Friday, 13 January 2017

BRAPA - Tuesday in Altofts

On Tuesday night, before my man-flu became full blown woman-flu, when I was still capable of functioning on a pubby level, I made the short train journey to Normanton.

The highlight of the journey were two older men who hopped on at Castleford with their Heron Foods carrier bags, carrying on like a more working class version of the Chuckle Brothers.  Had they said "to me, to you" it wouldn't have surprised anyone in the carriage.  As I knocked a desultory empty can of Carling onto the floor with my left foot, we'd reached our destination.

This had been an 11th hour "eureka" BRAPA moment for me, realising Normanton was little more than a 15 minute stroll from the Altofts pub I needed.  Despite taking two needless wrong turnings, I was soon glancing at a very dark unpromising inn sign by 6pm, but luckily, light was gleaming almost fluorescently from the windows ......

Illuminated, but not the pub sign.
989.  Robin Hood, Altofts

The Robin Hood didn't have the 'feel' of a pub from the outside, with no door on the street, or to the right, so the locals in the window watched in amused fashion as I eventually located the door on the left - the place looked like a WMC.  Nothing like making yourself look like a pub tourist in deepest West Yorkshire on a cold January night is there?  As I tiptoed tentatively past the rabbit warren of rooms to locate the bar, I decided to at least smile and make (pleading) eye contact with the perched selection of scary locals - this was make or break - but luckily, the baldest baldie man said "hi" to me, the whole pub breathed again, relaxed, and the conversation continued normally.  I was served by a kind looking nervy man with bad eczema, and chose a stout from the Tarn 51 brewery.  But what I didn't approve of was a bowl of half eaten peanuts on the bar (peanut allergy sufferer I am) and hoped he'd obeyed the "top half of the glass is the customers, bottom half belongs to barman" rule as I didn't want another Wargrave / Henlow incident.  With over an hour til my train back, I had to nurse this pint and get a re-fill, without feeling I was gonna die.  A few couples started to appear once we reached 7pm, one man told a story about how he was on course for a 147 break in a recent snooker match when he broke down on 32!  The amount of agonising detail in his description had us all wincing, especially the patient woman he was with who can't have been his wife, perhaps an internet date.  "Too much check side on it" or "covering the black spot with the cue ball" were his two favourite reasons/excuses.  It was all too much for me, and I left early so I could walk slowly back to the station where I scared a lame dog.

Getting comfy in my corner for the next hour with GBG and stout.

Nice view of the pub inc the nice man who was first to acknowledge my arrival.
So a good pub but not quite sure it had the wow factor of the Graziers at nearby Stanley which it has presumably ejected from the GBG, not that this doesn't deserve it's place I'd say.  Only 11 left and 2 of them should be done on Tuesday all being well.

I say "all being well" because tomorrow's trip to Berkshire is in doubt due to this horrible flu, bit better than yesterday but whether I can drag myself around in the freezing cold is another matter!  Time for an early night and see how it goes...... light a BRAPA-shaped candle for me please.


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