of the two rooms to enter" and despite choosing 'left' this time, my uncanny knack for choosing the room with "nothing going on" prevailed.  So this time, I moved on in with the locals!  And I'm glad I did as I entered a bustling little bar with good ales and the first roaring fire of the autumn.  A crazy old chap started chatting to me but he was a bit edgy and told me everyone else in the pub was a "nob 'ead" so I sidestepped away with my gorgeous pint of Abbeydale Moonshine as another lightning strike crashed down and Keeley Donovan issued a warning from the TV at the end of the room.  I dried myself in front of the fire but was swiftly joined by Brian the dog who had the same idea as me.  He was attached to "Ossett Lizzie", so called because she worked for Ossett brewery and was called Lizzie.  I think.  Brian was a great dog and went to sleep on my foot in front of the fire for the duration of my stay, a blatant attempt to win "Pub Pet of the Year",  Ossett Lizzie loved BRAPA and we spoke on Ossett pubs at length and acknowledged each other on social media, though the locals at the bar seemed less enthralled!  Mr Ossett was a bit quieter but perked up when we spoke to Rat brewery and his great pump clip illustrations/t-shirts.   Still, it was great networking and that fire was roasting me alive (thanks a lot Brian!)  By the time I left (only JUST in time for the bus to Wakey as it turned out - I was lucky), I said a cheery bye and have to say, it was one of the top positive BRAPA experiences of the year, particularly on a midweek.  Wonderful pub.

Torrential rain as I cross the road to the magnificent Bingley Arms
The rain was still ridiculous so I popped into Harry's Bar in Wakefield for a return visit (I was quite drunk the first time) and I will be reviewing it my archives soon so keep an eye out for that.

Finally back in York, I got a Burger King on the way home but with the rain worse than ever, my chips disappeared through a hole in the soaked bag.  Ooops.  I saw them on the way to work this morning and considered retrieving them for breakfast (I'm joking).  

Coming Soon in BRAPA  

Things settle down a bit over the next week, a sedate return to East Yorkshire ticking on Saturday with Dad as I do two of my remaining five.  Next Tuesday, we are back in Ilkley for a pub I always knew I should've made pre-emptive.  And then Sheffield on the following Saturday which I'll be fine-tuning.  I've nearly finished the next lot of archived pubs too.

See you soon, Si



  1. For future reference, if ever you need a bus that doesn't stop on Westgate or Kirkgate, there is I believe a free bus which circles the city, serving both railway stations and the bus station.

    I make it 4 possibilities for the password (2x2). I once got mildly told off (if even that) for doing my homework by computer (I mean typing it out for clarity - it wasn't a scheme to cheat). Moaning about things like that is one of a few things that has made me feel old these past few months.

    Does the pub pet of the year actually have to be a pet belonging to the pub? If so, surely that would sadly rule Brian out. I've been hoping for a more exotic entrant to come along, perhaps a parrot calling people wankers or a boa constrictor strangling BRAPA crappers, I suppose we still have 3795 pubs to go for those things to happen.

    I rarely comment on this area, but I like the photographs this week. There has been a chant of 'Brian the Dog, is upside down...'. The Bingley Arms under the storm clouds is good also. Just a shame the puddles weren't a bit deeper to get a good reflection.

    I consider losing chips an apt punishment for going to Burger King.

  2. I tried about 6 password combos and none worked. Upper n lower case was an issue too.

    Poor Brian. I can't think of any rule that excludes non pub owned dogs? Feel free to quote me from the past if I did say this.

    Interestingly, we were told the pub cat "died" last time in VAT, so maybe the pet Boa has 'taken over' and now wants a bigger meal, 6 foot 4 tall? Anyone heard from the BC since Saturday come to think of it?

    A parrot is in the running though, but I didn't hear it swear though it did talk.

    I am still craving chips! Ta for the feedback.

    My camera was upside down, I turned it around, but it took a sideways landscape shot!

  3. I didn't think about case sensitivity. In that case the number of combinations will also depend on the number of letters where it is hard to tell whether they are upper or lower case. Things like C for example. Or is that c?

    My thinking was that to be a pub pet you had to be a pet of the pub, thus owned by the pub, or landlord thereof. You've never said it but I've always taken it as axiomatic.

    I heard from Ben on his way home from Nottingham. He enquired about the allocation history of 153315 on his way home via text message.

    Chips should be delivered to the shop / pub / whoever's selling them as potatoes, preferably with the muck still on them, then 'peeled and chopped into chips by hand, before being fried in vegetable oil. There are bonus points available for par boiling them and for double frying them. I suspect that Burger King fulfil none of those criteria.

    I think from the context Si must mean BRAPA Crapper for BC.

  4. Dad I'm sure the Newshouse Bog Closet is still recovering! I realise BC could have stood for boa constrictor but BRAPA Crapper is right.

    Axiomatic?? Has someone swallowed a thesaurus?

    I like your chip status but a few modern Hipster (chipster) joints like Pleased to Meet You in Geordie land are doing this mucky even triple cooked thing. Tom, tell me if you start wearing turned up jeans with no socks and get a Jackson Pollock back tattoo so I can ban you from all forms of BRAPA!

    Was poor Ben in a snake's stomach when he texted that?

  5. I merely thought that axiomatic was the appropriate word for the occasion. No consumption of thesauruses has taken place. It is perhaps more likely to come to a mathematician.

    It took me a long while to work out that this triple cooked chipped bollocks was just a synonym for cooked properly. I am a bit like the Nazi submarine captain in Dad's Army who does not vont any nasty soggy chips. I vont my chips crisp und light brown. I can confirm that I am currently wearing socks, I'm not entirely sure what turned up jeans are and I really don't understand the phrase Jackson Pollock back tattoo.

    Ben appeared to be able to see outside so unless the snake had a window I'd say he hadn't been eaten by one.

  6. Wish I'd known about the triple-chipped cooks in Pleased to Meet Ya when I was in posh Newcastle the other week, but it was 11am.

    Agree on quality of those pubs around Horbury; presume you've done the brilliant Cricketers ?

  7. Oh yes, loved the Cricketers. Did it I think last June as part of our "Heavy Woolen" West Yorkshire tour, with some work friends. I'm sure you'll get to those more distant blogs eventually!