Never have I felt less motivated for a day's pub ticking in BRAPA's 8.5 year history.
But a mental and physical lethargy had well and truly swept over me when I woke on Saturday 29th July, the last of my four days in Cumbria.
Had those 30K step walks on the Boot-Ravenglass day finally caught up with me? Was I emotionally bereft due to last night's Neighbours finale? Maybe I was in a garlic induced coma as a result of that Kiev (sorry, Kyiv) pizza, garlic bread and cheesy garlic mushrooms?
Whatever the reason, I had to physically drag myself to the railway station and aboard a train, where I hopped off out west at Brampton, a spot so remote, it isn't even that close to the town of Brampton.
It was a shorter walk than expected, only about two miles, I'd been imagining about five. A mizzle descended, and combined with the humidity, a small cloud of flies followed me all the way as I wind my way through the quiet country lanes, barely passing a car, pedestrian or biker. I try to swat the flies away with a big stem of bracken I'd pulled from the side of the road.
These two horse people said hi and we had a ten second chat about the weather, though not quite long enough to ask if I could hop on. Arriving at a pub by horse remains on the BRAPA 'to do' list.
The pub came into view a few minutes later, the standout building in a tiny village.
A reassuringly traditional pub with a fine red carpet, upholstered benching, wooden beams and many rooms was music to my errrm, eyes(?) as I enter the Blacksmiths Arms, Talkin (2322 / 3885) . I'm one of the first customers, in fact I can only see one old bloke reading his newspaper and supping a pint of Hawkshead Bitter. The bench facing the bar seems to be the hardcore drinkers area. An army of ladies from each generation (the oldest of whom has her hair in 1950's rollers, the youngest of whom probably has the Talkin OnlyFans market sewn up, but this is wild speculation on my part). They are limbering up, there is much military planning going on, for the onslaught of lunchtime diners. 'Not sure where all the bookings have come from today!' cries the main lady, possibly an ex sixties Carnaby Street Vivian Westwood fashionista, and I too find myself braced for the arrival of the masses. I've got a second pint by the time this happens, joining the locals (there's four now!) in setting up a tab and shouting to the bar to get table service. 'When in Rome...' is a phrase I use a lot in this pub ticking lark, you really have to adapt your own game to the local customs. Doddering elderly folk who haven't pre-booked are arriving now, putting extra pressure on these poor ladies, but the pub is large, and everyone gets a feed. Time I pushed off, I've more than outstayed my welcome, mainly because the trains to Carlisle are so infrequent. But an enjoyable pub to be in.
|A pub of some quality|
|Award winning bench/carpet combo|
|Not award winning Cauliflower|
|Fake or fortune. Or flop?|
|I do like that green and blue bar top|
|Patiently waiting at the bar in the Coco Mill|
|Rusty chair in the loos, should've probably just drunk my pint in here|
|£7.10, and I couldn't even work out how to hold the glass!|
|Into the Last Zebra, looking for some service|
|Fake Henry Ramsay and a very nice pint of Hawkshead something with a strange name|