Monday 16 August 2021


The beginning of August means the beginning of the football season.  Daddy BRAPA and I headed over the Pennines on a drizzly grey morning where Hull City were due to play their opening match in Preston, where happily, I had 5 required GBG ticks.  Knowing what a shambolic (Allam-bollick?) summer it had been, I tried to block out any of the usual pre-season expectations.  The only result I was truly interested in seeing was BRAPA F.C. 6-0 Preston Town & Lostock Hall Casuals.

Preston is probably the town that most inspired BRAPA to become a thing, when back in 2003, my sister attended a Uni Open Day.  I came along for moral support, bringing an Autoroute Map printed off with GBG 2003 pubs plotted on it.  I told her I'd 'leave her to it' and stumbled upon the Black Horse, one of the pubs which made me realise how much I actually loved pubs, staying there most of the afternoon to take advantage of the free jukebox and sampling never-before-seen-ales from this groovy little place called 'Robinsons of Stockport'.  Crafty!   

I told my sister I had a 'good feeling' about Preston, and she spent the next three years here, me visiting on various occasions like a good brother, Autoroute Map in hand, ready to visit any new GBG pubs.  It didn't always go to plan.  When she returned our dodgy stouts in the Old Black Bull , the landlord told her  "typical student, stick to lager luv if you can't handle the flavour!" But usually, the experiences were better.  Stuff like New Brittania, Shawes Arms, Dog & Partridge and Olde Blue Bell.  Classics circa 2005/6.  

Back to the present day then, and at one of those wet godforsaken Lancastrians outposts, the train door goes 'crash' and Thomas George Irvin (Clagmonster to you) unexpectedly hops on, just as I'm on the phone to Mummy BRAPA predicting the inevitable Tigers defeat.

Soon, we are in the town wandering aimlessly, assuming each other know where our first pub is.  In a totally unprovoked attack, Tom suddenly starts bellowing "YORKSHIRE, YORKSHIRE, YORKSHIRE" in the street!  Daddy BRAPA tells him to settle down, and I rather cryptically add 'we are not in Luton now'. 

As we line up to take the first pub photo, Tom hands us both a newly printed 'Allam Out' banner.  A Romanian Unfortunate asks us for any spare change.  Now, I'm not adverse to being asked for spare change by RU's (Romanian Unfortunates) but she'd picked a bad time, and scuttles past the lens, thus also missing out on her BRAPA 5 seconds of fame.  Epic RU fail.

The Plau. Preston (1899 / 3328) was as you might expect, once an old pub called the Plough, so pissed me off before we'd even got inside on what, you must admit, especially for a town like Preston, appears a really pretentious name alteration.  All was forgiven though when the staff greet us with open arms, not literally, but this wasn't just 'good hospitality going through the motions', this was genuine warmth.  Like if you propped your bike outside the pub, and it got nicked (which it would on this street in two seconds), they'd probably apologise and buy you a better one.  That isn't just a summation, it is a BRAPA summation.  Well, the ale is going down well, the pubbub is gentle and Dad reckons he's heard we should be making peace with the Allams.  To which Tom replies 'bollocks' so we decide to carry on hating them for now.  With the gentle thrumming of Angel Olsen (Jesper's daughter?) , all is peaceful until a crash, bang, wallop, and who should enter fresh from their 'Spoons brekkie but Preston legend Matthew 'See the Lizards' Lawrenson, and Alex 'Cooking the Lager' Don't know his surname, making only his second BRAPA appearance.  Well, Tom takes this moment to slide off all svelte-like and go and find his parents, I introduce Dad and Colin the Caul, and all is sweetness n light, ready for pub two. 

It'd be easy to overlook the fantastic lacings considering Col's head massage trauma

Tom Eaves to score two goals?  I was desperate for omens

Well, to make up the magic BRAPA 6 pubs of the day, we needed to do something out of town, so with the rain absolutely bitching down, we made our way to the bus station and it dawned on me I'd never been on a bus out of Preston before which shows what a neglected BRAPA area this is. 

Dad trying to get the local bus knowledge

It was important the lads got to experience a more traditional BRAPA aspect to the day, namely an awkward bus in the pouring rain to some dead & alive hole that no one's ever heard of.  

This was it ...... 

And wasn't it nice to be in a traditional (well, open before 2018!) pub for perhaps the only time today, here at the very soothing Anchor, Lostock Hall (1900 / 3329) a fitting place to bring up the landmark 1900.  The guv'nor was a cracking bloke, a bit of a Faragian countenance, place seemed quite dark, like someone had decided electricity might spoil the atmosphere.  Locals on the way out stopped to ask what we are doing, just at the time you wanna run for the bus, come on lads, pick your moment, bit like the Romanian Unfortunate earlier, their timing was just a bit off.  Chats ranged from Herb Alpert, and his Italian brass band, to the Stockport pub scene, which might sound eclectic, unless you consider the company.  Matthew's turn on the Green Stabilo, which he wielded with much confidence, having cut his teeth in Newcastle under Lyme, Stockport, outer Blackpool, Stoke and even previous Preston trips.  

Back in the town that planted that early BRAPA seed, and it was off to the Orchard, Preston (1901 / 3330) where we reconnected with Tom, plus his parents Chris & Bernie. 

After the introductions, I follow Dad inside the pub (sorry, Craft Beer Bar) nestled into the side of Preston Market.  Trying to get into the craft spirit, I loudly declare that I'd like him to get me a pint of that 'proper filth' cos I thought it was how craft people describe beer in positive terms!  Well, lady across from us looks scandalised, as does the barmaid, both of whom I keep bumping into after that and getting mirthful side eyes off them.  The irony is, when I returned to our prime outdoor table after my wee, turned out I'd obviously misinterpreted the sample jam jars, for it is Dad who's got the proper murk, and is debating whether to take it back, but we all have a sip and convince him that as long as you close your eyes, it is actually a wonderful drop!  The loos actually belong to the market, which is the most interesting aspect of a visit here.  And Preston being Preston, it is a proper market.  You know when you see a bloke in a vintage Newcastle Utd top in shopmobility scooter managing to block off both fish and veggie stalls, you are in a good town.  The bar itself?  Not my cuppa filth.

Luckily Dad apologises for my outburst whilst I take this photo

Which one would you choose?  (Tom isn't an option)

Well, it was time to say farewell to Tom, Chris and Bernie who were heading off to watch Hull City get pummelled, and us other four headed off to our 4th pub.  Right on cue, the heaven's opened for the biggest downpour of the day, making the next pub name rather apt. 

Lager and Daddy, won't have their spirits dampened

Plug & Taps, Preston (1902 / 3331) and this was Colin's favourite pub of the day.  He'd been understandably quiet since his Plau head massage but he decided he wanted to help pull the pints, and just ended up getting in the way!  I got the impression Matthew had pre-warned the pub about my visit, the barman having a look of nervous bewilderment as he pulled the ales though too blurry to fully capture.....  

In fact, my photography was perhaps not at its best in here.  

Oh dear.  Well, we headed upstairs and I soon recovered myself to take one of the fun toilets.

Putting the Pee into PNE 

Nice little place anyway, not dissimilar to last week's Crafty Duck in Hertford but with a bit more depth and soul.  Conversation turned to some of the more colourful #PubMen of recent years.  Messrs Winfield, Couldwell and Bruels.  Now there's a solicitors firm you may or may not fancy using.  The Titanic Cappuccino was drinking superbly, and let us not forget that Pub 1902 means I am finally 'in credit' on the 2021 Good Beer Guide (I'd achieved 1901 pubs last October when the great cross ticking commenced - only taken 10 months to get back to where I was!) 

We then crossed town, where I was now uninhibited enough to take the kind of street images that RetiredMartin makes a living off.   

From an early stage today, even before pub two out in Lostock Hall, I'd had a target in my mind that if the pub ticking went REALLY well, me and Dad COULD be on the  hourly 16:48 back to York, thus avoiding the football throng.  

The pints were going down great, good effort #PubMen, but the one sticking point had been that the Vinyl Tap only opens at 4pm. So we'd have to make that last pub, be in dead on 4pm to make it achievable.  Well,  good news, the Vinyl Tap had opened early.  Bad news,  loads of roads closed meant our next pub was even harder to get to.

It was right in the heart of where Sister BRAPA lived at Uni, and was also the weirdest pub of the day.

Lawro practically camouflaged 

I suppose the Day of the Triffids style frontage should've provided a clue, but when I saw the gorgeous tiled entrance floor, I'm thinking "proper old man's pub, nice and relaxed and traditional?" 

But this was far from the scene that greeted us at Ferret, Preston (1903 / 3332) , errrm someone tell them it is 3pm and not 3am please!  "BOOM BOOM BOOM!" went the music (not literally the Outhere Brothers, so yeah, could've been worse).  DJ up on stage, on the turntables, barmaid, proper glammed up, one minute serving our ales, next on stage with him, then dancing around the empty floor space.  Students back home for the summer anyway, just who was this place appealing to?  Luminous lighting, pass me the glowsticks, pass me the poppers (actually, don't, my arsehole is loose enough as it is after five pints).  We managed to find a bit of a side area with daylight, we can't hear each other talk, but no bad thing, makes drinking up quicker to keep me and Dad on track.  Matthew always expects weirdness from BRAPA, so this won't have been a big deal to him, but poor Cooking Lager, a gentle angel, he doesn't need this.  The Vocation, the best thing to come out of Hebden Bridge since every train line, was drinking very nicely indeed.  We hear Hull City have gone 1-0 down.  No surprise there then!

He's got dem bars, proper dope flow (or something)

Cask for Clubbers

Dad and Cookie, blending in seamlessly

Off for a pee, like Bobby Vee

Bernard has seen enough, and who can blame him?

Well, that was one of those 'did we really just witness that?' moments, but no time to dwell, as we still had work to do if we were to get this 16:48.  

We were actually in Vinyl Tap, Preston (1904 / 3333) at 15:50, so we were well on course and could almost relax!  And if it looks like Matthew has put Cookie in a hole, what is that crazy character in the doorway doing?

One of my favourite pubs of the day, doesn't often happen 6th pub of the day because I don't always have my wits about me, but I was obviously holding up well!  It is bigger than I expect, I'd perhaps been thinking of Bradford's Record Cafe, I thought it'd be a bit poky.  It is more like a proper bare boarded boozer.  Past the vinyl records we go to the bar, and you shouldn't really order based on pump clip, but when you've got Frank Sidebottom staring back at you, it is hard not to order it.  And thankfully, the 'Not Bobbins Bitter' was certainly not bobbins.  Dad got on the J20 #PubMan, and it occurred to me, pub 1904, Hull City founded in 1904, couldn't be a lucky omen, could it?? 

We said farewell to Matthew and Alex, who went to see some of Preston's more traditional pubs in the name of research,  as it was Alex's first time pubbing in Preston.

We caught the 16:48 effortlessly, I even had time to witness an old lady deservedly getting arrested despite the police actually trying not to but she talked herself into it.

Quick check on the scores as we left Preston.  What is this , winning 2-1?  Quick refresh as we get near Blackburn to see if it is full time yet?  What is this, won 4-1?  Wow, well played Vinyl Tap.  I fall asleep and wake up somewhere near Garforth.

A great day out!  Nice to see so many friendly faces.  Give it a few years as Preston is the kind of place that will have 5 more new GBG entrants.  

See you on Wednesday to tell you about three pubs near Dewsbury and Wakefield.

Tek care, Si 


  1. You spent the whole day in Preston and didn't see the football? That won't happen when you come to Luton - not enough pubs!

    1. Probably true if I'd not done Luton of late. But having visited couple years back, probably not enough required GBG pubs to tempt me to the town. Might have to go to Leighton Buzzard or something.

  2. Can't be bothered to read it, but Angel Olsen is a hero of mine, 2nd last gig I saw before Lockdown. NB She's Angel di Maria's cousin.

    1. I had a feelin' she might be your cup of tea, what with whatshername who always plays Manc Punk Fest. Not Jesper then? Or Fred the ferry man?

  3. Had Alex ever been that far north before ?

  4. It was the greatest day of my life.
    Like losing my pub virginity.
    All of as sudden I got it. Like a light turned on in my head. I understood the meaning of pubs.
    Though in truth it could of just been that spoons breakfast muffin digesting too slowly.

  5. So what did the old lady get arrested for?

    1. Being an escaped whitch. The odd one escapes the Pendle area in which they are tolerated as a normal part of life.

    2. Tom may as well be right, it was hard to tell, but it could well have been alcohol related!

  6. Whilst it would be untruthful for me to deny that I chanted Yorkshire in the street, I do protest at the accusation that this was in any way provoked or indeed an attack. I wish to plead not guilty and robustly defend this element of the charges.

    1. I would call Daddy BRAPA as a witness for the prosecution, and have your ban extended for having the gall to plead not guilty, but if he feels my comments are harsh, I will overturn it

    2. The wonderful thing about my defence is that it doesn't involve denying the act, is completely impossible to disprove. Given my previous good character, no jury in the world will convict me.