Tuesday 29 March 2016

BRAPA - the Wonderful Wombwell of Wass

Purdie refuses to play by the rules at the Wombwell Arms
The third and final part of my Easter extravaganza saw a return to the North Yorkshire countryside, with those trusty companions, Chauffeur Dad and SatNav woman - the latter was a bit burnt out from the demanding schedule and kept saying things like "turn left" when she meant straight on, or "bear right" when she meant "sharp turn right immediately".

Passing Byland Abbey to get to Wass
After what seemed to be an eternity of flooded country roads, we were finally in Wass after 12 noon.

Arriving at the pub on a soggy bank holiday lunchtime.

848.  Wombwell Arms, Wass

Some pub experiences are so bizarre and surreal that when you leave, you wonder if it all really happened.  This was one of those occasions.  All seemed very stereotypical North Yorkshire at first as a trustworthy looking landlord stood at the main bar, done in that old fashioned farmhouse style with nice but standard beers on by Wensleydale, Wold Top and Helmsley.  Foody areas both left and right just about stopped it from feeling like a cosy classic, though had he lit the fire it might have rocketed up to a pub of the year contender.  All was quiet until Purdie the cat (a 12 year old female with "jumping up" issues) wandered in, the most vocal pub cat I have ever met but once she did get onto the table, it was us getting in trouble for not be stricter with her (Dad even got bitten for his troubles - by the cat, not the landlord).  With Biltong snacks available, we realised there was a South African theme at work here, namely in the form of Mrs Wombwell.  The fun had only just begun as a group of posh old duffers came in and irritated us by not knowing basics like the name of the brewery based at South Frodingham.  Tsk.  The final member of their party was a pure joy.  An old man with yellow cords and the politest form of tourette's you could imagine "ooooh, thankyou!  yessss, ohhhh thankyou!"  With both him and Purdie bleating on in unison, five posh youngsters appeared like something from an Enid Blyton novel and started demanding crisps and juice and I think the landlord was as bewildered as us by what was happening to his pub.  Had Aslam the lion arrived with a unicorn, the ghost of David Bowie and a hobgoblin from Wychwood forest, it would not have been uninkeeping with this pub experience.  Once I wrestled Purdie off my "BRAPA survival kit", where she'd made a nest, it was with some relief that we were back outside in the 'normal' world! 

Chilling with the Purdz
"Where's mi bloody pint?"
"Haven't you got anything more hoppy?"
Lovely view of the stony bar.
Purdie builds a nest.
We were soon back on the Thirsk road heading south, where the plan was to turn off for the Old Black Bull in Raskelf.  SHUT PUB ALERT!  Now, I won't be as harsh as on recent blogs about this issue, BUT I have always thought Bank Holiday Monday's would adhere to Sunday opening hours - therefore 12-11, and should have been open.  Having said that, if we are taking it purely on Monday face value, the pub doesn't open til 7pm.  In a further twist, Whatpub (which confirmed the 7pm Monday opening) shows they start serving food on a Monday from 6:30pm!!  How does that work?  I like to wait for my food to cool down a bit, but that is ridiculous.

Nor was there chance for a 'post-emptive' tick of Dawnay Arms, Shipton-by-Beningbrough style.  Also closed.  Never mind, I've heard it's quite rubbish.   We therefore didn't trust slight detour return visits to Huby's Mended Drum or Newton-on-Ouse's Dawnay either.  

It was left to the Fox, on the outskirts of York, to once again prove it is not only currently the best pub in York, but must be a candidate for best pub in the country at present.  

March pub ticking isn't finished yet, but let's just say it hasn't been the luckiest BRAPA month ever.



  1. British Really Aggressive Pubcat Adventure now.

    I like Purdie builds a nest bestest.

    Glad to see you taking SatNav lady to task, she's so slow (Mrs RM uses her, not me, of course).

    Surprised the Raskelf pub on Easter Monday too, remember quite a foody place. The Antic pubs in South London seemed to have minimal food trade too yesterday.

  2. I'm amazed Mudge hasn't commented on the pub cat pictures. Are there any of Bertie to keep him entertained also? I hope Purdie is barred from the pub pet of the year award on charges of attacking BRAPA associates and disrupting BRAPA equipment by sleeping on it. She isn't related to Duchess is she? Age aside, the description matches her to a tee.

    Glad in a way to see Mrs SatNav slip up, I hope it causes her to slip down the person of the year rankings. I think you should get her Irish equivalent in.

    Could a good bank future bank holiday plan be to telephone pubs in advance to enquire about opening? You may even get a special opening in your honour.

    Enjoy the rest of the March hares, April fools are just around the corner. You always said this would be a tricky month.

  3. I hate Mrs Sat Nav because Dad trusts her over my skilled human navigation so I feel I have been usurped.

    I only like ringing pubs in extreme circs. I know it makes sense but if they are open, I feel a bit pretentious like "tra la la, look at me announcing I'm gracing your shitty pub with my lovely presence." I haven't used the words exactly.....yet!

    It'll take a good pub pet to knock Purdie off her title contender perch.

  4. Tom - I insist you are BRAPA person of the year - SatNav lady is a fraud. Sabre for SatNav lady.

    I agree about calling ahead, it's wrong, just like samplers, jam jars and children-friendly menus.

    If you were a lady they would open up the pub especially for you Simon, and the local paper would be there. Something to think about there.

    I think Mudge may have a life outside pubs you know.

  5. Tom is certainly in contention, he had a brilliant 2014, a tricky 2015 but after an honest asppraisal, is back on track with only a few tweaks needed (i.e. learning to drive me to the Anchor in Anchor, Shropshire) and he could clinch it.

    If I was a lady, well I've often thought how different my BRAPA pub trips would be. Maybe when I turn 50, I should change sex for a social pub experiment. Have you noticed ladies loos are easier to find in pubs than mens? Harlots!

  6. I am currently learning to drive and my instructor was pleased with progress today. If you provide the equipment, in the event of me passing out I will be happy to drive from the nearest public transport served car temporarily acquiring place to Anchor. If you are good I will drive back again.

    Martin's thought of pubs behaving differently gives me an idea for an evil but cunning plan. Simply ring the pub pretending to be a lady, they will make all the arrangements then turn up roughly when they think a female is coming.

    Dagger for Duncan.

  7. There's a pub in Cambridge branch (Saxon St) in this year's Guide that has current opening hours of 8pm-11pm Wednesdays (only Wednesdays). It may shut early if not busy (which it isn't). May be no real ale either. No public transport and an hour's walk from Newmarket station.

    Hoping for a pub that in Orkney's only open 4.02 am to 4.07am on Christmas Day next.

  8. I demand that, subsequent to Assem and Ehab sadly leaving us the day before the draw, we get Cambridge (or I suppose Ipswich might do) away in the first round of the League Cup and the game is postponed due to an unusual August frozen pitch so that we can go to Saxon St.