Ho ho ho! We are approaching that magical time of year where people go to pubs in silly jumpers, act like idiots, stand at the bar, and generally make you crave miserable January pubbing. But it won't stop the well-oiled machine called BRAPA from turning over for one final push in 2016......
I'd aimed for 25, I achieved 30 new GBG pubs and one excellent pre-emptive (Wath Tap) but I did really push myself quite hard all month after the terrible October. So a good outcome and should be back in striking distance of the 1,000 come the New Year (on 957 as I write this).
Some great days were had, enjoyed getting back into the South Yorkshire Tuesday night swing. The Dobcross/Stalybridge day was a great bonus. The quality was high on the Winter Woollen trail. Berkshire was, well, worthwhile, and though I felt ill on Greater Manchester day, enjoyed some of the pubs. Finishing East Yorkshire (again) was a highlight.
The general pub standard of the month was not the most fantastic ever, but I've picked three that I'm sure any proper pubber would enjoy:
1. Gundog, Halifax
2. Swan Inn (Top House), Dobcross
3. Swan, Three Mile Cross
So they go into the mix for "BRAPA Pub of the Year" award.
Of course Christmas parties and nights out can distract me from BRAPA duties so I am determined to be single-minded, well as much as possible without becoming a festive pariah.
And it all starts in style with a weekend double header. An East Berkshire mop-up on Saturday (key pub at Moneyrow Green, four of my remaining ten in this county) and then a North Yorkshire Dales chauffeur day on Sunday (key pubs, two at Aysgarth).
The following week sees me doing BRAPA on Sunday rather than Saturday and I may get myself out Cheshire way again if feeling more adventurous than Greater Manchester! Alphabetically, Cheshire is my first "local" county.
On the 17th, it is my monthly Hull City outing as we make our first trip to West Ham's new Olympic monstrosity. Re pubs, I know Tom has "irons" in the fire so am willing to listen to his proposals before making a final decision as I know he can be a bit over adventurous at times on match days.
Christmas Eve irritatingly falls on a Saturday, and as it is my Mum's birthday, I will be spending the day with Wales' favourite ankle victim rather than jetting around the UK.
New Year's Eve is also a Saturday therefore, a bit annoying too but reckon I can have day out somewhere pre-party but can only imagine what the pubs will be like - or do people stay in and be sensible until about 7 or 8pm? Hmmmm, it's a new world to me, NYE daytime drinking.
Excitingly, on Tuesday nights, I am only two pubs away from completing South Yorkshire so assuming I can do that before Christmas, I am going to "mop up" any North Yorkshire pubs I can do on evenings before focussing on West Yorkshire in the new year. These could include Skipton (may need to be a Friday), Scarborough (bit outlandish but hey ho), Thirsk and West Haddlesey (if I can work out a bus). I think Coxwold may be too much but will look into it just in case.
Happy festive season, keep on pubbing and remember a pub is for life, not just for Christmas.