August Bank Holiday weekend started a day early in BRAPA-land, as I booked the Friday off work for three nights down in London for more South Eastern pub ticking, my new modus operandi, since 4th July.
As I struggled to squeeze everything into one giant rucksack, it looked like it might have to be a two-way toss-up between Good Beer Guide or Colin the Cauliflower. Sophie's choice?
Luckily, I managed to squash both in (of course I'd have sacrificed Colin, but we don't need to tell him) and I was down on the London Underground for 10am, too early to check in, but no worry because one of my three remaining Central London 'ticks' was open and looking rather majestic in the morning sunshine.
Just around the corner from the famous Seven Stars and its 'ruffed' cat, it might be a surprise to many to see Knights Templar, Chancery Lane (pub 1822) the preferred option in the 2020 Good Beer Guide. Limited weekend opening hours are the reason I hadn't been here 'til now, and this plus the total lack of mention of it in the GBG meant I was surprised to realise it was actually a Wetherspoons. It certainly is one of the prettier ones, very ornate with a painted ceiling, columns, spectacular curved toilets, chandeliers and who knows what else I failed to observe. All overseen by a knight behind the bar. The temporary coviddy perspex screens were easier to ignore here than most. The Irish landlady had a friendly, dominant air about her, which made you feel you were in a traditional back street boozer, and she chased everyone around until they'd all test n traced, brandishing pencils and paper for those who looked like technology was beyond them. The ale choice of Greene King IPA, Abbots or Doom was poor for a 'Spoons (Hobson's Choice had replaced Sophie's Choice!) but I must say, that most maligned real ale of Doom Bar was in better nick than I'd probably ever tasted, and I do attempt to give it a whirl when I go down to Cornwall, and dare I say better than the beer quality I've ever tried on my three trips to the Seven Stars. Pretty much every customer had hi-vis on, ordered cooked breakfasts, and I felt lazy, like the only one who hadn't at least tried to tarmac a road that morning.
I got onto the DLR and was soon checking in to my super cheap Docklands Travelodge at East India Quay, not a great location in terms of the pubs I was looking to get completed, but decent links to Bank and London Bridge meant it wasn't too bad.
In a blatant attempt to get some good TripAdvisor feedback, the lass who checks me in asks me why I'm here and when I explain BRAPA, she stifles a yawn and hands me a card with her name and a smiley face on. Had she asked me about the intricacies of getting to South Godstone, I might've left feedback, but alas not.
After a bit of a lunch and a quick spray of Lynx, I was back on the road (well, rail) to the first of five Surrey outliers I had earmarked for this weekend.
I jumped off at a place called Oxted where the locals looked irritatingly smug in a way rarely seen since Stamford, and headed towards first Limpsfield, and then across a golf course with a busy road running through the middle to find Limpsfield Chart. Some wonderful human being had carved out a country path through woodland, to stop any terrifying road walking.
Eventually it opens out into a gravel track with some impossibly beautiful cottages appearing on the left, and the pub was just around the bend.
|Drama at the bar .... a brown ale is out of shot but there were two ales on|
|Prettiest view from pub to bus stop since I was up in Rosthwaite|
|Col sups his hard fought Summer Perle minutes before the rains came|
|A satisfying chunk to 'green off' (technical BRAPA term)|
|At the bus stop, waving farewell to the pub|
|Umbrella killer, right, possibly planning his next move|
|Irish legends and okay Harveys|
|Outside when I arrived, but not any more|
I didn't fancy that walk back so took a bus to Croydon South where I briefly entertained the idea of a long walk to a 'Spoons in a place called Selsdon, but decided with the rain still bouncing down, there must be a better option.