Wednesday 21 September 2016

BRAPA - Hoyland Heaven

Saturday had been a great day n all, but it certainly had been lacking something for all the quirkiness, humour and six GBG ticks.  And that something was "a proper pub".  So that was what I was craving this Tuesday evening, and Hoyland delivered.

Elsecar seems as much of a popular South Yorkshire pub base as places like Donny and Sheffield despite the modest size of the town, but it packs a real ale punch.  4 great pubs, Harley and Wentworth are both walkable as I proved earlier this year, Birdwell and Hoyland Common probably are too, and now this, less than a 10 minute walk from the railway station!

The walk was fun as a miserable shopmobility scooter man tried to mow me down, then he played chicken with a yappy dog (and won), he hit the curb and temporarily came to a stand (sit) still, before he raced past me on the other side with a cheeky grin.  I meanwhile observed a house clearance of a recently dead old lady, but she didn't have anything worth taking so I carried on.

Arriving at the Furnace
 907.  Furnace Inn, Hoyland

It was one of those situations where I walked in, the locals gathered at the bar turned round with welcoming smiles on their faces, thinking that being 5:30pm on a Tuesday, it'd definitely be one of their "crew" arriving.  Then, noticing it was a stranger, turned away with a hurt expression, as though I had in some way deceived them / murdered their imagined friend and taken his place.  The landlord was from the 'dying breed' variety, an elderly gent who had a voice which permeated the pub's otherwise gentle hubbub, wore a smart buttoned black and grey cardigan, seemed constantly busy despite the relative calmness, and pulled the ales through with a vigour belying his fragile frame.  I sat in the right hand room, displaying some 'artwork' which was apparently 11th century but looked like it had been drawn by some maniacal local schoolkids.  There was no music, just local chat, one lady started a story about a young lad they'd all been introduced to who was "a friend of Dorothy's" but when I listened more closely, it did appear that he was ACTUALLY a friend of Dorothy, presumably one of the other local old crones!   Had I sat closer to the action, I may have heard more and at one lull in the chatter, I coughed.  The pub turned around expectantly as one, I raised a hand in apology, and everything carried on as it has done for the last 100 years.  I left to friendlier smiles from locals and landlord seemed pleased I'd enjoy my ale.  Lovely place.

About to enter, masquerading as a local.

My pint of Brad's Trad was excellent.  Not sure about The Sun.

View of the locals at the bar.

Terrifying 11th century / schoolkid artwork.
Despite a less than ten minute walk back to the railway station, I saw two people having to pick up dog poo, whilst children who looked like extras from Ripper Street played in the local park.  The train home went pretty smoothly, though locals from Wakefield Kirkgate and Normanton won awards for managing to "out-weird" both Barnsley and Castleford folk.  Someone described Pontefract as though it was some beautiful mythical land.

I'll be back after Saturday for a Tom Irvin birthday special in the North West, whilst next Tuesday sees me do a similarly named South Yorkshire place and that'll be it for September.



  1. "Someone described Pontefract as though it was some beautiful mythical land".

    Oh but it is Simon, it is.

  2. How recently dead was the old lady? Did she die while you were passing and the house clearance was being carried out by aggravated burglars? Was she the friend the locals were expecting to walk into the pub?

    Note that rather than going into Cas Vegas, from the likes of Elsecar you are often quicker changing at Wakey Kirkgate for a following fast.

    I don't disagree with Martin on Ponte Carlo. It is ace. Pontefract cakes are ace.

    1. Ok you've both had your fun, you can stop winding me up about Ponte Carlo now. Thanks.

      Good point re old lady Tom, she'd been dead long enough for someone to leave dried flowers outside her house. Unless it was the murderer. Perhaps she was the customer everyone was waiting for. Dorothy?

      I often change at Barnsley to get a quicker train to L**ds but on this night, I worked out it wouldn't get me a connecting York train any quicker so stuck with it. Just so you know, yes, I am on the ball on occasions.

  3. The shop mobility scooter episode is a real picture of village life.Also a wonderful description of a pub in which time stands still. That feeling when everyone turns to look at you, just because you coughed, and you can't understand why. Oh joy!

    1. Well when he "hit t' curb and battery (nearly) went flat", you can imagine which band I was thinking of.
      I'm never coughing in a pub north of the M25 ever again!