With that in mind, I decided to push myself "that extra mile" to combine two potential trips into one on Tuesday night, but it involved almost military precision in terms of getting my timings right.
After arriving at Brighouse station (which I'm pretty sure features in Series 4 of "The Thick of It" when Nicola Murray quits), it was a good 30 minute walk to the pub at the south end of Rastrick by the M62. My sister works here and her warning "don't get stabbed!" put me on edge somewhat. Hobbies of Rastrick's inhabitants seem to be driving around cul-de-sacs too quickly, sitting in cars looking suspicious, and smoking weed on their doorsteps. Lovely otherwise of course, on a cold dark and windy evening.
746. Roundhill Inn, Rastrick
But a fine reward for my efforts. The landlady gave me a welcoming smile before I even entered the premises. The GBG talks mainly about this being a hosting point for wakes, with a crematorium nearby and I was mindful of my very long very black coat making me look like I'd come from a late night funeral! This might have explained the extremely friendly welcome from pretty much all, and seeing the wonderful Salopian Oracle on draught just topped it off. A friendly blonde lady called Carol complimented my coat and made the mistake of asking what I was doing here. A detailed BRAPA explanation went down well with her and the barmaid, though the older men folk (all Len Goodman or the late John Barden) looked a bit unimpressed. We soon got onto talk of Yorkshire Bank and it turns out I used to sit next to one of Carol's family friends - frizzy haired elfin motor mouth Hannah. It's a small world. I eventually sat down near a blazing real fire in a fine upholstered lounge. I have found West Yorkshire the consistently most rewarding pub county to date and this was above average. As I returned my glass to the bar, the kind barmaid wished me well in my adventure. A nice touch and a very fine pub indeed.
|Ignore the Carling sign, this is a pub worth visiting!|
What's more, my predicted 13 minute walk was closer to 20 in truth so I pretty much decided there and then I'd have to hang around for a later train back to L**ds.
As I took the customary "BRAPA photo", something funny happened. I seemed to spy through the window an older landlady stood on a bar to the right in a busy reddish loungey pub serving a jolly bunch of flat capped old men.......
747. Airedale Heifer, Mirfield
..... but when I got inside, the bar was on the left and a young man was serving a small row of young and old people in an open plan but more basic (yet still homely) pub set up. I ordered a pint of another great pale, White Rat and the bar chap was above average in terms of the old "how impressive are the staff" rating. A bit like "blinky" from Shambles Tavern in York, but less blinky! I almost asked him if there were other real ales on in "the other bar", glad I didn't as I walked round to find it and just found a couple playing darts, no circular bar. Puzzled, I sat on a raised leather seat and reflected further. I went to the loo round the other corner, but again, this was the end of the pub - no extra bar! So what was it? I wasn't drunk, maybe tired, a ghostly pub scene of yesteryear perhaps? One of those mysteries. Anyway, in a moment of serendipity, I noticed on my National Rail App that the train to L**ds was delayed 4 mins too, just the encouragement I needed to get the earlier train anyway.
|Ghostly goings on at Airedale Heifer - my third BRAPA trip to Mirfield.|
My legs were a bit stiff by now (walked about 4.5 miles in total), but I just made it and was soon home in York for Corned Beef Hash knowing I'm just 4 more West Yorkshire pubs from completion. And with no plans to go to Man City next Tues, we can crack on with a return trip to Ponte Carlo.
And November completes with what will hopefully be two landmarks though again a bit of frustratingly low key day. The 750 pub was my target on New Year's Day so I'll hopefully do it with a month to spare. And in the same breath, I'll have completed my East Yorkshire ticking again for the first time since August when I went to New Adelphi in Hull, only for the new GBG to be released (unofficially) less than 72 hours later - BRAPA can be cruel sometimes!
December is a notoriously difficult month for BRAPA as people like to go out drinking in pubs I've been to before! Don't they understand? No, but seriously, I'll be happy to just make my 15 though I do have a little surprise outing in store to compensate for L**ds away being a write off. I'm expecting big things of Rotherham though, and looking at the location of Deepdale, I'm looking at three on Preston day. And don't forget Bedfordshire's penultimate trip plus my continuing West Yorkshire midweek quest. Doesn't sound too bad if all that comes off does it?!