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.
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|
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