With Westcliff greened off, it was time to hop aboard the train to Southend where, despite thousands of football visits to Roots Hall over the years, I'd not done two of the three 2021 GBG ticks, both of which remained in this edition, having also featured in 2020.
I'd done the giant impressive Last Post, the Bell near the football ground, the fantastic Cork & Cheese in a shopping centre, and a nice modern one with Trout in the name, plus a few others I forget.
Good piece of advice from the bloke in charge at West Road Tap - for the first one, I was best getting off at Southend East. Southend has an east? Well, well, well.
I walked through the mean streets (well Lovelace Avenue for example) and past such delights as Kink Hair, Grumpy's Diner and a pop up Fireworks classic, nearly that time of year of ......
|Stop for a slurp?|
|Enjoying that traffic cone far too much|
I had to turf above lady out of doorway, she'd decided this was the best place to get a phone signal. So how do we rate Mawson's, Southend
then? Awesome, or boresome? Well, neither really. After the increasingly common sight of being required to sign a paper guestbook because the NHS Test Trace seems to be widely distrusted, and one of the runniest sanitisers ever, I impatiently wander forward to the bar just to make sure they know I want serving, before being predictably shown to a seat. This was the 'pubbiest' venue so far today, deep red walls, warmth and sci-fi conversation, hell even the West Ham fans were nerds. I thought they were all Grade A hooligan class. Music by Hall & Oates, yes, for a Micro, this was reassuringly boozery. So what did I have to moan about then? Well, the beer surprisingly. First one had gone off, so he has to come back and remind what's on again. One of the problems with table service. This one tastes like compost, in a slightly health-restoring way, but the fact it is served in a lined glass, yet still filled to the brim (meaning I have well over a pint measure) isn't particularly welcome. The couple behind me have the same scenario, first beer off, have to order another. As he walks past the second time, he glances furtively at me. 'Alright mate, I ain't the beer police!' Frustrating really, cos a quality pint and a bit more interaction could've made this pub of the day.
|Col gets his own little flag, which is a nice touch|
|Retro game table, always sign of a solid pub|
I hopped back on the train to Southend Central, where the next pub was visible from the platform, which makes sense as it had 'Railway' in the name.
A more adventurous BRAPA day would see me impaling myself on railings, then dragging my blood soaked frame over the brick wall, cos always best to get to pubs 'as the crow flies' which is why I'm looking to the advent of jet packs in the coming years, but sadly not soon enough for the likes of Taylor and Mackay to witness the benefit.
So yeah, frustratingly, I had to walk around a few corners to get to this point ......
A couple of people commented that the above pub photo represented the perfect example of a beautiful original pub (bottom green section) spoiled by an unwise tag on (the upper bit). I agree. It would prove an incredibly apt point, as my entire pub experience at the Railway Hotel, Southend could be described as fabulous on one level, dreadful on the other. We'll focus on the fabulous first. The pub interior, very impressive. The colourful, quirky staff and customers were wonderful. Like a cross between an asylum, and my walk-in wardrobe. The quality of the Ghost Ship, superb. But talk about shooting yourself in the foot. I was instructed on arrival to download the App, despite the lack of customers and huge amount of staff doing nowt but chatting. This App was called 'Swifty' and is up there with Wadworth and Ordery for least intuitive Apps to navigate. They all need a good Wetherspoons lesson these Pub App developers! I complained when she brought my drink, but she said Boris rules (not as in 'Boris rules O.K.' , but 'the rules of Boris') and then I totally invalidate my argument by saying "and how do I pay?" when the whole point of the App was I pay there and then. I KNOW that, but this was a reminder this was my demonic 5th pub of the day. Dickhead Si. Oh, and the gorgeous beer was ruined to a large degree by serving me out of a polycarbonate receptacle. Light as a feather. I was later told this is a licensing issue because they are such a live music hub, but surely to goodness in these times where live music is not likely for some time, they have a stash of real glasses they can utilise? Felt like for all the pubs assumed air of boho chic, free lovin' hippy fun, it was one seriously inhibited by some silly rules.
|These folk were great and does it surprise you the stripy one tells me he once had a pet broccoli?|
I now had to walk to Southend Victoria bus station for my final pub of the day, and if there'd been the odd sign of my drunkeness peeping out, it was apparent to me now as I spent ages trying to my north from south, east from west, left from right, and arse from elbow to work out how one would catch a bus in the direction of northerly Leigh-on-Sea.
Luckily, a kindly driver told me I was doing it all wrong and it suddenly became obvious what I should have been doing all along.
I pressed the button just in time for the Progress Road stop, and soon I'm getting lost amongst industrial units, down the wrong side of a fence.
I even took a video of my 'progress' (haha, see what I did there?), which caused five seconds of amusement on Twitter. I'd put it here, but videos never work on Blogger unless you give YouTube a poke in the guts.
My sister is recovering from Covid, so I sent it to her to lift her spirits, and I got this semi-positive feedback .....
|Don't listen to sister BRAPA, probably the Covid talking!|
Leigh-on-Sea Brewery was, for me, a perfect place to end the days ticking. It is not trying to be the Holly Bush or Makeney or the Eagle & Child in Staveley, and once you get your head round that, you'll love it too. The hours I'd looked up said it opens today 1-6 but when I arrived, just gone 5pm, the lovely Ian (who'd been expecting me due to my Twitter posts in this direction) had almost given up on me, and was already to close up and go home because the closing time was actually 5pm! Brilliant of him to not only hang around and be the perfect host, but also to buy my pint for me. Only the 5th time this has happened I think in BRAPA history. I suppose it's kind of his fault I was a bit hazy by this stage, for I'd already had pints of Leigh-on-Sea beers at both the Peterboat and the Mile and a Third. But it is funny what a face-to-face conversation can do, and I suddenly felt a real sobering clarity washing over me as I drank my third L-o-S pint of the day, which I think was the below Boys of England. National Beer Cauliflower Scoring System = yummo. And with the strong winds whipping the autumn leaves about and making metal doors go clunk, there was a wild, atmospheric last orders feel to proceedings. Ian later told me I can take credit for them extending their opening hours on a Saturday, which I think are now til 8 (well, that didn't last long sadly!) All the pubs today had good and bad points, but here was one experience where I could feel truly happy with, and I'd saved the best 'til last.
|Colin makes friends with Ian |
|Top ale, entertaining looking snacks|
My lack of clarity returned as I got majorly confused again trying to catch the bus back to Southend. I annoyed a young chap who just wanted to have his headphones in and not answer my questions. Then I furiously tried to flag down an out of service bus. When I got on a proper lit up one, I slipped on a wet leaf but kept my balance and paid the fare, all in one movement, which sobered me up again!
By the time the train reached London Liverpool St, I was on a quest to get to King's Cross as speedily as possible because you can probably guess what I wanted to achieve before the long train north. Yes, ESB in the Parcel Yard time, woohoo ......
|Colin says ESB is his favourite pint and much nicer than Harvey's|
Train back seemed to go smoothly from what I can remember ......
And I was all nicely tucked up in bed for midnight. Great day, Essex strikes again!
Join me on Sunday evening, where I'll be telling you about the night I went to Selby.
I am genuinely impressed by the way you detailed out everything. It's genuinely going to help me lots. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so clearly.ReplyDelete
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I too am impressed but how Mr BRAPA details out everything. A few more tips on bladder control for seniors would make his blog even better.Delete
Bladder control isn't my strong point either, but I too am impressed in the way I detail out everything!Delete
"Southend has an east? "ReplyDelete
My southend does. My left buttock is east while my right one is west. ;)
"Enjoying that traffic cone far too much"
Ya think? :)
"This was the 'pubbiest' venue so far today, deep red walls, warmth and sci-fi conversation,"
My kind of place!
"One of the problems with table service."
*cough* beer menus (or should that be #beermenus)? :)
"Frustrating really, cos a quality pint and a bit more interaction could've made this pub of the day."
"where the next pub was visible from the platform, which makes sense as it had 'Railway' in the name."
Blimey. That would be visible from space!
"which is why I'm looking to the advent of jet packs in the coming years, but sadly not soon enough for the likes of Taylor and Mackay to witness the benefit."
(judges ponder for a sec, and then...) (slow golf clap)
"It would prove an incredibly apt point, as my entire pub experience at the Railway Hotel, Southend could be described as fabulous on one level, dreadful on the other. "
Well done sir!
"and my walk-in wardrobe."
Agreed. We've seen some of the things you wear. ;)
" Light as a feather. I was later told this is a licensing issue because they are such a live music hub, but surely to goodness in these times where live music is not likely for some time, they have a stash of real glasses they can utilise? "
Sigh. Hiding behind rules.
If I may, I shall ramble for a sec. :)
Don't know about now, but back in the 80's concerts over here in Canada could not sell beer. Reasoning was someone could throw the glass bottle and hurt someone (don't ask why plastic cups weren't a thing back then). In 1981 I find myself in Birmingham in the UK for a Bruce Springsteen concert. They had beer in plastic bottles! Brilliant! Which does go show they could have done the same thing on this side of the pond, but they weaselled out of it by citing some stupid rule.
"These folk were great and does it surprise you the stripy one tells me he once had a pet broccoli?"
He even dresses like you! (LOL)
"and soon I'm getting lost amongst industrial units, down the wrong side of a fence."
Over here we say the wrong side of the tracks for the dodgy bit of town.
"My sister is recovering from Covid, so I sent it to her to lift her spirits, and I got this semi-positive feedback ....."
"Brilliant of him to not only hang around and be the perfect host, but also to buy my pint for me."
Well done him!
"Ian later told me I can take credit for them extending their opening hours on a Saturday,"
You influencer you. :)
"and I'd saved the best 'til last."
Always good to end on a high note.
"When I got on a proper lit up one, I slipped on a wet leaf but kept my balance and paid the fare, all in one movement, which sobered me up again!"
I hear they're considering that for the next summer Olympics. ;)
"Colin says ESB is his favourite pint and much nicer than Harvey's"
Don't let Paul Bailey hear that!
"Join me on Sunday evening,"
Russ your left buttock is not a great start to Sunday morning!Delete
I'd been working at that 'dreadful on one level, great on another line' for two weeks, so delighted you appreciated it even if no one else did, cheers.
Oh yes, I couldn't imagine any gig, music event, festival without beer or cider. Beer in plastic bottles, yeh I have witnessed that once or twice, but generally a Railway Hotel style pint of Polycarbonate is superior in my opinion!
Influencer! Haha, that is my next step!
Harvey's eh? A mystery to me. Had a couple of decent pints of it, but whilst I can understand the fuss around Bass, just don't get it for Harvey's. Must be a North/South/Midlands thing. (Or at least, that is what Colin told me to say!)
As with Bowie, you can see through the fake love for Harvey's, which is more about the "history" of their brewery than the quality of their beer in Guide gastropubs. I could say the same about Landlord and London Pride.Delete
Of course, you haven't really scraped the surface of the Sussexes (?) yet and you may be surprised how good Lewes is. But the best Harvey's Sussex Best came in the dumpy edge-of-town drinkers pubs in Hailsham and Polesworth, if they've survived the next GBG switch to micros.
Does Southend Central still have the cowardly bastards who pose as barrier goons? I don't think I have ever seen much of the town in daylight. Somehow I don't really feel the loss.ReplyDelete
Craig Fagan is a wanker, is a wanker.
No, it was always a night match in winter wasn't it? Rarely seen in daylight, and I can tell you, it feels better at night!Delete
I didn't see the barrier goons. Is Craig Fagan one? Isn't he supposed to be a Hull City legend these days? Can't quite see it myself!
I am ashamed to admit that I have never had the pleasure of Roots Hall, largely because it was always a night match in winter. The one Saturday game, when we lost 3-0 under Taylor my Dad was at work. Refused to go to the Cup game as with Accrington because it involved giving money to Prefab and the teabag. I really do hope that we get to go again soon. Of the redeemable ones (Shrewsbury is gone), it is perhaps the ground I regret most not going to.Delete
I don't see how Craig Fagan can be a Hull City legend. Yes he was a bit of a grafter and I did quite like him despite his somewhat limited footballing ability and I suppose he did have three spells here including his coaching role but in 30 years time when he is a quiz answer, people will surely be guessing Elliot, Windass, Geo and Folan before him. I can't imagine him being cowardly enough to be a Southend barrier goon though, to his credit.
Can any other blog have the variety of comments (and commenters) that BRAPA has ? I doubt it.ReplyDelete
Agree on Southend. The Chalk & Cheese in that dreadful shopping centre was great but got closed. I have NO recollection of the Bell. Was it ever GBG or just a perpetual pre-emptive attempt ?
You're also spot-on about Mawsons and its homebrew (Georges ?)
It WAS quite pubby, and Mrs RM got very pissed here on summat.
Cork n Cheese def my favourite ever Southend pub, it was always my aim for Dad to get us down there as quick as possible for as long a pre-match session as possible! Was always a Friday evening match though. Rumours it'd close last time we were in.Delete
Yeh, we only went to Bell cos it was around the corner of Roots Hall but don't think it ever made it to GBG, isn't even on my spreadsheet. Barmaids had supersonic hearing.
Oh wow, well glad you had a similar experience, had too many beers on as well of course, age old problem!