Wednesday 10 July 2019

BRAPA is ..... Looking for Ole' Jug Ears Amongst the Jugs of Beer (Cornwall Pt 14/14)

To my relief, my Northern Irish taxi driver was true to his word and appeared back at Trebarwith Strand, to take me onto Port Isaac for my last pub tick of the 2019 Cornish Adventure.

Again, the roads were tight and we kept praying nothing would be oncoming as it was pretty much impossible to pass.  He told me Port Isaac was a busy touristy place, and it made sense for him to drop me at the top end of town and I'd walk down to the pub.

I agreed  but before I knew it, we were right in the heart of things, being glared at by a load of expectant tourist scum lining the streets and people driving huge vehicles full of 'equipment'.

Yes, I'd not even been able to think about the Fisherman's Friends (my sister once did me a CD by them, but currently, I was too scarred by my Falmouth experience to contemplate listening a sea shanty.  Having said that, I'd never seen Doc Martin either!

I knew it starred Martin Clunes playing a grumpy doctor, was famous for the Port Isaac pretty location, and when I mention the show to anyone I know, they double over in a kind of embarrassed convulsion, tears streaming down their cheeks and they cry "DREADFUL, IT IS JUST DREADFUL!"

But trying telling that to the selection of gawpers in the town today.  Everything I could do to fight my way through to the pub which it had to be said, seemed to be at the hub of all the beautiful scenery.  I think I even walked through a scene which seemed to involve two vehicles driving past each other.

Outside the village shop, a weatherbeaten looking lady was sneering at the gaggle of onlookers, and in a rich Cornish accent, told a few old locals that she couldn't understand what was so interesting about 'this bit'!  I had to agree, but despite brandishing my green highlighter, probably just looked like another Clunes devotee.

BRAPA doesn't always have the best luck in terms of pub opening times, so nice when you avoid a really bad slice of luck, such as when I noticed the below sign .......

Mon 17th today!

Phew!  That was close.  But the Golden Lion, Port Isaac (1663 / 2636) was to prove an amusingly chaotic final tick of the week.  Gorgeous old pub, still easy to appreciate amongst all the mayhem.  I fought my way to the bar and had to wait patiently for a bit, eventually ordering a pint of Trelawny, not because it was the name of a Harry Potter professor, but because it'd just been pulled through.  The local bar blockers looked angry but the influx of folk. but I had little sympathy.  One seat was nicely left waiting in the corner, but seconds before I was served, the HUGEST triple thronged buggy was wheeled in to the pub and this was the only place for it.  A good landlord would have said it was too big for the pub and banned it.  With another attractive side bar full of diners, the upstairs a restaurant, and the downstairs 'Bloody Bones locals bar' reserved for cast and crew, ugh, best I could do was find a tiny side seat in the hallway facing the entrance, where I smiled at all the newcomers - the pub should've paid me, or sued me, one or the other.  A few stopped to chat, at least everyone was in a good mood here and my ale was good.  One woman who'd correctly identified the upstairs was a restaurant only misread the 'no dogs' sign as 'no people'(!)  How would that work?   I burst out laughing, I couldn't help it, and her friend slapped me in the arm for laughing at her.  Then, a judgey German man told me off for looking at my phone (I was checking the pub in on Twitter!) when it was such a great building.  I told him "you're probably better off coming here in November" and he turns to his wife and says "you see, this guy KNOWS!"  (I didn't, but I sounded like a local who hated tourists, which was half true).  But the overall highlight, a bloke sat in the room behind with his wife who looked like a cross between a failed Lee Mack and a desperate Adrian Chiles in a blender (him I mean, not her) summons a staff member over.  I thought they were going to order food.  But he says "can you arrange it so we can meet the cast and crew?"  Errrrm, well I cringed with embarrassment.  This is a pub, not bloody Jim'll Fix it, mate!  And even if the ghost of Sir Jim had waddled in at that moment, Marley's chain a-dangling,  I couldn't have felt much more awkward.

My makeshift seat & table!

My view to the bar room

Interesting thing acting as my pub table

Back of Mrs Excruciating Request couple

Back up the hill at the bus stop and somewhat glad to be away from the carnage, a healthy group of oldsters were waiting for a bus back to Wadebridge which was inevitably going to be delayed.  "Don't worry, it'll be nine minutes late, it has been happening all holiday!" I confidently declared, but it soon became 15-20 mins and I was accused of jinxing it.

They were lucky I was talking kindly to them at all as I'd heard them slagging off York as a summer day out!  Long way from home to hear people slating my home town, I wanted to tell them a thing or two, problem is I couldn't argue with any of their points raised, just the patronising tone!

I did get chatting to a nice lady.  Her hubbie had abandoned her on a walk and she had this difficult place to get back to even though she knew the area, she didn't know if the bus would stop there.  I told her about BRAPA and the Doc Martin stuff in the town.  I told her I'd seen Neil Morrissey in a London pub a few months back so would've been nice to get the 'Men Behaving Badly' duo with Clunes!  "I stood behind him the other day, but it was a bit disappointing" she revealed, in one of my favourite quotes of the holiday.  And with ears like his, I'd think he'd be a great person to see from behind (so to speak).

The bus finally trundled up, not in any hurry, and we stopped at a series of places I'd vaguely heard of, including Rock.  Where did I know 'Rock' from?  It soon became clear when an attractive brunette sporting a Sharp's Brewery tee shirt boarded.  Now, the 2016 me might've taken a sly photo and captioned it 'Doom Babe', but #WokeSi2019 is made of sterner stuff.

A ridiculous 30 minute bus delay in Wadebridge just to get to the Bodmin was painful as anything encountered all holiday, and I had to hop off early to catch the Bodmin bus coming the other way!  It was proving a tough last day.

Back at my Roche bus stop, it was another hour and a half until the next train back to Quintrell Downs, so lucky then I was next to a pub, non GBG, but I'd heard of it nonetheless.......

Not really!  This was the Somerset GBG pub Mum & Dad were in at the same time

My reality

Yes, Victoria, Roche was advertised on the local radio station when I was sat in the wonderful St Mabyn Inn, so I was suspecting something quite dining, clean and shiny, but you rarely get that type of place in Cornwall.  And good!  I say good, it was batshit crazy from start to finish, like a final Cornish hurrah for BRAPA in this, the final pub of the holiday.  Building a conservatory extension onto the side doesn't make you posh, however much you might want it to.  The locals were a young, slightly grubby collective, the barmaids two-faced bitches, it was a bit like being in a low-key remake of Love Island as people gossiped on local couples shagging and the like.  When being served my dodgily conditioned Liquid Sunshine, a local glared at me and said "I'm on Pubwatch in every pub around here!"but he laughed like Karl from work so wasn't intimidating.  Conversation highlights included "I know you are smart, that is why you go to Chester University", "You should hear what she says to me in the bedroom" and "Mother, I'm in Cornwall.  You want me to be more specific?  I'm in a PL26 postcode".  I hid around the corner, the pub had some nice features, carpets, cosy, but smelt of sick and had sticky tables.  I watched Pointless on mute.  Pointless.  An old couple started wandering through the conservatory.  "Oh shit!  OLD PEOPLE!" screeched a barmaid, her mates laughed, but they were sweetness and light as the old lady approached the bar realising she'd walked into a grotty pub and not a Michelin star restaurant.  The music was utterly dreadful, and our Pubwatch bloke did get one thing banned, a tune called 'My Mistake' by Gabrielle Aplin.  Perhaps the worst song I've heard in a pub ever, he was right on this count!  My second pint was better, but the news was on.  It was a piece on the Borough Market stabbings, where the inquests seemed to be reaching a conclusion.  A local perches with horror at my table.  "Oh mi god, has this just happened now?" he asked me.  Errrm yeh mate, cos even though it is 5pm in Cornwall in June, it is pitch black in London.  Clown.  And that about summed up a wonderfully shit pub.

My first and less good beer

Pointless innit?

Proof of pub having commendable features

Graffiti, that is how rebellious the locals are in here

So there we go!  Cornwall done for another year.  I think in 2020, I'll stay in Plymouth and tackle the remainder of the east of the county from that angle, getting a day in Isles of Scilly and the West depending on how kind/cruel the 2020 GBG is to me. 

For now, it was time to get rested up, catch my Tuesday flight back to York, and rest up before a Friday trip to a wonderful Derbyshire town with Dad.  




  1. "Again, the roads were tight and we kept praying nothing would be oncoming as it was pretty much impossible to pass."

    None of those pull-over thingies for such an occurrence?

    "Having said that, I'd never seen Doc Martin either"

    I thought Doc Martin was a shoe?

    "I think I even walked through a scene which seemed to involve two vehicles driving past each other."

    Ah. That explains the huge vehicles with equipment mentioned above.

    "Mon 17th today!"

    Lucked in there!

    " but because it'd just been pulled through"

    (nods wisely)

    "a judgey German man told me off"

    When you say German, the judgey is implied. :)
    (and is judgey one of those Brit things you use instead of judgy?)

    "But he says "can you arrange it so we can meet the cast and crew?" "


    "problem is I couldn't argue with any of their points raised, just the patronising tone!"


    "but #WokeSi2019 is made of sterner stuff."

    Sterner? ;)

    "as people gossiped on local couples shagging and the like. "


    "but smelt of sick and had sticky tables."

    Probably due to the sick.

    "Errrm yeh mate, cos even though it is 5pm in Cornwall in June, it is pitch black in London."


    "For now, it was time to get rested up, catch my Tuesday flight back to York, and rest up before a Friday trip to a wonderful Derbyshire town with Dad. "

    You've certainly earned it!

    Oh, and my commenting will be sporadic for the next two weeks due to family commitments. :)


    PS - "looked angry but the influx of folk."

    I think that should be 'at' not 'but'. And maybe change the period after folk to a comma with the following but. ;)

    1. Do you mean 'full stop' Russ? ;)

      Enjoy the family commitments if you can, thanks and congrats for making it to the bitter end (and I mean bitter) of my Cornish adventure. You now have more BRAPA loyalty points than anyone else so congrats.

    2. Full stop? Bleedin' Brits. :)

      As for the loyalty points; can I trade those in for a pint of Doom Bar? ;)


  2. Jug ears are pretty much compulsory in Cornwall. Just look who their Duke is.

    1. He's helping build evil new houses (not with his own bare hands) which are spreading out into the Cornish countryside beyond the airport and Newquay (not in the sea though, I don't think).