|Suspect font does club no favours|
I was joined by unique work 'character' Karl Dawson for this pub tick, an enthusiastic chap who had expressed a desire to come on this trip ever since I mentioned it in passing when the 2018 GBG first found it's way into my possession.
Karl lives fairly close to Hartshead, in Batley, but despite being off work this week, he still insisted on getting the train into L**ds, walking up to work, doing an impromptu hour of work from 3-4, then walking down with me, and getting the train to Mirfield. "It's not like I've got owt better to do with my life!" he declared totally deadpan. "Besides, I want the full BRAPA experience!"
Karl only drinks one alcoholic drink. Smirnoff Ice. It's hard to find these days he tells me. Ordering one for him in a club in rural West Yorkshire was going to be a challenge, and had the potential to make me look like a dick in front of serious West Yorkshire club men.
We hopped off the 16:23 train at Mirfield. In the comfort of my York flat, Google Maps said a 38 minute walk. In the deepest darkest reality of West Yorkshire, it was a 53 minute walk. Karl's main hobby is walking. So we walked. And walked. Buses exist, but they aren't very convenient from Mirfield.
About three quarters of an hour of slightly uphill trekking on increasingly isolated slippy Autumn leaves, with Karl stopping for a quick interlude at an astroturfed hockey pitch where some honest Yorkshire girls with proper thighs (not the kind of thighs you get in London) were thrashing their sticks around.
On a summers day (I should really have done this pub when the evenings were light) you'd get some wonderful views from the top, and after a quick bus stop recce for later, we found the club on Prospect Lane's vertical hill.
The entrance was stereotypical Yorkshire club in the middle of nowhere, expectant faces turning to face us, a brief look of disappointment as we were over the age of 60 or people they knew, a full sized snooker table to the right, and a raised stage to the left that looked like it had hosted Phoenix Nights style 'entertainment' for many years. Some things were less stereotypical, it was light, bright, relatively friendly, a lovely circular bar ceiling area very art deco or something. It was cosy and 'pubbier' than many GBG clubs I've visited. It contained that rarest of club creature .... 'WOMEN' who presumably fought for their rights to be admitted here and finally succeeded after a 2015 court injunction. I fought my way past the bar blockers, Karl had scanned the fridges and was not too hopeful on the Smirnoff Ice front. Not surprising really seeing as it isn't 1998. He said "don't worry, just get me a coke". "No Karl, I've psyched myself up for this moment!" and bellowed the request to the horror of the locals. Barman was apologetic, reeled off a long list of WKD's and the like, only for me to tell him "coke only" which seemed to throw everyone totally. I had a Saltaire Blonde cos it was the beer directly in front of me, an underwhelming SBS of B- but decently drinkable. The next half an hour was Karl talking at me about his latest 'building stuff out of wood' projects, his brother borrowing his new sander, as Culture Club was piped out behind me and I heard "Waiting for a Star to Fall" by Boy Meets Girl for the first time since before Smirnoff Ice was popular. One quirk I noticed were Sam Smiths beer mats and Taddy Lager on tap.
|Don't trip over the pumpkins|
|Karl puts brave face on his coke|
|The bar blockers|
It was an eventful walk back. A steamed up car down a country lane with handprints in the back windows was rocking, a startled fox crossed my path, and back at the floodlit astroturf pitch, it was now 'boys football' being watched by 'Terry the Terror', the local paedo. He looked a bit sheepish as I nodded "ow do" and wiped his right hand suspiciously on his trouser leg.
In the midst of all this chaos, it was easy to forget I should be celebrating. I'd completed West Yorkshire 2018 GBG entries, my third time doing this, and my first county done in the new GBG so good psychologically! Although there was no real 'appetite' around finishing WY again, working in Leeds means it's nice easy after work ticks. Too easy NOT to do!
I'll now look at what I can do in North Yorkshire on evenings before starting on South again, though I suspect the real 'value' ticks will be when I get back over the Pennines to Greater Manchester and get places like Eccles, Hyde, Monton and Patricroft ticked off. By which I mean GBG regulars and not the Johnny-come-Latelys. Altrincham can fucking do one.
So plenty to do still, next week could be tricky as I'm going "under the knife" (well, laser!) on Thurs, cannot drink for 48 hours before, but the location of this is Harrogate where I require two pubs so there's a chance I could get them done if I'm not too dead, numb n scarred! And London bonus Fri evening around Camden/Kentish Towns should alleviate the pain further before a return to Bucks on Saturday where I'm doing 3 of my final 7.