Tuesday 28 February 2017

BRAPA - From Dukinfield to Slaithwaite

If anyone tells you they've visited Dukinfield, or that they even know where it is, then they are lying.  They are probably trying to impress you, but as I walked through the grey drizzly windswept streets of Ashton-under-Lyne on the edgy A627 (my green leather jacket and odd gloves nearly caused me to be the victim of a drive-by shooting), I realised I'd still have to wait 30 minutes for the pub to open.

Solace came in the form of a pie shop, Martins to be precise (and note the lack of apostrophe making it inferior to Paula's, across from the pub, which our very own Martin (Taylor) visited on his trip). The pies weren't labelled at all so I asked the girl which types they were.  "Which one?" she asked, a dim response I thought seeing as EVERY pie looked the same.  I settled on a gorgeous cottage pie, with a crusty layer and cheesy topping, and ate it on a swing in Dukinfield Park, in the rain.

Who says I don't do classy?  This was living and breathing Dukinfield.  The Town Hall was very nice too, and the lovely Lizards chap off Twitter told me a famous racing driver was born here.  Nora Batty or something?!

Dukinfield Park

Pie Bag

A pub
1035.  Angel, Dukinfield

So yes, I felt like Mr Dukinfield by the time the pub doors swung open at 12 noon and 54 seconds, though one barmaid immediately legged it across the road to Paula's, but the other one assured me pub was open and I was drinking this £2.55 pint of a beer from another made-up place (Mobberley or somewhere) and very good it was too!  I took it to the raised area of this fantastic lounge bar to the right - there was a chilly looking pool room to the left, and again, I was using Martin's blog to give me pointers throughout my 30 mins here.  Red is a nice warming colour, good for pubs, but this was red in the extreme - the reddest pub I've been in since that Salopian Bar in Shrewsbury.  I got the impression it wasn't an out and out ale pub though as adverts for Smirnoff, 2 for 1 shots, and Guinness 'bunting' were hanging everywhere.  I had to suffer a large screen with Keith Andrews trying to be a football pundit as the White Shite took on another horrific club in the kind of fixture that actually really wants me to see Hull City get an automatic 'bye' into League One.  But I loved being the only customer, and this was a real sturdy street corner local which you can't ever imagine not standing here.    The two barmaids munched Paula's baps in the corner, all was well. Oh yes, and weren't the toilets noisy?  Loudest extractor fan ever.

I walked back into Ashton-under-Lyne where, like almost every Greater Manchester place I visited in 2015/16, had a new pub for me to tick off, so I went .... obviously.

Oh baby, baby, it's a Witchwood (as Jimmy Cliff nearly sang)
1036.  Witchwood, Ashton-under-Lyne

It was immediate from the outset that this was also a self proclaimed "concert venue", or gig dive if you are being more truthful.   I have to admit, I never find pubs doubling as music venues to be the best (Alma, Bolton and Purple Turtle, Reading are two examples) but this was better than both,  though a bit rough and ready.  A blonde skinny girl with her tummy out called Sarah - stock phrase "Fooookin' Dick'ead" - turned round to smile at all new arrivals, before swiftly turning away in disappointment, and she was giving relationship advice to a man in a tracksuit with an impressive chin.  I ordered a Draught Bass as a 'thanks' to Martin for guiding me through the Dukinfield process, but found it a bit limp which may have been quality rather than the ale itself, I never have any luck with it!  Zouch was one example, when a dog tried to drown itself in the canal.  I was served by a barmaid with obligatory tattoo sleeve and nose piercings.  Me and a few old blokes watched "Come Dine with Me" and it caused much hilarity and heckling, like we were watching a sports event!  Sadly, they left just as I was bonding with them.  An old couple replaced them.  The old dear sat down, she had no teeth but necked a pint of Thornbridge Jaipur (5.9%) in a way that put me to shame.  And if that didn't sum up this pub, I don't know what did. 

Come Dine with Me fans enjoying life

Draught Bass and background relationship counselling.
The rain was now teeming down on Tameside as I ventured tram-wards towards Droylsden, a place I've always wanted to go to.  This is mainly because I've seen their football team play away from home three times with performances ranging from "workmanlike" to "stodgy" to "inept".

The one recurring factor of the Bloods(?  Or is that Saffron Walden Town?) performances is that they never make playing football look easy, effortles or pleasurable.  

Despite the weather, something strange happened.  People started smiling at me!  Ahhh, this must be the friendly part of the region.   And after some needless faffing around near a shopping precinct, I found the pub on the main road .....

Pub time, what can possibly go wrong? 
1037.  Bee Hive, Droylsden

Evident straight away that I was not only in a local's pub, but a bit of a classic.  Beautiful little place, wood panelling ,warm - though I had to bite my tongue when an old dear saw the state of me and remarked "oooh, 'as it started raining?!"  "It's safe to say it has!" was my restrained reply.  Sarcasm may've not worked.  I dried off and went straight to the loo where I got into conversation with a Scotch bloke who told me not to complain about the weather because he lives in a place called Wishaw and it's far worse up there!  I hadn't even said a word to him at this point, but he seemed like a good fellow.  Time to settle down then but immediately noticed my ale tasted off.  Sour, chemically, not traditionally sulphur "off", it didn't even look terrible.  I hate taking pints back, but had no qualms in this instance.  As I waited for the barmaid to reappear, a local lager drinker helped appraise it - but he wasn't sure not being an ale drinker.  But the barmaid's attitude (a redoubtable old looking lady who seemed to have been there a long time) was simply that another bloke had just drunk 2 pints of it and not complained i.e. it must be me!  She didn't taste or smell it herself.  It smelt of wee!  I nearly did an Alan Partridge-esque "SMELL MY BEER!" It was the only ale on, but before I could consider going onto the keg Boddies, she'd already pulled me another.  Initially, I thought it seemed improved but as time went on, it got worse and worse.  Of course, I felt too awkward by now to take it back again, so eventually left the last third or so!  It's rare in my BRAPA challenge to have a bad pint but it can happen to the best of pubs, it's more the manner of how it is dealt with.  In fact, when it happened in Armthorpe a year ago, the staff actually turned it into a positive experience by being so good about it!  And it 'soured' what would've been a really good pub experience.  I did later have a DM chat on Twitter with a (younger) member of staff about the incident, which made me feel better about things.  I even got a Droylsden pre-emtpive recommendation out of it so good on 'em!  Every cloud.....

Nice pub.....

....lovely pub .....

....bad pint! 
I couldn't end on a bad note, and my train was going through Slaithwaite - one of three remaining West Yorkshire ticks.  It was still only 4pm so I decided to fit it in.  

What I hadn't accounted for, "Transpennine Scum!"  Ugh, awful bunch, and something about men and women in their 50's and 60's acting like 20 year old tossers that really depresses me.  I thought people had stopped doing this ale trail 5 years ago, especially on a wet wintry day like this.  

I got quite lucky really, a load got off in Marsden, and the ones who joined me at Slaithwaite ALL went down into the town, instead of up and around this cobbled bank like me.  I even did a little celebratory jig in the rain, I was THAT pleased to see not one following me to this pub!

And yet, something in my mind was telling me THIS was the mystery pub I did at the end of my inaugural Transpennine crawl  11th July 2009.  I'd got VERY drunk that day but had been sobered up in Marsden and this, the last pub, I remember the steepish walk and the low loungey area, lots of Mum's with twilds and disco equipment by the bar - and it WAS the same pub! 

The Swan Inn, Crimble Bank
1038.  Swan Inn, Slaithwaite

But as I said in my piece on Hebden Bridge yesterday, you shouldn't stereotype folk, it'll only come back to haunt you.  And so it was, my heart did sink when I saw six Transpennine blokes making a massive meal of ordering their pints - one was complaining he wanted a Farmers Blonde and not a Bingley Something (not it's real name) and cos he'd had a sip, she wasn't allowed to change it!  So I just elbowed in amongst them and got served by the two jolly barmaids.  The group went to sit at the far end, and were good as gold, but I didn't expect it at the time, so sat at the near end, near two locals - the capped John Torode and evil Gregg Wallace of Slaithwaite, only more objectionable.  I can deal with bad language (even though I don't condone it), but these two absolute fuckers were on the "Wokingham Paint Stained Overalls" level of people who make your skin crawl.  I can't do it justice, one theme was their obsession with wide arsed women, getting a series of women staff along to surreptitiously compare them like something in a cattle market.  The staff laughed along with them, but you could tell no-one liked them.  They even tried to start an argument with someone in the busier right hand bar, because they didn't like his brother.  Still, I wasn't taking my pint for granted and enjoyed it immensely. and this'd be a cracking pub in the right circumstances.   

Capped Torode about to disturb the peace

View of the lovely bar

Pint and a BRAPA card

A weird drunken bookcase

Back to York before I did any more damage, after all, the MAIN event was still to come on Sunday in what was a weekend festival of pub-ticking, and a good time to do it as my flat doesn't feel like my own until I get a shower put in! 

Cheers, Si

Monday 27 February 2017

BRAPA - The Return of Hebden Bridge

When the first green haired, pagan, vegan, lesbian settlers came to Hebden Bridge in the year 1510, bringing with them a hippie culture, the ability to open shops selling crystals and incense for ridiculous sums of money, before retiring to run a cattery, with a bit of paranormal investigation on the side, who'd have thought that in the year 2017, they would be more "relevant" than ever?

Not that I'm stereotyping the good folk of Hebden Bridge, it is a lovely place and am always pleased to see a new GBG pub to visit, which invariably happens every edition.  But not too lovely as to be twee, the kids in the park try their best to be threatening along the old canal, and there were signs that people from Coatbridge and Airdrie were holidaying here .....

So I'd probably say that the micropub fits in with Hebden culture, and this one was an absolute cracker despite a shaky start .....

1034.  Calan's Micropub, Hebden Bridge

Friday evening isn't the best time to enter a micropub (or any pub for that matter) and I was wedged in the entrance door for 5 minutes behind a hairy rugged man (seen above striding purposefully into the pub).  He was the most 'real' customer, the wait was for 5 middle aged women making a song and dance over, you've guessed it, a Prosecco order, but mercifully, they read my mind and pissed off into the cold courtyard.  A man covered in dust and soot came in behind me to swell the numbers of 'proper pub goers' to a massive three, he joked if he could order "4 quarters" of ale - I didn't get it, because I thought this is EXACTLY the kind of thing a place like this'd do!  After all, you see three thirds often enough.    Just as I got served, a seat became available and with Messrs Hairball and Sooty happier to block the floor space than sit down, I darted into it.  I was opposite a watchful middle aged couple, the hubbie had a broken foot and it was up on a chair, stopping me from getting a good look at, or photo, or the impressive GBG selection that dated back to 1978.  To my left, a couple with a bored dog kept nervously glancing over - all I could do was admire the pump clips and wall decor, it was a bit cheek to jowl but there was a great warmth to the hubbub, and to enjoy a Friday evening here was testament to what a good little pub this is.   I also managed to nick THREE beermats for my collection, no need for emergency ones here!

Mr Hairball (nice chap) inspects his pint and I try and avoid eye contact with all

An impressive selection of GBG's (the missing ones are nothing to do with my thieving mitts!)
My train App decided I should change at Dewsbury instead of Leeds for a change so I spent a quick 15 mins in the always wonderful and impossible to leave West Riding Refreshment Rooms, home of the worst Pub Periscope Podcast in living memory, but I don't want to remind you all of that!

It was back home quite early as I had a "bonus" Saturday trip to fit in before Sunday's main event in North Yorkshire.  Oh, and only one week til I can have a shower again!


Thursday 23 February 2017

BRAPA - Kirkheaton / Si's Bathroom Nightmares

You couldn't blame me for missing the bus stop in Kirkheaton.  I'd had a crazy day, firstly winning the "Yorkshire Bank BRAPA Employee of the Month" award, then my bathroom people confessed I had no toilet to wee in for 2 days, then my dentist told me I needed some mysterious treatment I wasn't aware of.  Yes, I needed a pint after that day.

Had I stayed on the bus, it actually would've gone round in a circle and stopped outside the pub a few minutes later anyway, but how can a visitor be expected to know how crazy made-up West Yorkshire villages like Kirkheaton (Kirkstall + Cleckheaton) work?

1033.  Yeaton Cask, Kirkheaton

The pub had that kind of wooden flooring that goes "clomp clomp clomp" when you enter, so all the bar perchers were aware of an interloper in their midst.  Luckily, the landlady was an ultra friendly woman, telling me there was a blackboard to view all six beers but I told her I needed to see the pumps to make an informed choice!  She then apologised for not turning the pub lights on, as I squinted to count my change in the dark.  I liked many things about the pub, most notably the wood-burner keeping my good recent run of "seat in front of the fire" going.  I had to pirouette awkwardly on my seat, so I was facing both fire and pub - so as to appear more sociable.  Some tropical fish swam happily above my head, and the toilet doors were Wild West saloon swing style which I've not seen since Bingley 2013.  I thought about stocking up the wood burner myself but the landlady didn't want customers doing it in case they burn themselves and sue the pub!  A dog made some of the weirdest wimpering dog noises in BRAPA history.  And then a little capped lesbian vaper lady became the honourary "fire bum warmer" of the evening, there's always one.  She reminded me of a customer me and Dad used to see in a pub in Irthlingborough with bullet holes in the windows which sold Websters, we named her "female Ryan Williams" after a terrible Hull City winger of the time.  I reflected that given a bit of carpet and bench seating over posing tables, you could be looking at a classic here, I still enjoyed it a lot - this it's first year in the GBG, fully deserved.  The landlady wished a group "good luck" and I realised they could only be Huddersfield fans off to a match.  Another short haired woman came in (very much the Ruth Davidson of West Yorkshire), scowled at me, and stood at the bar eating complimentary bar snacks in an angry European manner.  It was time to go.

The bus did more weird circular tours of Kirkheaton before zooming back to Huddersfield (the driver was a total nutcase) and with a bit of time to kill before the next train to York, I popped in the wonderful King's Head for a swift half, totally forgetting 'Town were at home to this team called Reading.  I was wearing blue n white so everyone was very friendly, and a lone anorak Reading fan let me share his table, muttered something southern and inaudible and let me read his paper, which was nice!

A man aims for 'BRAPA poser of the year award' as Town fans sup up.

Bathroom Woes

It is day 4 of my bathroom fitting and peeing in a bucket and then rinsing it in the same kitchen sink I have to wash in really has been quite an experience, and one that makes me seriously consider my earlier question, what pubs have showers/bath facilities?  

The good folk of twitter have alerted me to three.
1.  A truckers pub off a motorway near Rotherham selling one ale.
2.  A pub somewhere near Swansea
3.  A bar in Glasgow (possibly Duncan's house) has half a bath and serves cheap Tenants and Frosty Jacks.
Tom also says any GBG pub with the bed symbol should count, a good point but I mean ones that anyone can use regardless of staying overnight.  

Keep 'em coming!  

Day one - shower and sink are no more!

Day two, my leaky cistern.

Day three - the "hallway takeover". 

Day 4 - hooray, I have a toilet!
So that was fun for you all.  I'm off to meet my friends at York's incredible Three Cranes in the York Pub Champions League Group E soon so gotta dash, I have a 'bonus' tick tomorrow night and I'm splitting my weekend pub ticking into two mini-days of three pubs each, mainly due to Saltburn's stupid club opening times.


Monday 20 February 2017

BRAPA - More from the Moors

Saturday morning and for once, Mr Sat Nav wasn't the main source of our frustration as we journeyed north through the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors, past Malton and Pickering - today it was "Mr Windscreen Washer" who kept beeping every 5 minutes to remind Dad his levels were low.

The mist and fog swirled around once we arrived on the top, surrounded by grouse and heather, you could just imagine Basil Rathbone being chased by a devil dog with the face of Tom Irvin.

Back on the other side by the busy coast (it was half term week, spit!), it was all sunshine again so as we arrived at our first pub, which was admirably open at 11am despite the old Inn sign and front door looking unpromising.

1030.  Brown Cow, Hinderwell

We walked in through a very narrow corridor, the landlord (a sturdy steady stoic man in green) breathed in to let us past, and served us a great Farmers Blonde (I should've got it in Ackworth the night before) with Cameron's Strongarm the other ale on offer.  What also excited me was a Carling Premier font, not sure I've seen that since I accidentally spilt a skinhead's pint in Cardiff circa 1998 and had to run to another room!  This was a lot more serene, and it was one of those "almost someone's front room pubs", but with bird themed curtains, darts trophies galore, walking maps of the local area and the voice of Myleene Klass reverberating around the building (sadly, only on Smooth radio and not there in person) and classic 80's hits played.  We sat in the sun at the far end, I think we were the only customers, a great pub.

Dad basks in sunshine fun

My view of the bar

The Smooth radio screen
We then drove into the middle of nowhere back on the Moors, located our pub, but a fleet of cars were parking up and a big group were lurking the car park, so we parked down the road and Dad suspected Ugthorpe was a very odd place.  

1031.  Black Bull Inn, Ugthorpe

Back in the car park, Dad asked the friendliest looking chap in the group if we were waiting for the pub to open.  "I am open" was the quick reply, and he walked us inside, explaining these people were waiting for some kind of photo opportunity (and as a consequence, my BRAPA outdoor photo had to wait til we'd left the pub).  He was a very personal bald slimline young chap, explaining there's no point having more than 2 ales on in a pub like this - we agreed and had the "guest ale from Stockport", explained to us in a way which made Stockport sound continental and mysterious.  In truth, it was a guest Robinsons ale with lemon in it.  With the photo opportunity complete, the big group came inside for a hearty feed, plenty of beer bellies and beards flying about so the young girl who looked like Willow from Neighbours seemed a bit out of place.  Their shirts said "Audis and Dubs" and sure enough, loads of glittering Audis were parked outside.  Good job I find cars interminably dull.  Our genial host seemed to have the job of "entertaining them" aswell as running the pub, turned out his father and his father's father had the pub before.  He was definitely the right man for the occasion and he was definitely impressed by BRAPA, probably.

Dad ticks off one of he trickiest remaining Yorkshire pubs

My pint and the bar, pre-Audi gang

Which artist did this view remind me of (clue, this is the most highbrow BRAPA q ever)

On the way out, finally got my pic!
We took the short drive on to the incredibly scenic village of Egton Bridge and found a free carpark and walked over the "historic" (rebuilt 1989) actual Egton Bridge. The drive made me realise how much I nearly killed myself that BRAPA day of yore when I walked Beck Hole-Grosmont-Egton-Lealholm - a killer!

1032.  Horseshoe Hotel, Egton Bridge

We walked in through a rabbit warren of corridors and side rooms (this was our third residential pub of the day) and a huge group of feeding women were laughing like chimpanzees.  We got served this incredibly chocolatey pint of Great Newsome ale (better than any in 'Ull) and Dad told me a 'lazy wind' is a wind that goes right through you, because it is too lazy to go around you - it's a Hull thing so don't worry if you don't understand, just be thankful.  No sooner had we sat in a corner when a crazy, outgoing chap commented on my obviously amazing drinking trousers - though his older female friend (his Mum?) was less than impressed.  He'd love a pair the same but was worried his friends would take the mickey, they already judge his parking by giving him marks out of 10 (his highest score is 5, even when he parked perfectly and he seemed mentally scarred).  On the plus side, he had once dressed as a dog to raise money for charity, so claimed he knew what it'd take to wear such trousers.  Hmmm.  After practising barking, he left, no wonder Dad thought he was a bit weird, perhaps just a bit 'flamboyant'.  After that, Dad tried to send a picture on his new smartphone, which took what seemed like an eternity and didn't work.  I admired huge fish that locals had caught in the River Esk and hung on the wall in years gone by.

The visiting "Biker Mice from Mars" arrive for a drink

One of many giant fish
On the way back to the car, we cleansed our souls with a trip to the amazingly huge but also amazing village church.

Dad hiding behind some flowers and the crotch of Jesus
I was staying in Naburn for tea so the usual Fox post-pub trip couldn't happen.

Now I'm not saying we went to either/and/or the New Inn at Cliffe & Wadkin Arms at Osgodby, but if we had've done, we may have been offered/seen/taken advantage of free buffets at each.  Okay, so the New Inn might've been packed with footballers from Cliffe and/or Barton Town, the pasties may have been 90% pastry, 10% filling, and the brilliant Wadkin landlord might've heard what beer I was ordering from two miles away, moved us from 2 reserved seats, taken pity on us, and offered us free sandwiches and bhajis whilst Wolves messed up their chance of cup glory.

But all is hypothetical cos it probably didn't happen ...... but here's how it might've looked....

Three more off the list!  Only 6 left in North Yorkshire, and 5 in West Yorkshire to do.  The "completion by end of March" dream is still alive, and I'll be back in some fictional outer Huddersfield village tomorrow, which hopefully has better transport links than Emley.

Good bye, I'm off to see Sutton Utd set up a quarter final defeat against Lincoln City.


Sunday 19 February 2017

BRAPA - Ackworth & Hemsworth Fun Friday

Friday night fun in Ackworth
You know the weekend is finally here when you land in Fitzwilliam station, only to be told by Google Maps (which loves a joke at my expense) that you are to walk 1.8 miles along muddy waterlogged dirt tracks through sinister looking woodland to get yourself to pub number one .....

Despite ruining a perfectly good pair of retro Hummel trainers, I was soon back in civilisation (if you can call the area between Wakefield and Pontefract "civilisation") and after walking along a winding road called Bell Lane, I found the pub .... and it was still just about light, suggesting spring is on the way.

1028.  Masons Arms, Ackworth

An impressive roaring fire on the left as I walked in, wall to wall with grinning raucous locals absolutely loving their Friday night drinks, sausage rolls on the bar, a friendly barmaid asking genuinely "how are you?" and calling everyone "luv", some pubs are just fantastic from the moment you enter.  Shame I chose an Exmoor beer ahead of the local(ish) Bradfield ones, but that was my only mistake as I found a stool 'twixt front door and the fire to keep my recent "seat in front of the fire" record in tact, and none have been as impressive as this hearth.  Perfect for drying the mud off my shoes.  I was facing the main instigators of Masons Arms Friday night jollity, and with so much chatter, I couldn't hear much conversation, but when I did, I almost regretted it.  Firstly a woman on a pub crawl revealed she had to break off part way through - "I've gotta nip home at 8 to inject the dog .... he's diabetic".  The things you never think you'd hear in a pub.  But even worse followed, "you can't buy minge lube in Tesco".  Woah, did she really just say that?  Repeating it 4 times actually stunned even the loudest people in the pub into an awkward silence as I stared sternly into my Exmoor, pretending to discover a depth of complex flavours that didn't exist.  A few locals stared intently up at "The Chase" on the ITV screen as if it were the World Cup Final.  A posh version of Albert Steptoe kept coming over to warm himself on the fire a la Emley woman from Tuesday.  I said hi and bye, for my bus was due.

A fire, and a nearby extinguisher cos who knows what'll happen here.
A (delayed) short bus ride to Hemsworth was next up, and the main reason for this Friday trip due to their inability to open on Tuesday evenings like a normal West Yorkshire BRAPA pub.  I had been warned about this town from my sister's boyfriend who was brought up here, but I was still not prepared for the zombie apocalypse style locals on every street corner, red eyed, drunk, hungry for human flesh, York human flesh.

1029.  Hamelsworde Brewery Tap, Hemsworth

So it was with some relief when I slammed the door behind me of this little safe haven, brewery tap by name but micropub in reality, though by no means a dud for it had a bit more depth to it than most.  In some ways, it was a bit like entering Doncaster's Little Plough, sanctuary when all outside is madness.  I was greeted by an eager blondie with red trousers I liked, who seemed keener to take me through the range of continental lagers and fridge bottles than the ales, strangely.  Once she realised I was a boring CAMRA beard anorak, I got an extra 20p off and paid about 6 shillings for my pint, or whatever currency they use in Hemsworth.  Two bald men were trying to impress the whole pub with jokes about their own baldness, the type who insist on wearing it like a badge of honour, urrrgghh.  They left soon after to much relief from the assembled crowd (despite leaving with a barrage of rhubarb and custard jokes which made no sense), an attractive couple of the window who we'll call Freddie and Amelia, a middle aged couple who hated each others company but loved the fact smartphones had been invented, and a huge pinstripe suited dude who sat at the bar (practically on my face) telling the now bored barmaid about his work jaunts to Newton Aycliffe and Stockton on Tees.  She'd rather have heard about BRAPA, I expect, but that's how the Hemsworth cookie crumbles.  It was quite dull after that, though my off season Christmas ale was a winner.  A woman came in and protested too much about not being a regular and not really wanting to try the new Prosecco but had time to kill, so she may as well.  Time to run for the bus.

Bald and slightly annoying.

A board of cask ales 
It was deja vu from Emley at the bus stop as it just didn't bloody arrive (I even checked the times at the stop) and after 20 mins, I took matters into my own hands and marched to Fitzwilliam station.  My luck turned as the next train was just delayed enough to enable me to get it, and once in Leeds, the same happened with a York train.  So even if the bus had been on time, I'd not have been home any quicker, just bored and colder.  So hurrah!

I'm getting close, only FIVE West Yorkshire pubs to do.  Back on the trail on Tuesday, but how weird are this pubs opening hours......?

I love a good all nighter with a full English Breakfast just before closing!

I'm having a new shower/bathroom fitted this week.  This is relevant to BRAPA cos (a) I'd rather be out and about than in a bathroomless flat, so expect much BRAPPing over the next fortnight.

And (b) I want to ask if anyone knows of a real ale pub out there with a shower you can use?  I confess I don't seem to recall one but it'd help massively.

See you soon, Si