Welcome to my most pointless post of the year, only read if you are very bored.
18th April, and this is the first time "on this day" since BRAPA records began that I haven't been pub ticking. In fact, a year ago this very minute, I was being terrified in Wokingham, probably in the Crispin wondering if I'd ever feel clean again.
Tonight's substitute is finally having finished 'ticking off' all pubs in previous guides since 2002 which I know I've been to, in the name of real ale. It comes to a modest 1,640 - and though some memories are hazy and I cannot pinpoint certain pubs (a nice one on the outskirts of Leicester with funny Muslims, a Wetherspoons in Wrexham with idiot Charity Collecting babes, a jolly backstreet local in Walsall with local youths with funny accents, something in a field in rural Kent near a bull behind a wood, a couple of drunken Barbican-esque ones in Plymouth etc etc, I've had a decent go at it!)
As it is, I've managed to identify one more that actually is in the current GBG to give my numbers a boost before our "BRAPA Spring Festival" starting Saturday which I'll unleash on you all in due course, betcha can't wait.
But let me take you back, way back, to Tuesday 13th March 2012. I arrived in Cardiff about lunchtime, it was sunny, and I immediately walked quickly towards whatever the new Ninian Park is called because Hull City ticket office had ballsed-up sending me my match ticket and I had to collect it from some shady man in a booth in a woolly coat at the ground. Oh dear!
That task over, I was totally on the wrong side of town for checking into my Travelodge so with that BRAPA-brain whirring 2 years early, I tried to mop up some GBG pubs on the way back. First was a very peculiar thing called Chapter Arts Centre which I've earlier reviewed. But I'd only just got my new iPhone and to show off to Sunderland's finest John Watson, I tried to send him a photo of the bar area which failed and started draining my battery.
Never mind, I edged back east of town where I noticed a few GBG pubs listed under an area of town called Pontcanna. It seemed nice enough. I went to one called Half Way and one called New Conway (the latter currently still in the GBG). I remember being disappointed one had only Brains on, the other lots of Greene King, there was a man decorating outside whistling with a ladder, local radio played, they were a bit foody and the locals were of that "mid afternoon Welsh drinkers" vibe. Think I found both quite boring and merged them together in my mind.
Final pub before check in was due to be the Mochyn Du, which means "annoying Welsh pig" or something similar but before I could reach it, my phone died and not realising it was the battery (very much like Saturday just gone), I just thought life had ended!
I popped into first pub I saw, a rough big imposing thing on a main road crossroads, my plan was to ask for a paperclip or pin to open the SIM Card cover, see if that helped. Well, the staff were very cagey as I sat down with a pint of Guinness and I went to the loo to realise this pub had serious drug user problems. They thought I was an addict! So I went to explain I was from York so I was posher than their regular scum, so they forgave me and gave me a pushpin off the notice board!
It didn't help though, and neither did plugging my phone into the pub wall on the sly. I then walked for an hour (in totally the wrong direction), and trauamtised, eventually got a bus back to the Millenium Stadium where I'd not been far from! The bus driver made me pay in exact change into this bucket, and the whole bus was mad with me for delaying them as it was rush hour, and I was almost in tears!! Waaaah.
I found the Travelodge to check in, but it wasn't mine! I was staying in the Queen St one, and the directions the girl gave me were awful. So I got lost again walking up and down Queen St for ages, before I realised it was hidden down a side street. It was 7:20pm. I phoned home to tell everyone I wasn't dead, but no-one had missed me, I went to loo, plugged my phone in just in case, dumped my bag, jumped in nearest taxi to ground, got in just as ref blew whistle for kick off.
Amazing atmosphere stood with the Gooligans, we won 3-0 against the odds, I somehow found my way back, phone was working again, went for last orders at Goat Major, and drank 3 very quick pints of Brains washed down with a couple of Amoxycillin for an infected leg I'd probably picked up in Blackpool 2 weeks earlier cos where better place to get an infected leg?