Wednesday, 27 April 2016

BRAPA - Fenwick, South Yorkshire

Baxter Arms, Fenwick
The first of my thrice yearly attempts to prove I can play golf were about as successful as you can imagine(!) but I think everyone knew that the main aim of the day was to get a visit to a normally impossible to achieve BRAPA pub, courtesy of Dad's chauffeuring skills and Mrs Sat Nav;s inability to distinguish a right turn from a 'third junction' on a roundabout.

After a polite request to drop me at the Shropshire/Powys border was declined, South Yorkshire seemed more within reach and after a strange route through Howden market place and Askern (a town that time forgot), we were waiting for level crossing after level crossing to raise as the mainline trains whizzed to and from Donny.  So frustrating, reminded me of the time when me and Tom took a bus out to Arksey and had much the same problem.

Made it at last.  Hi Joshua!
881.  Baxter Arms, Fenwick

I had a feeling that this most rural of South Yorkshire pubs would prove a classic, and not just because Yorkshire Bank's favourite Donny ale fan Mark Bennett cycles here with his Dad and was raving about it last year.  We were the only customers on a Thursday lunchtime (obviously, you might well add) but the eager young barman seemed pleased to see us, and First Light from York brewery was very much the crack cocaine of 2016 real ales so far.  I drank the first pint in about 10 minutes, the second nearer 15 and the third nearer 25 mins.  I never do this, and I hadn't needed a wee in three pints which is highly significant as a BRAPA bladder record (BBR).  A sign of great quality beer?  Or still dehydrated from Berkshire and a round of golf in the sun?  I'll let you decide.  The inside of the pub was glorious, especially the side room with full size snooker table (take that Wargrave!)  Dad had (somewhat controversially) packed up some beef sandwiches as it turned out, and with the weather so sun-soaked, the equally wondrous pub garden (with goalposts for a very small goalie) was the perfect place to be, only the occasional chug of a train or chilly blast of wind threatening to spoil the Utopian Green Owl-esque vibe.  I even found a bonus bit of malt loaf secreted away for pudding.  A classic pub experience that you don't even have to go to Inkpen or Waltham St Lawrence for.

Beer garden bliss.
The 147 break of real ale pubs.
A great pub to get completed, we headed back home a bit sad we couldn't stop in Howden for their pub revolution - which only kicks off at 5pm on weekdays, so the two pre-emptives are on hold for now.  

I will catch up with my pub blogs eventually, another one due tomorrow night you lucky unfortunates.



  1. It was the hidden Anchor Anchor reference that produced the chortle you just heard.

    Nothing beats 3 pints in an hour when you really shouldn't,does it.

    I enjoyed that place, albeit a half, and the one up the road at Sykehouse years before, but was glad I didn't break down in Askern. Terrifying in Friday night, made Donny seem like Cambridge.

    retiredmartin (using Mrs RM's computer)

    1. I knew you'd appreciate that reference, if I said I was planning on hijacking my parents Powys hols in August, you would probably also know what my aim was - unless it really is the "made up" pub of 2016 GBG!

      I'm such a slow drinker, now idea how I managed it, but York First Light is superb if you get the chance.

      Askern had some open shops that are normally boarded up these days - pet shops, haberdasheries(?), cobblers(?) which sounds like a positive, but here, just hit home how 80's this place is. Scary even on a bright sunny afternoon!

    2. Didn't think you liked York Brewery, must have been their pubs you didn't rate. Full of youngsters.
      Always liked the Ghost, the Guzzler is always on in Embers up there and very dull.

      Askern sounds a lot like Wednesbury put like that.

    3. York Brewery seems to have steadily improved since 2000, especially Ghost Ale which I love. Guzzler on the other hand has dropped in quality, maybe Ember can be blamed in full for this?

  2. Martin, Askern is a lot smaller than Wednesbury. The scarier of the locals live over the level crossing from the shops, mainly in the terraced streets to the left but a few on the opposite side.

    Si, in the event that I pass out I would be happy to find a hire car and take you to Anchor. It will be from the nearest place with both a shack and a car hire place. My chauffeur fee is very unreasonable.

    So who won the golf competition? You have inadvertently given me the idea of a charity thunderstorm golf match. I think the following would be good categories of participant to invite:
    1) marathon running former Countdown contestants
    2) former newsreading retired MPs from backward towns
    3) former Mansfield Town centre forwards
    4) politically incorrect spouses of famous old people

    I think fatty Glennon would still concede regularly in that goal.

    1. It's good to have you back Tom. I asked about you in Cask last Friday and Simon couldn't account for your whereabouts recently.

      Wednesbury is a lot bigger but it's also full of haberdashers, pet shops and impending death.

    2. Took me a while to work out your Golf Thunderstorm invitee list Tom, I was being slow, but got there in the end!

      I'm waiting for self-driving cars to take off (so to speak) so I'd hold your horses on driving lessons for now!

      Poor Fatty Glennon!

  3. Martin, my alibi for last Friday was a was pretending to do work whilst actually sourcing and eventually purchasing a present for a child's birthday party. I even got a smile from a blonde in a toy shop.

    Judging by their success so far, it wouldn't surprise me if an autonomous car literally took off using whatever it had crashed into as a springboard. The computers in them sound to me like they've been programmed to drive like complete arseholes.

    Thinking on it, it wouldn't at all surprise me if Fatty Glennon did his training using that goal. Pub beer garden would certainly make sense.