Saturday 24 February 2018

BRAPA - Heavy Woollen Scousers : A Return to Liverpool (Part 2/2)

Why am I sat here on a Saturday afternoon in the comfort of BRAPA towers, when this is my prime pub-ticking time of the week?  That is a question you may well ask.

Well, like an utter buffoon, on walking out of the KComm Stadium last night in Hull, I forgot I still had two steps to go, totally lost my footing, fell, and twisted my foot, as a steward tried to make a lame jokey comment.  Perhaps I'd been so shocked to see Hull City win a game?  Perhaps it was bad Karma for protesting against the evil owners for 90 mins (I didn't blow a whistle or throw a stress ball though)? 

Anyway, I thought I'd "walked it off" on the half an hour trek back to the car, but perhaps that was the anaesthetic offered by the 9% stout I accidentally ordered in the Whalebone pre-match, "Dark Ratanic Mills" by Rat Brewery.

Home of the 9% Rat, the wonderful Whalebone

Woke up 6:30am, ready for train to London, I couldn't really put any weight on it and it had swollen up like a golf ball.  So frustrating, today was the day I finished Bucks!  I hate Bucks,  I've decided.  It makes Bedfordshire seem like Stockport but with pink ale thirsty faeries skipping through a meadow.

So change of plan, 10th March will now be my Bucks completion date (unless Martin Taylor has got the bunting out and warned the residents of Abington Piggots I'm on my way).  That would make 7th April my official Cambs start date, but in Ashley, with Abington Piggots to be done hopefully with Martin 13th May, but I'll confirm.

For now, I'll leave you with the second part of last weeks trip to Liverpool......

Piper approaches the Pen

1263 / 2009.  Pen Factory, Liverpool

This was the kind of modern bullshittery that I always fear when I return to a big city I've visited before, which has new GBG entries to tick.  From the moment we stepped inside, Piper said "god, we don't belong here!"  I didn't have to say a word.  One eye-roll skywards at the shabby chic ceiling and weird air duct tubes put me in mind of 'Pleased to Meet You' in Newcastle, combined with a modern 'Spoons.  When the GBG says "not your average pub grub", you've gotta be afraid.  Not even that glorious sight of a well kept Titanic Plum Porter could raise my mood, or the hospitable well groomed staff with pearly teeth and the kind of tans you don't get in Liverpool on a February afternoon.  A rare British earthquake happened whilst we were in this pub, well it happened in South Wales but was apparently felt in Liverpool, but not here, the kind of place to neutralise any interesting geological quirks.  On the plus side, interest did occur when a lady groomed her dog on a customised doggy mat, and then got her female companion (mother?) to hold the dog still whilst she did a photoshoot with it.  It was a heartwarmingly fun moment, just not at all my kind of place.

Shabby chic mirror selfie

"Look how edgy we are"

Yes, I know.

Woman shocked that her dog has dressed the same as her
Onwards and back towards the station then.  I should probably admit I'd drawn a pub map, perhaps one of the worst ever but Piper and Jason were quite taken with it, and seemed to think I should be using it instead of my GBG App to find our way around.  I'll let you judge ......

Perhaps that was the reason it took us so long to find our next pub, Jason even had to angrily ask a poor bohemian cafe owner.  It was the tiniest most unlikely door on the whole street, though we had missed the blackboard outside .....

1264 / 2010.  Hard Times & Misery, Liverpool

Felt a bit like a micropub on two levels, though they might just call it a "bar", one of those where you have to breathe in to get to the bar where a genial young scouser had that kind of look in his eyes like "right, hit me with any question about the beers you want" but we denied him the opportunity.  Jason prodded me in the chest for the umpteenth time and said "Now look Simon, write nice things about this place in your blog because it is the best pub we've been in all day!"  Although I couldn't agree, I promised I'd try my best and granted, upstairs had a superb feel, the old cliche "it's like walking into someone's front room" sprung to mind, although a front room probably designed by new age hippies who have a love of artisan gin and vodka.  Very relaxing.  

Fruit on the bar, beer from the barrel 

It was carefully thought out strategy that saw us end at a Wetherspoons.  Firstly, it was very close to Crime Street station.  Secondly, my memories get a bit hazy this far into the day and I figured that 'Spoons can be a bit samey and hard to review at the best of times, so I'd not lose a lot here.  And thirdly, Heavy Woollen days traditional have a confusing messy end! 

1265 / 2011.  Richard John Blackler, Liverpool

And it was your large rambling traditional Wetherspoons (more so than Grapes)  as we walked in and I somehow remembered I had 'Mudgie' vouchers to use still to save 50p, always a bonus.  I tried to tell Piper and Jason, reading from the GBG, that it used to be a famous department store, and George Harrison from the Beatles did an Electrician's apprenticeship here, but they were about as underwhelmed by that fact as me, proof not everyone gets starry eyed over the nations favourite mop top scallies.  And here's the key really, had say Sid Vicious served an electricians apprenticeship here, this Spoons would probably have been edgier, more exciting and colourful, though he'd probably have electrocuted himself on day one.  

Jason wanted to get Chinese food (from Chinatown), but I was never properly onboard with the idea due to missing train potential, so after a reluctant 5 mins sat in a taxi not really going anywhere, he admitted defeat, we came back in here, but he still needed food so I told him and Piper to go, and I (slowest drinker) would nurse my pint.  He prodded me in the chest again "if you miss this train, there'll be trouble" he said, so I promised it was the last thing that'd happen.  After 10 very pleasant minutes alone, I found Piper looking lost, Jason had vanished.  We got the train, he missed it.  Ha! 

A typically messy end to a Heavy Woollen day, as we planned an East London trip for July's next outing.  



  1. Love the Whalebone. And also the Liverpoolians. Friendly group I thought. More foot trouble in the family... RM is going to have fun with that.

    1. Am sure RM will be his usual sympathetic self .... we shall see aha!

      Not sure on Liverpudlians, bit insular, but 'highly amusing' so that's something, and yes they are welcoming, I just wonder how genuine it all is.

      Whalebone wow, if I did a top 50 pubs of the 2000+ I've visited, it'd be in there. Maybe I should do a top 50?

    2. Actually Simon, I feel terrible. Saw Mark's comment and thought "you southern softie", didn't realise it was bad. If it's any consolation, (it won't be) in 2015 I damaged my knew when I fell down a flight of seats at the Etihad, after James Milner scored a 93rd minute equaliser against Hull that probably sent you down. No idea why a point against you was such a big deal.

      Anyway, great post.

    3. Ahhh don't worry Martin, it looks worse than it is. Managed to get myself to L**ds and back today with only slight aching. Ohhh, THAT game! Well, I was in the Crown at Stockport at the time with a load of old codgers who'd had the same idea as me and decided to stay in t'pub!

      Re 10th March, if you'd made provision for me coming and are at loose end, let me know and I'll still crack on with Cambs Pt 1. But if not, let me know and I'll get Marlow bottomed out.

      Most of my other 5 Saturday pubs would have been mainly central London area, but today I found out work are sending me to Piccadilly Circus soon where 3 of those pubs are 0.3 miles or less away. So the silver lining of not going to them on Sat was I can combine them with work and concentrate on more difficult ones on Saturdays!

      Funny ole' game innit, as Greavesie once said if he's still alive ......

  2. Top 50 a good idea. A group not a strict number. Interesting on Liverpool. As you always are.

  3. "but perhaps that was the anaesthetic offered by the 9% stout I accidentally ordered in the Whalebone pre-match, "Dark Ratanic Mills" by Rat Brewery."

    And no write up on this pub that I can see. ;)

    " Not even that glorious sight of a well kept Titanic Plum Porter could raise my mood,"

    Bloody hell, I can see why! That combines the worst of the shabby/chic combo. Sheesh!

    "I should probably admit I'd drawn a pub map,"

    Is that Twitter Hashtag thingies on your map?

    "It was the tiniest most unlikely door on the whole street,"

    It looks almost Hobbitish! :)

    "it's like walking into someone's front room" sprung to mind,"

    Agreed. I almost think whoever runs it is just looking to make some extra money whilst they surf the Net from home all day!*

    "We got the train, he missed it."

    I shouldn't laugh but... heh! :)


    PS - As RM is sure to make fun of your foot (fetish?) I shall take the high road and refrain. :)

    * - Hmm. Maybe I should give that some thought. (LOL)