Friday 14 July 2017

BRAPA - Summer Special Day 3 : Truro Love

Onto Friday then, as it turned out my favourite day of the Cornwall holiday.  I was getting into a routine by now, and at Par, I knew I had to cross the bridge but what a funny railway station.  It has so many staff manning (womanning) it, it feels like it's own little community, with people occasionally bellowing things like "OVER THE BRIDGE FOR PENZANCE!", and my daily favourite "DON'T OPEN THE DOORS TIL THE TRAIN STOPS!"  I'd hide on a bench at the far end of the platform whenever I was there.

Truro was only two stops down the line, and had two pubs to tick off so after yesterday's 2pm start, I wanted to get two pubs under my belt early doors.  Then, I'd feel psychologically better.  You know, I think I might need to employ a BRAPA psychologist to keep me on the straight and narrow!

Truro station was a hilly 15 minute walk from the centre, more like 20 if you sprint out of the station in totally the wrong direction like I did!  But it seemed a pretty little town, reminding me a bit of the kind of French towns you'd see on Dogtanian and the Three Muskahounds minus Cardinel Richeleu.  "It's the capital of Cornwall, you know!" boasted one local, true, I spied a cathedral.  Do you want a medal?

If you said to me "Si, which pub name are the most awkward to get to?", I'd say the Rising Sun, they always seem to either be in a weird location, have a strange entrance, or be on a hill.  This was the latter, sweating by the time I arrived, once again wishing I'd ignored the false "cloudy 17 degree weather" predictions.

1176.  Rising Sun, Truro

It may have looked pretty from the outside, been tucked nicely away from the town centre, had a helpful friendly barman, but ultimately this was a disappointing dining pub lacking character within.  The barman approved of my beer choice, a 5% Solstice Amber from unknown brewery so I am assuming it is local, apparently the locals are loving it.  This pub has locals?  It was hard to believe.  In all the confusion of photographing the interior, and exploring to find a seating area which wasn't too depressing (I eventually opted for a humid conservatory to the rear), I'd forgotten to bring my pint with me!  When I went back in, a bit sheepish, it wasn't at the bar either, our helpful barman was bringing it out to me having realised I'd mislaid it.  This didn't bode well for 12:30pm did it?   A couple almost joined me in the conservatory, wife was fine with it but husband was whining like a lame pup, and bravely got his wish to move indoors by telling his wife that her bottom couldn't properly fit on the small stools!  "We're going in, it isn't something you said" she told me, I'd not said a word so I knew this was true.  A chef with nothing to cook was talking on his phone loudly through an open window .... "I fell off my bike, and got myself proper smashed up .... it was really funny".  Hmmm, sounds it.

Solstice - the most mysterious beer of my holiday

I hope this internal shot gives you an idea of my struggles with this pub

Sadly, the comfiest seat in the house!

Proof that wife was able to sit down, poor excuse by hubbie.
Onwards and downwards (down the hill that is) back into the town centre proper to the other Truro pub.......

We're finally onto a winner here! 
1177.  Old Ale House, Truro

So locals and landlord had been keenly watching me photograph the pub from the outside, but once in they soon returned to their Cornish chatter as I scanned the ales in this superbly dimly lit pub - Skinners Brewery Tap no less and they can be very proud of it.  Up there with St Just for pub of the holiday so far.  It was heaving with lunchtime folk, on a weekday, no food I could see, just chatting and drinking, basic as you like, wooden, cool,  just makes you think "why aren't more pubs like this?"  Simple formula.  Everyone was happy, it could've been last orders, and reminded me in layout terms of one of Hull's "forgotten pubs", the type you never go in cos although they are beautiful old buildings, you know all you'll get is a pint of Smooth and a wet fish slapped around your chops.    It obviously does live music too, as I saw the most Cornwall list of bands ever in the loo.  There was a free monkey nut dispenser, not good news for me, especially as I was right behind it and it exploded on one elderly gent who just grimaced and let the nut remnants remain splayed all over the floor.  

My pint at the bar

Locals (inc woman in trousers I approve of) enjoying Fri lunchtime

When monkey nuts go wrong

Some of the most Cornish sounding bands in history? 
Next it was back to Par which not only put me back within striking distance of Newquay for getting 'home', but also offered me plenty of pub ideas I'd not seriously considered in the build up.

I wandered to the bus stop, where I made friends with a man called John Harris from Farnham, and a lady from Doncaster with a moustache (like they do) who'd just stopped for a "sit down" (like they do).  We had a nice chat, then the bus turned up and me and John Harris went to a placed called "Fowey", pronounced Foyyyyyyyy just because Cornwall is weird.

Although John Harris sat a bit close, we were soon there.  Fowey was beautiful, truly beautiful - you can shove your Perranporth, Newquay and Penzance.  John Harris asked everyone on my behalf how to get to Bodinnick, we even delayed the bus driver.  John Harris kept saying he was asking on my behalf, but STILL everyone persisted in wishing John Harris luck with his pub challenge.  FFS!! 

I had a wander around the harbour, eventually locating a little ferry to take me (3 other foot passengers and 4 cars) across, and it was a highlight of my holiday.

The pub was just on the other side, and after fathoming the strange myriad of staircases and entrances, I found my way inside .....

Walking a few short yards to the pub

Now how on earth do I get inside? 

1178.  Old Ferry Inn. Bodinnick 

The bar area and adjoining rooms seemed lovely and traditional, so you could tell this pub would even be good "off-season" on a cold Tuesday night in November surrounded by fishermen.  There were no staff around so I was encouraged to ring this intricate little bell with a ship on, the kind of thing you might see on Bargain Hunt!  A smart young Freddie Mercury was soon on the scene, and I ordered a Tintagel beer to keep my recent good record of unique Cornish ales going (9 in a row now assuming the Rising Sun one was Cornish).  FM could read my mind, because although I was loving indoors, I couldn't not check out these crazy balcony views, and without asking, he directed me up the steps murmuring something like "up the galley slave steps for you, haha" which I hoped wasn't a euphemism.  A posh old group of 4 middle agers who'd just stepped out of Howard's Way were getting excited by seagulls dive bombing over the water below.  I like to think I'm observant, but obviously not as it took an "Only Way is Essex" friendly young couple to appear and point out I was sat next to this huge Sharp's deckchair, with strict safety rules like "no more than 3 adults at a time".  No one sat in it, which was quite a relief.  But how had I not seen it?    The couple later fell out over whether or not they were going to a selfish friend's birthday, so I wished them both a happy holiday, and shinned my way down the galley slave steps, or whatever they were called.

Nice inside

Nice outside

Stupid deckchair

The Only Way is Fowey
The boat turned up in reasonable time, so I sat outside this random non GBG pub with a local man with heavy breathing issues, and the bus turned up.   The bus driver then weirdly joked with each elderly passenger "ooh, are you off on a pub crawl", but when he got to me, the most pub crawly Cornwall person ever, he didn't say anything.

I hopped off the bus at "Polkerris turn" with the emphasis on "turn", because I then had a steep 15 minutes walk down to the next pub, along this dodgy country lane, before the pub came into view.....

1179.  Rashleigh Inn, Polkerris

"The Inn on the Beach", the locals call it in a huge stretch of their imaginations, for it is, an Inn on the beach.  It was very much tourist central, despite the obvious lack of public transport links, but a beautiful part of the world.  I had to wait a bit at the bar as two young West Indian ladies scanned the ales for ages, then looked scared, then opted for San Miguel which is a crying shame and was only cos they lacked confidence.  Maybe the staff could've helped steer them in that direction?  I won't be too harsh on the pub though, the only one who "re-tweeted" me all holiday.  Bonus point.  I got served something from Padstow to keep the run going.  Inside, I feel the pub suffered from what I call "Hudswell" syndrome, by which I mean a huge bay window has been created at the rear of the pub with the purpose of letting indoor customers see the wonderful sea views.  Makes sense of course, but for me, detracts from cosy pubby atmosphere, just as the George & Dragon at Hudswell does with it's airy window view over the Swale Valley.  But that won CAMRA National Pub of the Year so whadda I know?   So I sat outside amongst the gurning masses, mistaking a wooden figure looking out to sea for Tom Irvin, plenty of wheezy comedians to my left, and my Mum rang for a catch up yet I kept my drinking pace quick so I could climb the hill for the next bus back into Par.  Beautiful cliff views to my right, certainly a pub experience everyone should have.

The walk back up the hill was even scarier than I'd imagined, you could tell the tourists from the locals, the ones who don't know how to reverse when the road is so narrow, two cars can't pass each other.  Add me into the mix, trying to walk back up, you had amusing chaos.

At the stop (well, the junction for Polkerris), I met a lady waiting to be picked up in a camper van by her hubbie and we chatted on being visitors to Cornwall and BRAPA and all those usual topics in life.  
The bus behaved itself by being on time (I was quite impressed by the bus service in Cornwall despite locals constantly telling me how crap it is) and then I walked from Par just a few minutes to a place called Tywardreath, which, if you are being brutal, is nicer than Par but has almost merged into a 'suburb' of it.  Probably the worst thing you can say to the locals.

Outside the pub, the first few gripes of dissent as I took my photo.  "Don't know if I agreed to being in this shot!" mumbled two men to each other.  Were they joking, did they want me to hear, who cares?  I needed a pint of Bass! 

Not the pub

The pub - ignore these two moaners.
1180.  New Inn, Tywardreath

Yes, you did hear me right.  And no, I haven't morphed into Martin Taylor.  But on the bus, I'd read in the GBG how this pub is covenanted to sell Draught Bass for eternity (not sure what they did for these sins, drown a twild in a nearby lake?  ONLY JOKING!)  I like stories like this, but where the bloody hell was it, I thought as I scanned the bar?!  I knew it was on gravity, I could see lots of Bass signage, perhaps you have to give the barmaid a nudge and a wink, or there might be a code word.  Oh well, at least I got to take my consecutive unique Cornish beers to 11 in a row, and had a very enjoyable Trelawny from St Austell.  This pub really impressed me, from the friendly happy staff, to the cleanliess yet traditional old feel about the place, like the perfect balance.  Locals and tourists flocked, some loitered, some came and went, none really were too annoying (at first) which is amazing on a hot Friday evening in a lovely area like this.  Everyone acknowledged the frail old bloke in the corner, who probably sits here 7 days a week.  Speaking of which, the younger barmaid told everyone 7 was her lucky number.  A man in sandals did arrive to try and spoil things, he started picking on a random Cardiff City fan.  "Is Craig Bellamy still playing ..... it'd be hilarious if he was still playing for your lot!!" Everyone looked perplexed by that attempt at "footie bantz".  Never trust a man in sandals.  A local then piped up "dog poo in the lawnmower has stopped me from getting on today!"  The pub sympathised.  Ash from Home & Away arrived and asked how people cope (just in general I think).  Then a hysterical group of middle aged women made a fuss about the food menu.  "I'm gluten free, YOU TELL ME, how can Naan Bread be gluten free?!"  The staff struggled to reassure her.  In fact, the staff set a world record for using the phrase "ice and a slice", and when I wasn't looking, someone put a phantom pint of Carlsberg on my table, but never came back to claim it.  Was it a gift?  Gluten free lady was back .... "Are we going through??" .... she said to her friends once food orders had been finalised. 'Through to where, you are in a pub not a restaurant you utter fuckwit!' was how I recorded my thoughts at the time.  I loved the grey moustachiod landlord, a friendly calmness, totally in control of all that was going on.  He looked like the kind of man who'd come on to bowl a bit of gentle off-spin towards the end of a village cricket match when everyone else just wanted to close their eyes on the village green.  Superb pub this. 

Can't find the Bass so having to make do

A vision into future?  Me when I get to pub 4,500!!

Never trust a man in sandals

Gluten lady (left) and her friends are just the worst kind of pub people
I walked back into Par and just opposite the train/railway station stood my sixth and final pub of a very successful day's ticking ......

1181.  Royal Inn, Par

The classy controlled chaos of Tywardreath seemed a lot further than a mile away as I stepped into this fairly basic pub, confronted immediately by a pool table.  A twild miscued his shot, and his Mum rolled her eyes at me as if to say "wasn't that shit?"  It was.  I ordered a special Sharps beer from the relatively disinterested barstaff, and took it outside, but what I hadn't noticed was a group of rowdy Brummies on the large front bench.  They tried to shout something to me, but I hid on a table hugging the corner of the pub.  The ringleader had his top off and was sitting on the table, occasionally jumping off to wrestle with his young son, which eventually involved him following to the pub door and twisting his arm behind his back.  "Oww, what's your problem" wailed the son, "well, if yer gonna be a pain in the arse..." replied Dad, as though it was no more than a bit of gentle horseplay.  A more reasonable bloke tried to change the subject .... "they say they have their own language in Cornwall".  This was news to every Brummie present, but before he could elaborate, and with some relief to the rest of the pub, a minibus arrived to take them back to their compound.  I sat in the sun, finished my pint slowly, before walking across the road for the last train home.  Maybe not the nicest pub this, but it'd been a great day with six done, and high hopes for the weekend to come .....

My pint of Special, looking all dark and moody

My pint, outdoors, looking lighter despite background Brummie scariness.
Saturday report coming up in the next 24 hours.......



  1. The English seem to complain about all public transport. I have found it reasonably good.

  2. "me and John Harris went to a placed called "Fowey", pronounced Foyyyyyyyy just because Cornwall is weird."

    This from folk who pronounce Leicester as Lester and Worcestershire as Woostersher. :)

    "Never trust a man in sandals"

    Judging by your photos, that would be every 2nd person you meet!

    "I hadn't noticed was a group of rowdy Brummies"

    Too bad they hadn't been there on day one when you were drinking the Peaky Blinders... would've been classic if they'd all been saying "that's Thomas fookin' Shelby".

    Oh and I take back what I said about being near the sea. That's some gorgeous scenery down there.



    PS - thought I had you for a minute when you said #1178 was your 9th Cornish ale in a row but on checking back, Peaky Blinder was #1169.

    PPS - just finished watching Season 3 of Peaky Blinders. What a corker! Can't wait for Season 4.

    1. Love your observations Russ, thanks! Yes, I'll be straight on Peaky B season 4 as soon as final Ripper Street finishes tmw evening.

      Re the consecutive ales saga, there'll be a startling revelation re my Cornish ales I only discovered in Wilmslow, Cheshire yesterday. So stay tuned for that.

      Yes, the sandal wearers did start to 'wear' me down by the end of my Cornwall stay I must admit!!

  3. Bass was certainly still on at the New Inn, Tywardreath at the end of June, when visited by an Honorable Order of Bass Drinkers member. It is usually gravity dispensed from a barrel behind the bar just to the left of your photo eg

  4. Yes, the Rising Sun is a disappointing dining pub, and up a steep hill from the town (city?) centre. This was where I heard the cider BS I reported on Twitter. Yet to do the Old Ale House.