Sunday, 1 May 2016

BRAPA - Pub Ticking in Tickhill (and farewell Doncaster)

I have to admit I was not feeling that emotional when I sat in Doncaster Bus Station for the final time (well, until September at least) waiting for the number 22 to Tickhill.

It was a typical scene - a shifty man with an indistinguishable bird of prey tattooed on his neck skulked around.  Some teenage girls giggled over "Penistone".  A man pulled three bags of Walkers French Fries from his rucksack and devoured them all within 5 minutes, with an air of routine monotony.  It was a relief when I arrived in the well-to-do village of Tickhill, with a nice cricket pitch the centrepiece.

Scarbrough in Tickhill, during a rare sunny spell.
888.  Scarbrough Arms, Tickhill

My policy of entering the left hand door of any pub in 2016 might have to change.  Today, it deprived me of the supposed wonderful 'snug' with it's cosy atmosphere and barrel furniture.  I could've even honed my bar billiards 'skills'.  There was no door from one bar to the other, and the fact of taking my pint through the car park in a sleet shower in the weirdest late April ever didn't really appeal.  This was mainly because the lighter more modern room was warm, comfortable, furnished to a very high level.  Plus, an entertaining old man seemed to have just 'discovered' real ale  and proclaimed he was going to drink a half of all of them, as though he'd invented that concept!  He also commented he's been delighted to see real ale on at a recent funeral he attended.  The staff deserve a special mention here, young barman took me through all the ales (the Two Roses White Rose was superb) and the landlord noted he didn't recognise me, always a mistake as I then bored him with BRAPA.  His favourite ale town seemed to be Thorne, randomly, and his friend had just gone to Question Time and tried to ask a question about Pubs which Dimbleby was quick to shout down.  I've never liked him.  The pub smelt a bit like a Spanish Villa which was a pub first for me, and the only other people in the room were a Mum with her 'rocker' son who had a worse bladder than me, and I can tell you, this pub is a contender for heaviest toilet door in the UK.  I'd recommend this pub to anyone.

Inside the Scarbrough, note rocker son and Mum.
Back in Donny, a typical ill-wind was blowing across the market place but what was this, the pub is actually open?  To be fair, I knew it was because they responded to my Twitter question which was nice of them, after several aborted attempts to get here.  Their opening hours might be described by Wargrave Snooker Club as "highly generous".  

Squashed into the market place like a northerner on the tube
889.  Marketplace Alehouse & Deli, Doncaster

A friendly barman greeted me, and with the wintry conditions, I thought a nice Porter from Northumberland was the order of the day.  For a modern place, this had a really good traditional feel to it, it was no Friends of Ham, though the food smells were the nicest ever in a pub probably since I was in Gateshead's Central all those years ago.  A smiley girl and her faceless boyfriend were working their way through some very Deli looking food, a bit namby-pamby for my blood, but I could've murdered a scotch egg or pork pie at this stage but the porter was like a meal in a glass.  These did not look like the kind of couple you'd see in the Little Plough or the Corner Pin.  I once heard you could live in Guinness alone for 3 weeks, probably a month with this one!  To keep up a theme of the night, the toilet door was stuck and a single cubicle like a micro-pub, but what was weird was that the coat hooks were within the toilet room, so it didn't feel right to linger.  Anywho, a welcome addition to the Donny drinking scene and when Hull City play them in the league in two years, this might be my first port of call.  

Think someone's stolen the '&' letter from the sign.
I walked past the always terrible looking Tut n' Shive (even when it was GBG listed) where people were getting excited over some boring European football match, and back in Donny station, I kept a tradition going that dates back to 11pm on 6/5/2005 of getting a chocolate bar from the machine - not because I like being ripped off, but because I firmly believe I'll be murdered if I don't.

A group of pie-eyed local older ladies came along and asked in slurring tones if I could get them a "chunky chit-chat(!)" whilst I was there.  That escalated quickly to a chicken wrap, and then became a request for a "58 year old single man with no ties".  It seemed a fitting post-script to leave Donny on.



  1. Are you sure you haven't been murdered Simon ?

    This is genius, the last para especially. Be nice if some of your other readers could confirm, but I have a feeling they have not a clue who the Friends of Ham are. So be it, they probably like the pictures.

    1. I'm still here, my head still just about attached despite Ipswich photo.

      I assume most people look at the pictures and slim down the words! Donny, you couldn't make it up. Might start calling the people from work my friends of ham when we go for drinks n meaty cheeseboards there.

  2. Hi Si. Good to bump into you in the eagle yesterday. We're all very jealous of your project. Catch you in York sometime.

    1. Cheers Pete, great to meet you too, amazing pub the Eagle, even including 894 others. I'd recommend BRAPA as part of a healthy lifestyle.

  3. The title segment 'farewell Doncaster' had me excited, I thought we had finally got rid of the place from the planet. You are just missing the odd drunk wandering round Donny bus station.

    It is a toss up between Tickhill and Bawtry for best South Yorkshire village in my opinion. They both score highly in different ways.

    I have learnt over the years that Donny station is fairly harmless, just take whatever the locals say, most of it however bizarre, like suggesting you are 58, is meant as a compliment I can assure you. I shall remember the market place for a longer fester in future.