After a short train journey from Leeds, I found myself in Barnsley Interchange (posh name for rail and bus stations combined). I love Barnsley folk, and unlike Donny, Keighley or Huddersfield, the bus station didn't need muzak to control the locals and any violent urges they may have had.
I was actually informed the Dingles were actually at home tonight (versus Coventry) so it seemed a bit strange to see so many LEAVING the town, unless they were plastic Blunts fans which seems a weird concept. They certainly weren't Fiddlers, the only other fairly local team playing at home tonight. Anyway, it didn't hold at my bus and after a nice sojourn past Barnsley hospital (where I did some of my growing up!), I was at Barugh Green pronounced 'Bark' Green - thanks to Dad for the local knowledge, he may even have been a regular in this pub in 1982/83 on Thursday lunchtimes!
|Straight off the bus at Barugh Green|
The parallels to my Auckley trip a fortnight ago were uncanny, as parallels so often are! Set back from the road with a car park at the front, check! Proper foodie area but pleasing separate drinkers area acting as a refuge for people like me? Check. 4 young barmaids buzzing around like pretty bees? Check. A group of no nonsense local men at bar chatting and drinking? Check. It was like a higher class version of the World's End film where the second pub is exactly the same as the first! But I exaggerate. A bit. There was a very well behaved dog belonging to the men. Now for a place with "bark" in the title, this was a disappointingly silent mutt, I got chatting to 'lead brunette' (as in 'what you take your dog for a walk with, not Pb') about True North beers which seemed to dominate a pleasing range, they part own the pub and their IPA and Red Rye beers all the way from Sheffield were delicious and strong. Lead brunette had too loud a voice, the whole pub now knew I was a strange visitor being geeky about real ale. Thanks a bunch LB! The locals conversation seemed typical optimistic South Yorks, the highlight being that if any of them had a stroke, it wouldn't be worth trying to save them due to perceived quality of life issues! I was having no such issues sat in the furthest corner, admiring the low beamed ceiling with not a diner in sight. "Blondo 2" (as I imaginatively named her) got my my half a Red Rye but her eye make-up scared me a bit. I'd have to say the trippy music didn't seem to suit the pub, I guess it was supposed to be relaxing, but more in a 20 something's London way than here. But, as I stood at an imaginary bus stop for the bus back to 'town' (which was on time), my conclusion ... I'd recommend this pub to anybody.
|Pint in candlelight at the Crown & Anchor (note pessimistic locals at bar)|
In my latest unscientific survey to try an encapsulate the perfect pub experience, I asked you faithful blog readers "What type of people do you most enjoy going to the pub with?"
The winner, with 11 of the 36 votes cast said "close friends I've known a long time". I don't think that this is a surprising outcome. After all, most people like to go to pubs to switch off, unwind, have a good time, laugh, not have to think too much, and I know from my own Thursday nights in York with same main core of 3 friends I've been going out with for years, it's great not to have to make too much effort!
In second place with 8 votes was "on my own". Now in BRAPA terms, this is ideal because you can analyse a pub better, notice more intricacies of the place and folk around you and perhaps are more likely to get chatting to some stranger, which I always think is quite life affirming. But aside from this, again the solitude that a pub can provide is a key factor here. I sometimes feel more relaxed and free reading a book in a pub 300 miles away than I do in my own sitting room!
The lowest scoring category with only two votes out of 36 was, perhaps a bit surprisingly, "one friend (I don't like groups much!)" Whilst 'one on one' chats are sometimes great, I think pubs are designed for group chatting, just something about the atmosphere they provide which is unique to any other social situation I can think of.
Another very low scoring category (3 votes) was 'family' and I'm not surprised when I think back to trying to enjoy one of Skipton's best pubs, only for my sister to ask "where do you see yourself in 5 years time?" The truthful answer was of course, was in a pub like this, but preferably, not being asked interview style questions!
One final point to note. People would rather sit and drink with a fellow beer/pub connoisseur than have to sit with a 'newbie' and try and educate them on the wonders of pubs and ale. Too much effort perhaps?
I'll be back soon with another survey about some random aspect of pub life and culture.