As we bravely (and I mean bravely) enter the sixth full year of BRAPA, it is a good time to take stock and think 'what do I want to achieve in the year 2020?' Where do I want to wield the green highlighter pen on most ferociously? Which counties do I care about? What type of numbers am I hoping to achieve? Are there any landmarks forthcoming? What is my brain thinking about it all?
So depending on how much you caned it yesterday, settle back with a nice brew (cup of tea or can of exclusive Bra P.A.) and we'll sit down and think about where we stand! Remember, you dear reader are on this journey with me and whilst you read these blogs, there is nothing you can do about it.
This MIGHT be the most boring blog you read all year, unless you love stats and strategy more than pubs and beer!
|Me and my life partner! (for this year anyway.....)|
54 46 What's my Number?
I'm on 1,686 current GBG pubs, 2,903 overall GBG pubs at the time of writing (12/1/20), so the first real target is to surpass 1,743. This was the number I reached back in late August / early September before I lost 200 in 'the great cross-ticking of 2019' and until I'm past that figure, I'm technically still in debit! I probably won't hit it til late Feb / early March. This is why pub ticking hurts!
The 3,000th overall pub will be a nice landmark to reach, I wonder where that'll be? I'm imagining some little farmhouse with an old maid stirring a giant bubbling pot that opens 6-11 Fri & Sun and has no public transport. So it'll most probably be an Ember Inn near Soilhull.
So where will I be come end of August when the 2021 GBG drops onto my doormat? The 2,000 mark is probably too much to expect, but nicely past 1,900 should be manageable. That'd be about a pub a day.
I don't actually think I'll achieve record breaking 451 pubs for the calendar year this time. I'd normally be cautious, but forgoing my Winter BRAPA holiday (where I usually do like 30 pubs in 5 days!) has been replaced by a week in Lanzarote, and you can imagine how many GBG I'll find there. Another reason to be cautious is I'm ticking in some tricky counties at the moment, which means you end up doing 4 or 5 a day instead of 6.
|Contents page and elaborate key|
In the Shires
Cumbria and County Durham are the main counties I'm looking to complete before the end of August, and it going well but I've gotta keep at it with at least one monthly visit. As it goes on, gaps will open up and it'll be your Ingletons and Edmundbyers and Wintons and Waberthwaites which will test me the most!
Tyne & Wear would be a nice one to finally got polished off too. I always seem to just have a few awkward micros remaining there.
Down south, I'm so close to completing East and West London, I can almost smell them (it isn't a nice one to describe).
The state of train travel in 2019 was as bad as I've ever known it, will it get better in 2020? I doubt it but you've gotta have hope .... something's gotta give anyway.
The counties I've completed once already I'm not bothered about doing again until I get all the others polished off once. These are Beds, Bucks, Berks, Cambs, Cheshire, Derbys, Rutland, North London and all 4 bits of Yorkshire. Bit different in Yorkshire though, as they are handy ones to pick up on a Friday night.
Speaking of which, I'm working on South Yorkshire at the moment again, but when we move into the spring/summer, I'll be looking to finish Greater Manchester as I'm making pretty good progress there. A trip to Manchester Punk Festival in April should help further, as there are some that are impossible for after work as they are in marketplaces so close at 5pm and annoying things like that!
|South Yorkshire greening up nicely|
In the summer, I've been going to Cornwall for the past few years and the initial plan was to stay in Plymouth and do those pubs in the east of Cornwall and west of Devon - after all, Devon begins with a 'D' so I can't ignore it forever.
However, it is another 'D' Dorset which is capturing my imagination more so I think I'll make this my June holiday destination. BRAPA is big in Dorset, just like Sir Quinno is big in the Ukraine and Martin Taylor is massive in North Wales, just one of those quirks of life.
The 2020 GBG was both insanely cruel and divinely generous to me as far as Dorset is concerned. Those villages giving me the biggest headaches (Evershot, Cheddington, Plush, Laymore and Martinstown are gone gone gone) but on the flipside, some places I've been to like Cerne Abbas, Lyme Regis and Burton Bradstock have just decided to take pub I went to out and replace it with another one I walked past! Frustrating.
|Could I finish Dorset this coming summer?|
Anyway, if I go down for 7 days, wouldn't it be amazing if I finish it? I might need a new liver , and if I run out of pubs, I quite fancy the likes of Salisbury, Axminster and weird Somerset things just over the border.
Other counties I'm making good progress with and want to keep on pushing are Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Merseyside so it'd be nice to get some trips done here. And with my job starting to move up to Glasgow later this year, some rare Scottish ticks might be on the agenda if I have to go to Clydebank to train the people taking my job! Clydebank doesn't look the loveliest beer town on the planet though, but I've been to Cowdenbeath and it can't be that bad. That made Maidenhead look like Stockport.
I've never been to a GBG on any of these dates. If your birthday falls on one, you are entitled to a free BRAPA pen (when I get a new batch made!) ......
Jan - 8th
Feb - 29th (leap year)
Apr - 24th
May - 8th, 15th, 21st, 22nd
Jun - 18th, 19th, 26th
Aug - 21st
Sep - 4th
Oct - 22nd
Nov - 13th
Dec - 5th, 10th, 25th, 27th.
With redundancy around the corner, the obvious dream would be to make BRAPA pay, a full time thing. Some people have already said if I opened on online shop, they'd buy BRAPA shirts and stuff. At first, I thought they must be joking but then I realised some were deadly serious! What else could I sell? Pens? Aprons? Tea towels? A 'BRAPA Sings the Pubs' CD? Finger in my ear, folk style, lamenting an evening in the Carrion Crow in Oldham. No you don't want that.
Then there are things like Podcasting and Vlogging. It is amazing what people will watch and listen to these days. I'd looked at doing a podcast a year ago but I got a bit scared by all the editing and equipment!
And Vlogging, well I could open a YouTube channel which kind of half exists, get a Go Pro, and you'll see me walking down a country lane in Cumbria like "Hey guyssss, you join me today on the outskirts of Cockermouth. (Holds up GBG to camera to show pub entry, then spins it around). Here's our first pub. Let's go in shall we? Oh, and don't forget to click below to subscribe!" as an ad pops up for Gilette Razors, just to annoy the viewer but helps me rake in the cash. Music plays, landlord tells me to stop filming, and you can chart my decline as each pub goes by.
And then there's 'THE BOOK'. My Mum's been on at me for years to edit down say, my Pubs in Bedfordshire : Volume 1" experiences, put them into a nice tome, add a few pics, find a mad publisher specialising in the niche, and soon you'll see me in Leighton Buzzard Waterstones signing the bellies of 60 year old real ale drinkers up and down the county.
It is all just ideas for now, but now I'm a bit more caught up with my blogging, I can spend a bit more time thinking about what I can do.
Anyway, should all be a good year, sorry about lack of pubs and pictures, here's Bertie the Cat failing to kill his Boris toy.
Thanks and good night, Si