Thursday 12 August 2021


Pubs just don't open in the week anymore.  That is the conclusion I'm rapidly coming to.  And it is not like I'm trying to visit a rural Welsh pub on a hill in early January.  These are places in built up areas, on main roads, at the height of summer.   I was planning a trip tonight, a Thursday, but I've had to postpone because one of the pubs on my radar doesn't open til 5pm Friday!  It ain't even a micro.  

Anyway, let's not moan, the BRAPA way is 'optimism rules all', it has to be this way if we are to succeed.  And you are on this journey with me, so if I fail, you are at least 0.001% responsible too.  

We went into Thursday 29th July with just SIX West Yorkshire pubs left to 'green up'.  Two were near-ish Bradford.  Neither open Mon-Wed, and neither had been open much at all of late.  Tonight is the night (as those famous poets McFly once observed).

I found myself in Shipley, leaning on a boarded up shop, nodding at a few tracksuited locals at a bus stop outside Home Bargains.  One lady, noticing the bus is delayed, rushes into HB for a last gasp Crunchie. She returns looking jubilant, bus just pulling up.  This is real life.  

The bus took me to Greengates for the third time in BRAPA history.  No one should have to visit Greengates three times.  Even people who live in Greengates.  Had I been clever, I could've jumped off the train and walked 12 mins from Apperley Bridge, but I keep forgetting it exists, being as it is, the MK Dons of the Northern rail network. 

Oh well, maybe next time, and there is bound to be a next time, because after the rugged Albion when BRAPA was still an infant (well, I was 35), to 2019's friendly but cheese-free Cracker Barrel, we now had this .....

Named after the road it is on, New Line, Greengates (1892 / 3321) was a pretty uninspiring small square room, with a nice black leather bench for seating, and a surprising upstairs room where the bogs were.  'Small, dark and square" which funnily enough, is the exact description that Daddy BRAPA gave my ex-bosses husband, both live in nearby Baildon.  The ale range was West Yorkshire solid, Tim Taylor Landlord or Saltaire Blonde.  Like what Wherry or Bishop Nick is to Saffron Walden.  I went with the Saltaire because I've not seen it yonks.  Well kept.  Let's big up the barmaid for a minute, bored out of her skull, I'm the only customer.  "I've cleaned every glass and every surface in the entire place, twice!" she later tells me.  Sad that it took 15 minutes for either of us to speak to the other.  I was just as bored, occupied only by the fact that roadworks meant the bus stop had moved to right outside the pub, which played on my nerves.  The fact that Piped Peter Andre (always better than Real Peter Andre) was singing the overly sexual "I Feel You" just made the atmosphere awkward.  She even went outside to see if she could see my bus in the distance.

I will read anything to alleviate boredom, but I won't read that
The roadworks were even worse than I could've imagined.  Before I'd left, I'd joked to the barmaid that I might need a pint bringing outside if it gets to half an hour delayed.  It almost did!  At one point, I thought I had a kindred spirit, this red faced jolly bloke in a vest - but he was just trying to cross the road to get to his local takeaway, sensible chap ......

Using knowledge gleaned from fellow pub ticker Eddie, I tracked my bus on in real time.  It was barely moving, and when it did, a short sharp burst then immediate standstill.  Definitely stuck at these temporary lights.

Relief when it did arrive, and transported me back to Shipley.  More annoyance at myself for not doing the Apperley Bridge train route instead! 

Back in Shipley, I was reminded how impossible the roads are to cross for pedestrians, you just have to take your chance and go.  No pedestrian lights.  Milton Keynes-esque.  There Shipley, that should've offended you! 

My 5th BRAPA trip here, and a bit like the Shoulder of Mutton at Lockwood last week, I had to triple check that I definitely hadn't visited this old classic under a different guise ......

"I don't even call it a pub anymore, but a real ale bar, functions & events venue" says the pragmatic landlady as she pulls me a glorious pint of a dark mild called Parachuting Hedgehog.  Welcome to the Beehive, Shipley (1893 / 3322).  Having taken a fair few photos and finally recovered my awestruck self from the splendour of this Victorian gem (one of the most impressive 'pubs' I've visited this year) I asked her how come such a grand place only opened Thursday - Sunday.  "Even opening tonight (Thursday) is a bit of a concession" she admits, and looking around the cavernous empty room, I can see why.  Eventually an elderly couple enter, but even they remark they haven't been here for 30 years and are very interested to see if it how they remember.  She even tells me Sunday's are a no-go too, unless a band is booked to play!  Mon-Wed, they hire it out for weddings and the like.  She likes the contrasting atmospheres for different events and explains it is the only way the place can survive, and as she's talking, it actually all makes sense.  I'm both impressed and heartened by their resilience and enterprise (they've even just recovered from having their historic windows smashed in the past few weeks - 'bored kids' she groans, rolling her eyes), but at the same time, saddened a pub this grand with good ale and staff who care doesn't have drunken punters swinging from the rafters seven nights a week!  

Crossing the roads was easier this time around, and I got myself back to York via lovely L**ds in decent time.  On the Friday, I'd be back over that way to see the new revamped Stick or Twist, a brighter shinier Wetherspoons these days sadly but still with a reassuring number of old scrotes, and nice to catch up with a few work colleagues.  The two guest ales on were from Essex & Suffolk and we were all quite drunk by the end.  

That all meant I was hungover going into my epic Hertford debut with the always lovely but a bit mad John Depeche Modem on the Saturday.  Join me for news of the SEVEN pabs I did, same time tomorrow.

Tek care, Siiiiii


  1. Lovely read as usual.

    Didn't you do the Beehive when it was Shipley Pride in the noughties. I thought EVERYONE did that the same time as Fannie's (as it were).

    Don't talk to me about pubs not opening, how do they expect to generate income or am I talking about outdated concepts when I mention income ?

    1. Thank you sir! No, I never did anything called Shipley Pride? Noughties? I wasn't really GBG pubbing regular like til 2012's Aleway Alphabetical Adventures, and S was for Saltaire (when I did Fannies as it were), and I never even made it to Shipley that day.

      Pubs don't wanna make income, don't be silly, just a nice little weekend hobby to occupy them in retirement these days!

  2. Those trains to Apperley Bridge are infrequent. Then its a steep walk up to Greengates, but you would pass the Stansfield Arms, George and Dragon and Dog and Gun on your way.
    Surprising number of 'and's in that previous sentence.

    Robin (AKA MadProfOldfield)

    1. Haha, AND cheers Robin. And would you call all three pre-emptives? Didn't realise it was a steep walk , that makes me feel errrm 0.01% better about it

  3. Happy to shoulder that 0.001% of the responsibility. Take it very (kinda) seriously.