Monday 29 February 2016

BRAPA - February Review / March Preview (2016)

February Review 

Evening all!  A grand total of 32 new pubs were visited in Feb. making for a really productive month, more than doubling my regular monthly target of 15.  It is also just one pub off being the best BRAPA month ever (I did 33 twice, but both were in summer so it's a new winter record at least).

I also visited 3 other new pubs, one was pre-emptive, one post-emptive(!) and one a (quite rubbish) heritage pub but you never know, all three may well be in the GBG sometime before 2042 when I'm due to finish my challenge.

The standard of pub was noticeably better than in January so picking three to go into my reckoning for 'pub of the year' was very difficult but here they are in no particular order:

1.  Major Tom's Social, Harrogate
2.  Dun Cow, Sunderland
3.  Brewery Tap, Ipswich

Plenty more were really good too, the Rifle Volunteer in Burnley, the Hare & Hounds in Hindley, the Eagle and Child in Auckley, the Nag's Head in Sunningdale and the Spotted Cow in Malton, and that's only 5 of them.

A bit of time off work for brilliant trips to Sunderland and Ipswich helped get the numbers up.  Even the boilerman couldn't stop me.  It was nice to start my South Yorkshire evenings and get Berkshire underway, and have a first NFFD (Non-football football day) trip to Greater Manchester.

March Preview

Although March is generally seen as the start of spring, and lighter and milder weather, I'm not expecting to manage quite so many new pubs as in Feb.  Only one day off work you see!

I should be able to crack on with the South Yorkshire midweek trail on (mainly) Tuesday nights throughout the month with villages around Barnsley and Doncaster high on the agenda.

On Saturdays, we start with a trip to some pubs just south of Birmingham centre, that should be a productive day and I'm looking forward to it.  I love West Midlands pubs.  We then have a second trip to Berkshire though April will see the really big "liver busting" trip to this county.  The following Friday sees a trip to Middlesbrough, which will more be about pre-emptives and football than hardcore BRAPping.  And the weekend after that is Easter, one of those annoying times for BRAPA what with people wanting to "do stuff" and silly bank holiday transport fouling things up, but I have two mellow North Yorkshirey ideas sketched in.

So I'm looking at 22 maximum number of pub ticks, which isn't amazing, but April is going to be huge so am happy to take the (relative) 'hit'.  I did 18 last March so if I can manage 19 I'll be happy.

See you all on Wednesday for my latest South Yorks write up plus my (exciting) survey results.

Carry on pubbing ya bastards!  Si


  1. Care to tell us where the rubbish heritage pub was? Obviously being on the National Inventory is no guarantee that a pub will be any good in anything but an architectural sense, but in my experience most of them are.

  2. Hi Mudgie, it was the Margaret Catchpole in Ipswich. Something about Sky Sports banners and flashing fruit machines that really took away from the unspoilt 30's interior, roaring fire and friendly clientele. I couldn't even fault the Doom Bar (much).

  3. An average of 29 per month thus far this year. Taking the estimation of 22 for March, that gives us a monthly average of 25.67 per month. From an anticipated 849 at March end, extrapolation gives us an estimated 128 further pubs up to the end of August, reaching lockdown on 977. Based on a gain of -71 last year from 742, ie a gain of -9.57%, at the same rate you should gain -93 this year, leaving you on 884. With the gains in the last four months of the year, I estimate you are currently on target to hit 987 by year end. Note this is all based on very crude statistics of which I'm sure Emily would be ashamed.

    I note that you are planning to go to Middlesbrough on the Friday. Are you still planning on the Saturday beezer to Danby and whatever micros remain in Middlesbrough (or outside of the box).

    Barring engineering works, Easter weekend is normal service on the railways. In the main it will be Sunday service, which in many more rural places is nowt, so I'd suggest sticking to railway served destinations. Many heritage railways will actually run an enhanced service.

  4. Tom - when you say gains in the last four months of the year, what do you mean ? Pubs deleted from the Guide ?
    Nice to see some good statistical analysis.

    32 was great. I did then look at Alan Winfield's Never Ending Blog where he does 25 in a day with some respect though.

    Why don't you do a Middlebrough day where you talk about the culture (MIMA, Transporter Bridge, Dorman, Chicken Parmo etc)and skip the Riverside. Or you can leave that to me.

  5. Pub gains in the last 4 months of the year are the pubs I expect Simon to attend in the months September 2016 - December 2016 inclusive, new entries or otherwise.

    I have given serious consideration to visiting the Tees Transporter Bridge and will do it one day, possibly even this season. I understand you can go up to the top of one of the towers in a lift nowadays.

    Dagger for Duncan

  6. Tom, may I congratulate you on a great statistical analysis. You do realise that if I achieve 987, I will aim for 13 on New Year's Eve just so you don't say "told you so". I will be interested to see how close you get.

    That Alan Winfield is an amazing chap, I try and block out his Never Ending pubbing otherwise I get depressed. I don't think he has a 27.5 minute rule though. In fact, Dad thinks I should shorten it to about 15 mins if I'm serious about completing BRAPA. I told him nonsense.

    Tom may struggle with a chicken parmo being veggie but it does remind me the Isaac Wilson Wetherspoons used to do them, does it still? Only time I've seen a local delicacy on a Spoons menu.

    1. Sorry for any offence Tom. Not sure there's any actual meat in a parmo, mostly calories.

      I'll check on the Isaac Wilson when I do my Boro trip; it's a highlight of my travels with 2 new pubs and all those Bass bankers in the Sun in Stockton.

      I don't know about Spoons one-offs, but the two Corby Spoons both do haggis that's otherwise unique to Scotland. All 1200 calories of it, with Deuchars to wash it down. Not GBG though.

    2. No offence caused - it isn't as easy as that.

      I'd imagine that the reason the Corby 'Spoons do haggis is that there was a large migrant workforce in the days of steel making in the town. Many of them will still live there, but I'm not sure what they do these days.

      On a point of pedantry, haggis also exists in the chippy opposite Carlisle Citadel railway station. Top chip butties in that place.

      Dagger for Duncan.

    3. That's exactly right Tom. It's a real Little Scotland. I saw an FA Cup tie there recently and team marched out by a bagpiper.

      There's a lot of light industry in the town, and the town got its station back in 2009, so very much alive until the haggis kills them off.

      Will remember your chip butty tip when I do Carlisle.

      Scabbard for Donald.

    4. Spoons certainly do local dishes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Not sure whether I've ever seen them in England. Cornwall, perhaps?

    5. Didn't see "baked tourist" on the menu last week in St Austell/Falmouth Spoons. Guess Middlesboro' is more of a separate place than Kernow !

    6. I think those crazy Corby people make trouser presses these days instead. Does Corby have a railway station or any GBG pubs? I want to go now.

    7. The Corby trouser press is named after its inventor, John Corby, rather than the town. A bit of internet research to check my facts reveals that they are now made in Huddersfield though the originally came from Windsor.

      Corby does have a railway station, though only a couple of trains a day from the north. The bulk of the time, change at Kettering.

    8. Simon - tut tut. If you read my blog you'd know all about Corby (I am world expert). Train yes, GBG no. You can walk to Cottingham which has a pub that won't last to GBG17. The newish Spoons might get in.

  7. Happily we should have a fixture on New Years Eve which may restrict your potential. If you are on something like 984 at the time then I might start making sure you go to the right number of pubs.

    I'd like to see Alan Winfield after pub 25.

    1. I'll be ready for your underhand tactics Tom! I assume Mr Winfield must just have a test tube of ale in each pub.