Wednesday, 5 June 2019

BRAPA - Putting the Hurl in Thurlstone - BRAPA Schoolboy Errors.

It was Saturday 1st June, and three pubs in, Father BRAPA and I were able to observe that the quality of pubs was steadily declining.  True, hard for any pub to be a step up from Three Stags' Heads at Wardlow Mires, but at least Crowdecote had been something of a parson's nose of a pub (good in parts) though Chelmorton had done a good impression of a dull Marstons house. 

So it was something of a relief that our fourth pub was a slight step up back along the road to recovery.  The setting was now familiar, a stone old pub in a picturesque setting full of sunny tourists in shades and cyclists from South Yorkshire wanting some snap.

Blending in (for once)

Packhorse Inn, Little Longstone (1635 / 2604) and it was my round (now how did THAT happen?), and it had Thornbridge ales on, but that's no bad thing.  As Dad went to the loo and to do a recce of the pub for seating purposes, a big bloke at my shoulder started shouting "I NEED AN EXTRA SIDE OF FRIES!", as though it was some medical requirement.  Judging by the veritable platter he was devouring, it seemed a crazy request.  The incident scarred me more than I realised at the time, for I woke in a cold sweat on Sunday morning - I'd been dreaming I was being forced to eat 6 lots of KFC fries and about 20 pieces of chicken!  We decided, as at Crowdecote, we were better off sat outside so we climbed up some steps into a busy courtyard full of Twiners.  No real seats so we perched on the side of a pond and counted the fish.  When I returned from the loo, I was surprised to see Dad with his hand in the water.  Now, I know I like smuggling my own snacks into pubs but this was a step beyond even BRAPA!  But no, he told me he was merely pulling out a bit of pond weed.  Phew. A lady told us we could sit down at a proper table as she left, but we simply looked at her like "why would we want to sit at a table full of dirty plates and cutlery you fool?!"  Still, she meant well (probably) and extra staff point for how quickly they cleared away the mess.  You don't get that in yer local 'Spoons.

Dad suspiciously not hungry anymore

...and then there were eight!

Thornbridge in 'easy drinking pale' shocker(!) 

Just a couple of miles away lay the dreaded 'fifth pub of the day' in another lovely setting.  We parked a bit away from the pub and had to walk across a green past some trees to get inside ..... that's about as much as I can remember! 

Mystery Bernard lurking in the doorway

Why is it I always struggle most with the fifth pub?  And yet, I remember declaring whilst we were in there that the Red Lion, Litton (1636 / 2605) was "easily my favourite pub since Wardlow Mires!" so you think I'd be able to tell you why, but I can't.  I suspect in large part it was due to the more relaxing indoor atmosphere, resulting from the lunchtime rush having now subsided.  I've just had a look to see what the Red Lionness lady said about it in between high octane Lancastrian prosecco sips but it doesn't shed much more light on it.  Anyway, you've probably been and if you are one of many Ukrainian readers, it probably compares favourably with any Kiev micro.  Thanks.  

No queuing lads, purple lycra or not

Peace and quiet, at last!

We'd done so well time wise, Dad was happy to squeeze in one more tick on the way back home.  But before that, we had excitement of the petrol tank running perilously low and needing to find a petrol station in this part of the world wasn't an easy task.

Finally, we reached Glossop, the kind of town that is always likely to save the day.  Petrol and cars were only invented in Glossop in 2016, replacing the last horse and carts, and even though 'Too Shy' by Kajagoogoo is still No.1 in the Hit Parade in the town for the 30th year running, Pat Sharp is the town mayor, and Howards Way is the most popular TV programme, you have to commend it as a top place for a refuel.  And that is a BRAPA fact.

The 'far Barnsley' village of Thurlstone seemed a long trek.  And it wasn't even worth it.  A terrible BRAPA schoolboy error meant I hadn't noticed that back on 5th April, this pub was deleted from the Good Beer Guide for its failure to sell cask ale.  Duncan Mackay broke the news to me the next day on Twitter, he sounded disappointed in me like I was a naughty moth who'd got a Fort William U23's McCheckatrade Trophy game cancelled for too much flitting.  And so he should be.  

But being blissfully unaware of this, we stepped up to the Crystal Palace (1637 / 2606) which we noted looked very basic, probably because it was ......

Though looks quite nice from this photo!

Despite Barnsley and surrounding area being one of the friendliest I've encountered in the UK, I always find that belt to the west - Thurlstone, Penistone etc are a bit weird and insular compared with the all embracing Elsecar, Hoyland and the like.  Who can forget the time I tried to tick off my 910th GBG entry, Penistone's Royal British Legion Club.  I showed my CAMRA card, and a red faced man said "we've written to YOUR people about this!", meaning I wasn't welcome due to a falling out with the local CAMRA, before allowing me to stay, "but just for one pint" in one of the scariest BRAPA experiences ever.  Well, this was less upsetting, just a bit drab.  When I asked what beers were on, the gaffer proudly announced "Carling or John's".  You had to admire that in hindsight!  A quirky young lady resting her head on the bar (one of two customers) interjected "you forgot to mention the Guinness!"  So, two pints of 'John's Electric' it was and I reset my expression to "never heard of this real ale shite so I'm not disappointed".  Of course the beer was proper grim, but the pub was a bit barren and lacking in atmosphere, it felt like something about to close down, which would be sad as it had all the hallmarks of a potential no nonsense community classic.  But as one wag commented on my Twitter "Crystal Palace is always a difficult place to go and get a result".

I actually love this toilet door though

Guinness lady and pub potential

'Always Welcome' sign now hidden indoors!
So what a contrasting day, but a good one, and more top Derbyshire progress.  The dream to finish the county by the end of August is still alive, 71 done, only 25 to do!


1 comment:

  1. "Putting the Hurl in Thurlstone"

    Blimey. You have the 'stones' to do an awful pun like that? ;)

    "Blending in (for once)"

    Are you that potted plant in the foreground?

    "into a busy courtyard full of Twiners."


    "Now, I know I like smuggling my own snacks into pubs but this was a step beyond even BRAPA!"

    (slow golf clap)

    "...and then there were eight!"

    Maybe he ate the pond weed he pulled out. :)

    "so you think I'd be able to tell you why, but I can't. "

    Perhaps because the name 'Red Lion' is so unique?

    "No queuing lads, purple lycra or not"


    "Peace and quiet, at last!"

    In all honesty that indeed may have had something to do with you thinking it was nice.

    "you have to commend it as a top place for a refuel. "

    From the look of what you said that's about all it can be commended it for.

    "Of course the beer was proper grim"

    But it has electric in the name. False advertising!

    Oh, and I thought Crystal Palace was in London? ;)

    "71 done, only 25 to do!"

    Easy peasy. :)