Friday 14 August 2015

BRAPA - Colton / Wintersett / North Cave

Encouraging people to steal the glasses?  That's a new one on me! (pub 728)
As if BRAPA wasn't a near impossible undertaking (I invented the rules so can't complain too much), strange opening times in rural areas really are the bane of my mission, though I guess it adds extra excitement to my trips.

I actually made a schoolboy BRAPA error on the Wednesday, totally forgetting this pub closes 3pm until 6pm on weekdays.  After the rigours of Accrington (lazy me) , I wasn't ready in time for the 11:10 bus so got the 13:10 from York station, it was delayed by 10 minutes, the driver hadn't done the route before, still found time to stop at Tesco for a breather, before missing the turning for Colton altogether but a local luckily guided him.  It was an interesting journey through York though, areas I don't know like Acaster Malbis, South Bank, Appleton Roebuck.

728.  Old Sun Inn, Colton

I was expecting some gastropub monstrosity so was delighted to find a very low ceilinged atmospheric two roomer with a real 17th century vibe.  If Oliver Cromwell had walked through a wall, I wouldn't have been massively surprised.  Four semi-friendly local men were at the bar, and the staff were excellent with the blonder barmaid even calling me "sir" as I ordered a fantastic 'Journeyman' from Collinson brewery.  I might demand to be called "sir" in every BRAPA pub.  The ale was much better than any I had in Accrington as I shunned the historic interior for some literal fun in the sun at the front of the pub - I later noticed a huge garden round the back as well.

At 2:45pm, I suddenly realised that the pub closing soon (or 2:30 according to the pub sign) so with my bus not til 4, I went in to ask if I could sit out with a "swift half" as they once allowed me and Dad to do at Stillingfleet's Cross Keys.  I could see no staff.  But then, the nice brunette Eastern European proceeded to lock the front bar so I said "boo!" and made her jump out of her skin, before explaining she'd already answered my question.  With hindsight, I should have pretended to be a 17th century ghost and made her serve me or else I'd haunt her.

With the door bolted behind me (on the outside this time), two young lads on bikes turned up so I delighted in telling them it had just closed.  They asked if I owned the pub, again I wish I'd been quicker and said "yes but we've closed it due to ghostly activity".  I tried to help them find another pub in the locality but they seemed to think everywhere nearby was closed, so I went for a countryside walk towards Copmanthorpe, had my drink & sandwich, and caught the (delayed) 4pm bus back to York.

Ghostly fun in the sun at the Old Sun Inn, Colton
Thursday dawned grey and overcast, a weather type that suits a midweek Wakefield.  Learning lessons from yesterday, I set off earlier today knowing again, today' designated pub also shuts at 3pm.  However, my train was delayed from York (only 6 mins but enough to put pressure on my connection) so I made a late Leeds to Kirkgate instead, and still narrowly missed my bus.  Another one was just around the corner, 15 mins in fact, so no great hardship.

What was a hardship was a deaf bus driver how didn't hear the bell go "ding" when I pressed it, it lit up so I knew and sure I pressed it well in time, maybe he did it on purpose for I was stood up for ages before I eventually asked him - and a three minute walk became a 15 minute one, so I was not in a good mood by the time I reached this celebrated pub!

729.  Anglers Retreat, Wintersett

My mood wasn't helped further as the four locals sat outside stared at me, apparently they've not seen someone in green combat shorts, yellow shoes and punk jacket before.  My look hadn't made any eyelids bat in York, Leeds, Accrington or Blackpool, but this was a real American Werewolf in London experience.  Four further oldies were at the bar with a young lad blocking it and debating whether "Malton is a marmite town", and one of them explained his dodgy shoulder socket in great detail.  The bald landlord I recongised from a CAMRA award picture was a genial chap, and he served me a cracking pint of Acorn Blonde.  I wanted to sit in the main, small, dark bar as it looked atmospheric but the young lad and his Dad blocked my path accidentally at that moment, I didn't want to go back outside, so I went to a large empty side room.  The decor captured the surroundings, pictures of birds of prey, farmers of old, horses and local landscapes, whilst the pub had a lovely old wood burnery smell, relaxing and olde worlde.  Only a radio station spoiled the calm and there was plenty of chatter from the bar and outside, a good atmosphere for a rural pub on a Thursday lunchtime.  I found out there was a Heronary near by, where I assume people go to specialise in Herons.  In keeping with the recent theme, there were some eggs on the bar, not pickled, I thought about taking some but couldn't see how paying for them worked or how I'd get them home unsquashed.  This was obviously a very good pub, but the sad thing is, it really could have been great.

Anglers Retreat - almost a classic, but I would go back!
Amazingly, my bus showed up on time and took me back to Wakefield (though with the journey here and Cloughton Newlands in mind, I pretty much lay down on the road just to make sure).

Wakefield was full of down and outs, which I hadn't noticed on my previous two visits, so I didn't hang around (a new Marston's called the Ruddy Duck didn't look worthy enough), and I was back in York for a late lunch.  Only one more West Yorkshire tick remaining!

Big credit to Mum and Dad for the commitment to BRAPA (see pub 730)
11th hour drama before my planned BRAPA (I mean "walking") trip to North & South Cave with Mum and Dad on the Friday.  I noticed on the always reliable Whatpub website that this pub was now open only at 4pm every day.  Sure, their own website and facebook page said 12 noon, as did most other sites, but none had been updated since 2013.  See what I am up against?  I phoned them 10am but no answer on three occasions.

It was time to think "out of the box" in a Jake Livermore kind of way, so in my slumber, I devised a plan to go to Fox & Coney in South Cave for lunch, do the walk, then do White Hart at 4pm.  It worked (almost perfectly).

Whether you could call Fox & Coney a pre-emptive tick is open to debate.  In my eyes, it is early days having had a re-vamp in early 2015 but the beer quality of mine and Dad's Crystal Jade from Brough (re-badged for the pub as "Coney Ale") left a bit to be desired.  Not bad, just limp.  Mum reported her lemonade was not so great either, and she may do a special lemonade blog to rival BRAPA!  Barmaid was a friendly, young, high-pitched squeaky character, good personality and she deserved her tip.  We ordered soup of the day and bread - very nice but very spicy and thick tomato.  It becomes a bit 'gastro' further back, but the front bar was popular and kept a proper atmosphere.  I even managed to steal some butter sachets for an added bonus.

We were soaked to the skin after one of the hardest 3 mile walks ever

730.  White Hart, North Cave

I was celebrating in the back of the car when I saw the pub was opening as we arrived about 16:15.  I admire any pub that tries to survive on "wet sales" (i.e. drinks) alone, having cut back on not only food but opening hours too.  I got this round in, the landlord (think Dean Windass's sensible uncle) had short term memory loss when it came to ice cubes for Mum's lemonade and revealed they were free of charge(!) which is always a bonus.  The locals had gathered for a drink on the left hand side, and a trip to the toilets revealed two comfy white leather chairs - but whether you'd want to ever sit on them is another question.  Further toilet quirks ensued with a range of SEVEN types of hand lotion/soaps - a new BRAPA record beating Bolnhurst's five.  Dad thought he'd spotted a Corby trouser press on the wall, but it turned out to be an electronic darts scorer.  Our view - if you can't count, you really shouldn't be playing darts.  We saw a sign on the window confirming 4pm was indeed the opening time ever day, which made adverts for "Sunday lunches" a bit confusing.  Beer deserves a mention as the Marston's New World Pale was simply stunning.

So New Adelphi of Hull, it's all down to you now...... one East Yorkshire pub to go!

Soaked to the skin and ready for a BRAPA tick - me & Dad in North Cave
So, three difficult but interesting pubs DONE!  No time to breathe, on to Wolverhampton tomorrow.  See you Sunday / Monday for the report on how it goes as we march on towards the 750 mark. 

Until then, 'good night out there, whoever you are mwahahahaha.'  


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