Wednesday 11 May 2016

BRAPA - Harley (undiluted South Yorkshireness) / Survey Results

In the driving rain late on Tuesday evening, I stepped off the train at Elsecar to make the two mile walk south to the little village of Harley.  The bus and train connections hadn't been kind, and were such that I decided to do it like this.

Elsecar is a great little place.  Four cracking pubs and a heritage museum, I felt like I was saying hello to all my old friends - Fitzwilliam, Crown, Milton, even the crazy Market one, probably the best.  Imagine if Chorlton (just to pick a place totally at random!) had people who were over 60, it was on a hill, and had real pubs.

Two miles walking isn't much for hardcore pubbers like you and me, but it had all the ingredients of a nightmare-ish route, leaving me reasoning that 900 (20%) had been quite a nice round number to die on.  Heavy rain?  Check!  No pavement?  Check!  Cars going way too fast?  Check!  Flooded roads? Check! No grass verge to step on to?  Check! 

   Elsecar Reservoir, as if I hadn't seen enough water
To be honest, when I joined up with the B-road, a path did appear much to my relief,  my foot (which I don't like to talk about) was hurting for the first time since before my Berkshire 4 dayer).  Ok, so it was no Aldworth-Streatley walk, no Cullingworth-Harecroft, but it was bad enough!

Hurray!  I've made it to Harley
 901.  Horseshoe, Harley

This was without doubt the most South Yorkshirey pub on my BRAPA midweek challenge so far.  It was quiet when I entered and friendly barmaid, Georgia(?) mentioned the weather so I told her I'd walked from Elsecar station.  She looked at me as if to say "people do that all the time you idiot, I am not impressed" - typical blonde!  No, she was good and kept the locals tamed.  The pub was actually quiet at this stage as I sat in an empty room to the left surrounded by horsie type paraphernalia.  It was laid on pretty thick.  Then the first of an influx of Harley locals arrived, an old chap who I'm sure has appeared in every BRAPA Yorkshire pub I've ever been in, he was immediately perplexed as to where his eggs had gone!  Turned out he was talking about real eggs, Georgia couldn't help, they weren't in the cupboard, had someone moved them, he was in trouble with the wife in any case.  Don't look at me, I didn't steal them.  The White Rose Blonde (enjoyed in Conisbrough's Hilltop, and just as much here) was on top form.  A man with paint stained overalls came in and I had flashbacks to the Wokingham Wanker, before another man who'd had a bad day at work stormed in and ordered a "bucketful of Kronenberg".  I wondered if it was that crazy cooking lager chap off Twitter.  He didn't get his wish granted.  Soon, there was about 8 villagers lining the bar, chatting happily and whilst I felt it was a friendly pub, there were times I felt they were closing ranks a bit - even perhaps psyching me out as they discussed bad mobile phone etiquette!  Conversations included Barbara Windsor dying, which turned out to be untrue and someone confidentially whispered that a letter needed posting, strange.  Was this code to "do me in"?  And on my way out, the eggs had reappeared, 3 boxes of them, no idea where they had been.  A happy ending to a happy pub!

You may well think it strange that I then walked the mile to Wentworth (where there are two pubs I need), didn't go in one, but simply got a bus back to Elsecar from outside one of them.  Again, logistics, you'll have to trust me on that one.

Still, Wentworth looked a beautiful village and a man with an element of George Formby on acid called me "bud" so lots to look forward to later this year!

Wentworth in bloom.
Back in Elsecar, even the local train station teenage scumbags were nice enough to move so I could get past, but the bespectacled train conductor wasn't so lucky, getting called a "24 eyed gay bastard" which was a new one on me, but he was silly for stopping to talk to them and the resultant delay (as he decided whether or not to hunt them down) nearly cost me my connection at Barnsley.

Back in Elsecar avoided the teenage scum.
Oh well, all's well that ended well and I was home for 9:15pm, one pub richer!

Survey Results

I recently asked the question on my blog "who is most likely to talk to you in a pub?"

The results were far from illuminating, it was quite a bollocks question I set as (a) I missed out that pub staple,  "the nutter" (thanks to Mudgie for pointing that out) and (b) I realised it depends what kind of pub you are in.

Let me explain.  If you are in a trendy modern style real ale bar in a place like say, Chorlton (just to pick a random example) it's most likely a young hipstery barperson trying to impress you.  However, in your village local or Sam Smith's doss house, you have a much greater likelihood of some old locals, or the nutter, chatting to you.  And in a city centre touristy pub or heritage place, you might encounter a wide-eyed tourist/visitor so drunk on the splendour, they'll start waxing lyrical before you have chance to escape.  And in your local 'Spoons, it might be a couple having a meal who are most likely to chat, asking if they can borrow your menu or the sauces, but beware, they might be swingers looking for a route into you (so to speak).

Anyway, 75% of you thought 'regulars' were most likely to talk to you.  Staff were runners up, the landlord/landlady (62%) a bit more likely than a younger member of staff (50%) to engage you in conversation.  Worryingly, 50% also felt the pub pet was the most likely to 'talk' to you.

Tourists/Visitors and Old People didn't fare too badly either, younger people did, but at the bottom with no votes at all were Families and Couples, the latter surprising to me as I often find them up for a chat on "what I am doing here" usually the nosey wife.  Or perhaps they really are swingers.

Thanks for voting, I'll add it to the PPD (perfect pub database) (which doesn't actually exist outside of my mind).  Next time, we'll look at your favourite drinking times.

See you down south on Saturday, Si


  1. Re the Elsecar insult, I believe it's something to do with "Human Centipede 2 - Yorkshire reboot".

    I know what you mean about Elsecar. I'm glad to hear the Milton and Fitzwilliam are still around,albeit out the GBG. Lovely little town, but I bet you're the only person ever to blog about it.

    There's an interesting piece on the Tandleman blog about polite bar staff. Do you get (only occasionally) the staff who ignore you while you stand there patiently, presumably thinking you'll shout at them if you want a beer.

    1. I read that blog, very good, and yes a common problem. It's not in my nature to shout at staff but the number of times a local has 'got their attention' on my behalf or told me I'll need to ring a bell or push a button, well it happens quite frequently!

  2. Elsecar is possibly the hidden gem of South Yorkshire. Until you find something better of course.

    If it makes you feel any better about getting wet, on said day I didn't take my coat to work on the basis that it looked like brightening up. 5 hours in it. That is my dose of optimism done for a while I suppose.

    I'm with Georgia I'm afraid (not literally - just in agreement). I reckon when the pit was open, many men of Harley would have walked to Elsecar, done a days graft and walked back again. Even now, it wouldn't surprise me if people did it as part of a commute to Shitfield or White Shite land.

    My theory is that egg man planned the episode. His plan was essentially to buy the eggs on the way to the pub in the afternoon, forget the eggs in the pub, then his wife would have to send him back to the pub when she needed them at teatime. I reckon Georgia was in on the plan too. Genii, the pair of them.

    I think I can understand but not necessarily agree with your Wentworth logistics. Three pubs possibly too many on a Tuesday night in South Yorkshire.

    Did the guard have 3 eyes (possibly one stolen from George Boyd) and was simultaneously wearing 6 sets of glasses? That makes more sense than Martin's explanation I think on account that I don't believe he was a centipede.

    I don't think your connection at Barnsley was ever in any danger. Unless there was some other farce in progress and the train started from Barnsley, it would have been stuck behind yours no matter how long the guard spent deciding how much conflict to avoid.

    As you are concerned, I shall state that I voted pet. I didn't take talk to be literal, but more come over and communicate, which a human would do by talking, but a pet would do by doing whatever said pet does. In my experience, a pet will almost always say hello in its own little way. I hope that puts your mind at rest and convinces you that I am sane.

    Dagger for Duncan

    1. I'll never be convinced you are sane Tom but what you say about pub pets makes sense perfectly.

      Hey, we've booked Aylesbury but Ben insists Central London is where he wants to be! If we lose 4-0 in second leg, will be a good day anyway. I like the slow stopper train plan. Sorry, that is off topic.

      Yes, the train in Barnsley I got off to get on the quicker one arrived in L**ds whilst I was waiting for a York one so a pointless change anyway, still, I tried!

      Yes, I'm discovering how time is at a premium on my South Yorks trips, I may have squeezed two in but three no way. And as Wentworth has two, thought may as well do them together.

      Your egg man theory is sound, it fits in with the look of him too, dishonest but a good pubber.

      Yes, Elsecar still my fave but I'll let you know when I finish South Yorks. Tickhill was very nice, Barugh Green and Auckley up there too.

    2. There was an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer was declared insane and had a permanent stamp applied to his hand. As I cannot see such a stamp on my hand, I must surely be sane.

      I am trying desperately to come up with a cunning plan to get to Aylesbury at least without risking the wrath of missing the baptism and family events. I feel there should be charges of BRAPA crapping to those requiring my attendance.

      You are learning with your move of get north as quickly as possible from Elsecar. I would have done the same sort of thing, but might have considered changing at Wakey instead. There is a strong argument for Barnsley though if the fast was hard on the stoppers heals. Good progress.

      Tickhill is a little posh really, as is Bawtry but I like squirrels. Elsecar is much more down to earth for me.

    3. I think I'd have to agree re Elsecar now I think about it.

      Re BRAPA Crapping, I think that is only for people who stop ME from BRAPping.

      I recently gave Krimbo his first official warning (but too scared to tell him that) for failing to grasp that "sociable York friend Beer Festival Si" is a very different Si to "BRAPA Si" who hates beer festivals and people distracting him from the job in hand!

      I also need to relay some of the finer NFFD points to you at some stage, possible before our June fixture chat.

    4. I'd suggest that the compromise would be to find towns with both a beer festival and a number of required pubs and do both. I would suggest required pubs with beer festivals but I'm not sure you get the true vibe of the pub.

      Do feel free to clarify NFFD regulations, I don't want to accidentally fall foul of the code of conduct, and don't plan to do it deliberately either.