Apologies for this bombardment. Even the Rt. Hon. Martin Taylor doesn't give you THREE blogs in one evening. I don't think. I just need to be 'playing catch up' as a wise man once said, so I have a fresh mind before my epic BRAPA holiday begins tomorrow.
|A wise man (for a second time in BRAPA this week!)|
If completing Essex doesn't kill me, then County Durham certainly may. 8 pubs left at the start of play on Saturday 19th June, dotted around all over the place, thank goodness for the kind chauffeuring skills of Daddy BRAPA.
Having said that, one of the eight was so near Northumberland, it made sense to do two Northumberland ticks first!
The roads were wild, wicked and winding. The sheep looked mean. But we were on track for noon opening as we passed the Derwent Reservoir.
There can't be too many prettier villages than Blanchland, surely?
Folk seemed to agree, the car park was chock a block. A few stragglers lurked on benches outside the pub waiting for noon opening. But they vanished as soon as me and Colin stepped up for the official BRAPA photo (funny how often that happens!)
|Was it something I said?|
Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland (1804 / 3233) was a pub worthy of the village, and as I tentatively pushed the door at 11:57am, a women on a reception desk who looked like a Marie showed us through to these stunning outdoor grounds (I'd call it a beer garden but it was sort of beyond that). Felt a bit like drinking at a French castle. A nice jug of Twice Brewed bitter reminded me I wasn't. There's a wedding pre-amble going on, just like last week at Roydon, hope this isn't gonna be a theme all summer. Indoors is similarly stunning. "Wow, beautiful pub!" I say stepping up to take photo of bar. "Cheers mate appreciate it!" says barman. Errrm, I was complimenting the pub, ACTUALLY!
Pub two was also classed as Northumberland ......
Manor House Inn, Carterway Heads (1805 / 3234) was the only slightly weak pub of the day, a fairly average roadhouse with no discernible character. A Fake Eddie Fogden (FEF) said 'alreet' on entrance, the staff were a little bit jumpy and I think, a bit eavesdroppy, possibly suspecting we were the locals CAMRAS here to strike them down! After all, I had a GBG on the table, and we discussed at length how Wainwright (the only beer on) has declined over the years. Not kept badly. just a poor beer these days. Watery. FEF failed to wash his hands after a wee, hope the real one (REF) does when I meet him Sun/Mon in Essex pubs! Tim Taylor Landlord was just going on as we left, bet it was great, typical!
|Don't smile before you've tried it dickhead, remember what I said last week!|
|FEF and mate|
|Useful wall map as phone signal was zero|
We'd already passed this next pub twice, but my excitement was building, as this was perhaps my hardest of the eight remaining Durham ticks I needed .....
In the absence of a pub frontage (or pub indoors) at the highly unique Baa, Edmundbyers (1806 / 3235) , note the statues which I think Dad was hoping were some ancient 10th century mystery, but when I asked, she tells me they've got them from the ITV series Beowulf which was filmed nearby. We loved them anyway! The garden was undulating, most benches were taken, some people ate pizzas from a van on outdoor settees, the Sandpiper from Cullercoats was a fabulous drop, and an old local called Brian lolloped around from table to table, so much like that "this week, I've been mostly eating...." guy off the Fast Show. Enjoyable place this, a real return to form!
|Craft beer options at the Baa|
|Guess who ended up with coal on his backside?|
|Don't read Dad's card details, thanks|
|Oi dickhead, stop smiling and turn around, pub is shut!|
|Strawberry to ice cream ratio was surprisingly weighted in strawbs favour|