Tuesday 7 August 2018

BRAPA - July Review / August Preview (2018)

A great day in Cleethorpes, but perhaps not this particular pub!

The great steamship BRAPA left York harbour at the beginning of July for another round of pub ticking adventures, as women waved from the dock crying into their polka dot hankies, and illegitimate urchins cried and clutched their Tonka trucks close to their twildy little hearts.  We finally arrived on the banks of the Tyne in Newburn on 28th July, by which time the crew were soaked to the skin, full of ale, and even the rats had scurvy.  There was no one there to greet us.

But back in the real world, we had a nice BRAPA boost before even the first July pub had been ticked.  This came in that most wondrous of station pubs, if you go at a quiet time and it has been disinfected, the York Tap.  I'd randomly bumped into Father BRAPA on a train back from L**ds, when a bloke to my left at the bar exclaims "I know you, you're BRAPA!" and he recognised Dad from photos too.  This was John from Oldham, doing some important rail/train work in the area (that's what they all say, even the hen do's), so it'd be rude not to pop in.  I recounted my amazing evening in Delph/Oldham briefly, and he said goodbye and dissolved into a cloud of diesel (not the aftershave).  What a nice chap, I promised I'd shoehorn him into a blog at some point, he even said "you're a bit of a legend" but what bit I'm not sure yet!  Sore left knee which I don't like to mention?

So onto the boring bit, what happened in July?  Well, it was a steady month by BRAPA standards.  26 pubs isn't generally a bad outcome, but my lowest July tally to date, well below the 36.5 average, The summer sun always brings a spate of BRAPees eager for a 'day out', so we had a joyful days in Cleethorpes & Walthamstow.  Cambs was a solo affair this time round, with the World Cup dominating Whittlesey, evenings in Rochdale & Skipton put some gloss on the final total, and my trip to the North East at the end of the month was another fine day despite the weather.

Best pubs of the month?

Royal Oak, Castor
Steps, Washington
No 1 Pub, Cleethorpes

Royal Oak in Castor, my second pub of the month, and one of the best

It was a better standard of pubby month than June, so few honorary mentions for top experiences.

Letter B, Whittlesey
Mirth, Marvel & Maud, Walthamstow
Notts House, Cleethorpes
Regal Moon, Rochdale

Arriving at Mirth, Marvel & Maud - an unexpected modern day jewel in the Walthamsow crown.

Hardly any bad ones, and we'd hate to name and shame, but oh, go on then, they deserve it.

Willy's, Cleethorpes (just what is it trying to be?)
Station Inn, Habrough (disgusting beer, unconvincing decor, though enough to fool me)
Brewhouse & Kitchen, Highbury (just a bit grotty, lame and tired, and not really for me)

Strugglin' with my ale in Habrough!
August Preview

August is what pub tickers (or just me) refer to as 'squeaky rear end time' as we patiently wait for the new GBG to plop (so to speak) onto our doormats towards the end of the month.

This often leaves me feeling a bit 'mentally bereft' (if that doesn't sound too dark!) when I embark on any pub ticking day out in the 1st-25th part of August, like "what's the point, this pub'll probably be taken out anyway and close down forever, waaaaaah".

As is usually the case with me, the Rebellion Punk Festival takes/took me to Blackpool for the start of the month.  Plenty of pub ticking mid-punk, including pre-emptives, which I'll review shortly.

The football season has started, ugh, and no one should have to pay £38 to watch a dire team (possibly two dire teams?) at rubbish Hillsborough in a city I've ticked to death, so the first NFFD of the season will be focused mainly around Derbyshire, which of course, is a county I want to get completed before the 2020 GBG comes around.

The week after sees something similar, but this time on my own, before the grand finale, an NFFD trip to Newcastle-under-Lyme (more appealing than Stoke away), which I think will be about the time the new GBG arrives and Hull City's relegation is all but mathematical.

I'm aiming for 31 pubs for the month, we will see how that goes....

Thanks for reading, Si


  1. "Just who is the Oldham John Hero ?", as The Jam once sang.

    1. I asked who he was on Twitter but he didn't seem to be on, but then I remembered it is 1985 in Oldham and Twitter probably hasn't been invented just yet......

  2. "Sore left knee which I don't like to mention?"

    Tsk, tsk. You're confusing "a bit of a legend" with "you're bit is a legend". :)

    "refer to as 'squeaky rear end time' "

    We call that "pucker time" over here.

    "I'm aiming for 31 pubs for the month, we will see how that goes...."

    And, of course, when the new Guide comes out that will all be out the window. ;)


    1. Pucker time? Isn't that more lips? Let's not go there!

      Yeh, hard to record which pubs I'm counting as part of my tally once I get put "under embargo" in that tricky 25/8-15/9 approx period. We'll see how it goes!

  3. If you're planning to do either the Anglers Rest at Bamford or the Cheshire Cheese at Hope over the next couple of weekends then you might want to be aware that rail ale-ing has become a "thing" in Derbyshire over the past few summers. Nowhere near as busy or chaotic as the West Yorkshire equivalent but there will be an element of pubs being fuller and noisier.

    1. Thanks Richard for the tip off, I wasn't aware of that. As long as we don't have to witness the Marsden stags flinging themselves drunkenly into the river, it won't be as bad as West Yorkshire!