"It's come back home (from Essex), it's come back home (from Essex), it's come back, BRAPA's come back home (until next week when my new fridge freezer has been delivered and I'm off ticking again)"
Not the catchiest of tunes, but I just thought I'd capture the 'mood of a nation', and alienate all you jealous Scots and Welshies in the process.
Everyone seems to know the score, they've seen it all before. But what was the BRAPA ticking score for June, I hear absolutely no one asking on this late Saturday night, rumbles of thunder and lightning flashing across York. 45 new pubs, plus 3 very useful pre-emptives. Do I like that? Yes Graham, I do.
It was a slow start, with just 16 ticks in the first 25 days, as I gently recovered from May's epic Surrey finale. But then a huge Essex splurge, and I mean splurge in every sense of the word (use your imagination, or don't), saw BRAPA recover to a (un)healthy ticking number.
Sobering up now, like. Wanna see my 'craft' line up for tonight's match?
|Fray Bentos pie and sweetcorn wasn't far behind!|
Essex continues to impress with the sheer quality of GBG regulars, old pubs staying in the Guide with long serving owners is music to my Stabilo.
I've now done 86 Essex pubs, and whilst I'm still not sure I'll complete it before the 2022 Guide comes out as it is hard to get down as regularly as I'd like between now and Sept/Oct, it is greening up surprisingly well:
Essex is now 4th in the BRAPA league table, behind Greater Manchester (120), West Yorkshire (117) and North Yorkshire (113), with Durham also getting close to completion (80) with just a five to do. Cotherstone is currently closed, and if anyone knows if High Hesleden is open, please comment below!
And once I get these two counties fully greened, I'm going to have a stab at Northumberland and Glos & Bristol for the first time, not forgetting my unfinished Cornish and Cumbrian business.
It has been a sociable month too. Daddy BRAPA made his long awaited return to action down in Bridlington on 5th, Simon Dewhurst and Daddy D (not a rapper) made their BRAPA debuts on 12th in Roydon, and I spent two great days with fellow ticker Eddie Fogden whose planning plus knowledge of bus tickets is better than mine. Thanks to all. I would thank Martin Taylor too, but he technically is a July Boy (his new Twitter handle?) and this is a June review so those thanks are being put on ice for now.
|Eddie gets his ticking game on in a tent at the Compasses, Littley Green|
How to pick a pub of the month? Pretty much impossible. I'll just have to mention a few faves. Old Ship Inn, Bridlington crystallised in my mind what a fantastic ale town Brid is becoming. Forest Gate, Epping and Woodbine, Waltham Abbey could be on any list for a pub of the year, I feel Coopersale's Theydon Oak deserves a mention too.
|Incredible locals at the Woodbine|
Blanchard for a prettiest place award perhaps? Cross Keys, Eastgate and Hare & Hounds, Westgate were both excellent.
And then back to Essex, phew. Beer of the month? The Ridley's Rite at Millibar, Andrewsfield not to mention how great the guv'nor himself was.
|"I wanna take you to a Millbar, Millibar, Millibar"|
Donkey & Buskins, Layer-de-la-Haye, much maligned by those I'd spoken to before, deserves a special mention. Colin got given a dog biscuit by a barmaid who took a shine to him for heaven's sake!
Actually, there are far too many to mention, but I'll be doing blogs of course (I might catch up by September!) and it all culminated in the glorious Victoria, Colchester the final pub of June who returned my GBG as the clock ticked towards midnight, a truly top tier pub experience.
Worst pubs? Nothing was dreadful, just the odd gripe here and there. Staff were rubbish in Loughton, the Thwaites Wainwright was poor in Carterway Heads but I don't even blame the pub for that. I got told off THREE times in Littley Green, a real sign of a pub tying itself in unnecessary knots over lockdown and having a bit of a 'you come here to be impressed by our wonderful pub so why try harder' attitude. The Globe at Borough Market had no cask, so charged me £6.60 for a Beavertown Neck Oil! And yet, I loved the vibrancy of the passing trade and sat by the door smiling at everything (scaring customers away?) Oddfellows in Chelmsford may as well not have bothered turning up, Black Buoy in Wivenhoe almost didn't, whilst the Feathers Pocklington and Bricklayers Colchester, were just dullington dull.
So where to next? Well, my trip next week sees me going to a county where I have ZERO GBG ticks can you believe! But I am actually staying in a county I once completed in full. And between those two counties, another one where I have minimal ticks. Confused? I know I am.
I have to back for a much more localish trip with ole' friends on Saturday, and I can't think beyond that, my liver is groaning just thinking about it.
So for now, back to my tinned processed food ("it's like being on one of those "back to the fifties" TV shows with no fridge freezer), and eclectic soft drink collection, and I'll be back all over Twitter like a pissing kitten on Tuesday.
Take care all, Si (and Col)