Not even Ted Hastings could've got to the bottom of the bad luck that blighted me on Sunday 4th October, my second day of pub ticking in the area in and around Basingstoke.
Every time I go away for any period of time, one day stands out as the unlucky one, it just doesn't usually hit as early as day two!
The signs were there as early as breakfast time, my first in this Premier Inn masquerading as a Travelodge. I stood in the rain for half an hour because they'd forgotten to book me a table. When I did get in, I got a totally incorrect order, as did every table around me. "Sorry, our 'chef' is having a bit of a moment!" apologises the Eastern European masked warrior serving me. When my brekkie came back, I decided to ignore the mountain of mushrooms, and pretended it was right this time. This was mainly because I'd heard the 'chef' screaming at the poor girl .... 'Bn' was short for bacon, NOT beans apparently. "Have they got it right this time?" asks the radiant lady opposite with chewed shrew of a husband. "Well yes" I tell her, "but no knife and fork!" I ate my fried egg with a used teaspoon before I could get someone's attention. Good job I don't do Tripadvisor reviews isn't it?
'I thought you wrote about pubs?' I hear you saying. Common misconception. Despite the ongoing rain, I was still in fairly good spirits as I boarded the train to Reading, where I changed for the aptly named Virginia Water.
Sounds simple eh? Well, that was until the electronic board, robot announcer and real life muttering announcer ALL failed to mention Virginia Water as a stopping point. "Sunningdale ..... Egham" it said over and over again, not sure where Longcross went either! I walked length of train to try and find a guard so I could check, but no one. It wouldn't have been so bad if I wasn't due to meet a Twitter debutant at 12 noon at V.W. station for a life to a pub.
I had to take action. I couldn't have the train whizzing past him, so I tried to to take preventative action and tell him to meet me at Sunningdale instead to be on the safe side! Problem was, he was already at Virginia Water when he saw my message, and it turned out the trains do all stop at V.W., so I needn't have panicked. He told me they just don't always announce it!
I felt rather silly when I hopped into his car, but hey ho. This was Andy Collins, and he seemed a forgiving type. A lesser #PubMan may've given up on me.
But we set off for the rural Surrey outlier, him giving me the local history en route, the teetotal W G Tarrant stopping pubs being built in the area for example.
Luckily, this one had slipped through the net ......
|Colin makes sure our debutant is doing it right|
|A proper pub, living and breathing|
|Not often you get a Ruddles on a Fosters tray and find it the most glorious thing ever|
|And thanks to the kind BMW driver for stopping to allow Andy to take this shot|
|Green for go!|
But as soon as I got through the door and asked a long haired guy for a table, he told me no room at the inn until this evening. Noooooo! The signs had been there, not literally. Andy hadn't been able to find one single space in the pub car park earlier. Sunday lunch. Brunning & Price. Centre of town. Oh dear!
|Not THE flood, but a similar one further down|
Would my day get any better? Would I manage to get 4 more pubs in before last orders sounded?
Join me on Sunday for Part 4, if you dare!