Tuesday, 3 January 2017

BRAPA - December 2016 Review / Preview of 2017

December 2016 Review

December is notoriously a tricky month to get a healthy BRAPA quota ticked off, mainly because 'normal' people remember pubs exist, get time off work, and decide it is a good time to "meet" up for drinks in pubs I have been to before.  I also feel more ill in December than any other time of year, so motivation is lower for that reason!  All things considered, I was happy with my return of 23 new pubs and one pre-emptive, beating the 20 I managed in 2015 but well under the impressive 30 I achieved in 2014.

My three favourite experiences were:

1.  Wortley Men's Club, Wortley, South Yorkshire
2.  Mallard, Worksop, Nottinghamshire
3.  Rose & Crown, Sandhurst, Berkshire

The quite bizarre Rose & Crown in Sandhurst.

The highlight was finishing South Yorkshire on New Year's Eve (even if the pub was a bit crummy) and getting a potentially difficult day in Berkshire completed smoothly, meaning I only have six pubs left to aim at here.  An enjoyable Sunday in the Dales with Dad, a Boxing Day boost in North Lincolnshire and an Essex/East London day at West Ham were all good occasions, as was the return of some West Yorkshire ticking on Tuesday evenings.

I start the new year on 980 pub ticks, which means the 1,000 should be back up by the end of Jan.  But where will it be?  Somewhere better than the Delph in Orrell this time I hope.  The BRAPA Strategy Time Machine suggests it will happen on Mon 23rd Jan around 12 noon in Central London.

2017 Preview

Rather than focus on January, I'm looking ahead to the year as a whole with key counties in my mind that I really want to "pummel" in 2017.  Here is a brief rundown......

West Yorkshire - Tuesday evenings see me return to my favourite BRAPA ticking county so far as there are plenty in the 2017 GBG I haven't done before.  I've so far managed Chapel Allerton and Newlay in December, and continue to work my way "out of Leeds" by mileage.

Berkshire - Six pubs to do, to be done over two trips in Jan (Reading area) and Feb (West Berks) where I hope to catch up with Sir Quinno and Tim Thomas respectively for a final (sob!) time.

Buckinghamshire - And from March, I will focus on Bucks starting with an anti-clockwise tour of outer Milton Keynes.  After a South Bucks day in early April, I'll have the first BRAPA beezer of the year at the end of the month, basing myself in Aylesbury where I might be the first person to go on holiday there.  Very much like I did with Reading last year.  Can't wait to get going on Bucks!

Now some might ask if I'm "mopping up" those new Bedfordshire entrants appearing in the 2017 GBG.  The answer is no, after much thought, I've decided I won't look at Bedfordshire again (unless passing through by chance) until I've completed Worcestershire for the first time (gimme a few years!)  I am sure Luton can survive without me until then.

Cheshire - Alphabetically, Cheshire is the first county I'd class as semi-local, meaning I'm going to really get cracking on this (hopefully a monthly trip like Bucks).  My Lymm day (which was my most read blog of 2016) took me to Agden Wharf, so alphabetically, I'm now looking at Alsagar amongst others soon but gaps in my calendar aren't as frequent as I'd like until the summer.

Agden Wharf lit the blue touch paper on Cheshire ticking back in September
North Yorkshire - In a change of strategy in 2016, my never-ending quest to finish this vast sprawling county (impossible even though I live in it!) has become the domain of Si Dad chauffeur days, and I see that continuing in the New Year with the odd exception of ones I can mop up on Tuesday nights or a return to that pesky Saltburn area.  With South and East Yorkshire done until September, could I perhaps finish all Yorkshire before then?  A tantalising prospect (for me).

NFFD (Non-football-football-days) will continue in force with Tom and Dad, partly dependent on where Hull City are playing, but sometimes that is as irrelevant as a Ryan Mason substitute appearance so expect to see the odd trip to the likes of London, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.  As for my summer trip, I'm thinking of breaking with Scottish tradition and flying to Cornwall but if the pasty munchers don't want me, Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley excites me muchly!

See you all soon, Si


  1. No Lancashire? Good look ticking off The Anderton Arms in Preston. I can't get there and I only live a mile away.

    1. A mile is surely walkable. And there are such things as taxis, although obviously Martin Taylor will not admit to their existence ;-)

    2. Technically a mile is walkable, but when they built that area in the 70s, they neglected to put any pavements by the roads.

    3. You'd be amazed how many crazy road walks are required in BRAPA. Risking my life is all part of the fun!

  2. I think you may well find Cheshire a bit disappointing. A lot of characterless modernised pubs with a strong emphasis on dining (see Barn Owl), and the local branches seem to put number and obscurity of beers ahead of either beer or pub quality.

    Incidentally, I thought of you the other day when I was in a pub where there was a very pleasant and friendly barmaid in full black-and-white Goth makeup :o

    1. I was lucky on Barn Owl day that it was nice enough to sit out, otherwise I think I'd have really despised it! Still, am looking fwd to Cheshire in the same way I'm looking forward to Bucks - somewhere I'd never normally go.

      I hope this Goth barmaid was in a BRAPA pub!

  3. You will not be disappointed if you head to the Duchy in the Summer, but in the immortal words of Fred Pontin "book early!!"

  4. From the expanding stats, I predict that you will hit pub 1000 on the 23rd of January at 01:16. You should hit the end of August on 1195, be on 1059 once bookwork is complete then finish the year on 1167.

    We will be playing Luton Town in three or four years, depending on how rapidly they shoot up the league. There will surely be something in Befordshire to whip in on that day.

    I am happy if you want to divert some NFFDs to Cheshire.

    Mr Lawrenson, when walking to the Anderton Arms, walk into the oncoming traffic, which assuming the motorists aren't drunk, French or both will mean walking on the right hand side of the road. Keep close to the edge. If there is a bend, you may find it useful to cross the road to make yourself more visible. That is a paraphrasing of rule 2 from my current favourite book the Highway Code. This should get you to the Anderton Arms.

    Trains operate to Cornwall and may be more economic than one of those glorified flying buses. Just doss out in the guard's van on the down midnight. Avoid Fridays, the summer and times when grockels will be going south.

    Allam Out.

    1. I love these stats, and you are never far wrong. I would take 1167 by the end of the year but I will push myself towards 1200 and hope the GBG is kinder 136 drop but I know this is probably quite likely!

      There's a village called Wingfield I still need which I could combine with Luton's current 2 ticks in case we can get them away in FA Cup Round 4? Unlikely if they are out! Less likely we'll win tomorrow.

      I may make Cheshire my northern Buckinghamshire but it's a useful offer, thanks.

      I knew you'd recommend train travel over air travel, but a flying to BRAPA could be an exciting first to try, especially if it crashes into Altarnun but I somehow survive, remaining unconscious for 26.5 mins whilst spilled beer pours down my throat until I get up and walk to Blisland to get my muscles going again. Just a thought.

  5. Luton are away at Accrington Stanley in the third round. The winners of the tie will be ball number 31. Swansea City or Hull City (I'm predicting 0-0 for tomorrow's strike followed by a defeat on penalties at the place that isn't the Vetch) will be ball number 4. I'm so confident that we won't have a cup tie on the 28th that I am booked in to be measure up to determine how much of a fat bastard I am.

    I should point out that if an aeroplane crashes into a pub the pub is unlikely to make it into the next year's guide. On the point of flying high up in the sky, I wonder if any of the Scottish islands whose only public transport service is an aeroplane have a pub in the guide.