Oh yes, you've got to love a bit of Carter USM. And if I was to labour the blog title even further, you've also got to love one of my favourite Hull City players, Leon C .......
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, and on yet another unseasonably warm mid-September morning in Essex, I arrived to find a more unconventional, and therefore, slightly more interesting, estuarial resort with lots of boats stuck in the mud not doing much like a random pile of logs in a gastro pub.
A peculiar route led me from station to centre and seafront, passing all these quaint weatherboarded cockle & mussel shops. The day trippers were out in force, heavy old estate cars squeezing down the narrow road. All were full of screaming Mum's shouting at sweaty stressy Dad's that they'd missed yet another potential parking space, whilst three kids squashed in the back are crying and hitting each other on the bonces with plastic spades.
I was looking for a pub called the Mayflower, but saw the other central Good Beer Guide pub first .....
A bit confused at the lack of life emanating from within, I span around on my haunches to find a garden with a 'host'. Turns out the Crooked Billet (1853 / 3070) was the most outdoor only affair since the pubs reopened (this being my 101st tick), even the loos were outdoors. The friendly host gives me the Covid manifesto, and I park myself at a table and complete the obligatory form. I ask what ales are on, only one, Rev James. Oh dear I think, not a beer I really like, though most of my experiences of it have been in Ember Inns on bleak suburban roads on the outskirts of West Midlands towns at 10am. I enjoy this pint of it more than I'd even done in even Cardiff. You have to play the hand your dealt in this BRAPA game, and I'm just contemplating how much mileage I can get out of suspecting a window cleaner of being a burglar with a short ladder, when I notice the lady opposite clock Colin. This is Sarah, who runs a retro shop selling 80's / 90's stuff including soft toys! Her partner Jamie is a poet, and we get chatting. Meanwhile, the broken card machine has been fixed so the staff can charge me now, having previously admitted that he was terrified of everyone running off without paying. Jamie and Sarah are a lovely duo, and Jamie in particular seems happy to pack up his current lifestyle to become a pub ticker, such is his BRAPtastic enthusiasm. He even offers to by me a drink, alas one pint per pub is the rules! Jamie, being a poet, wanted to have blog input so he co-wrote this next bit. "Jamie then produced Sarah's random Bounty bar from a sidepocket, to hearty guffawing from all who witnessed the event". And on that note, it was off to pub number two.
|Colin making new friends|
|Probably not a burglar (though he might've become one in this blog if not for Jamie n Sarah intervention)|
|Equivalent of my view towards the bar|
Much like a real ale loving bear in Halifax, I meandered down the High Street and initially, my heart sank when I saw what I thought was THE pub hatch, crowded with ice cream gobblers. Not a pint of bitter in sight!
|Semi appropriate beer (excuse the pun)|
|The only smiley customers here|
|400th anniversary of Mayflower this year, so a good year to visit this pub!|
Sadly, the other Leigh GBG entry (the Brewery Tap) is 2 or 3 miles north of centre, and every bus I looked at seemed to run east to west rather than north to south, suggesting it'll pair better with a day when I go to Southend and can get a bus that rattles past the northern bit of Leigh-on-Sea. True, I could've walked, but there's easier pickings back down the train line towards London.