I was going to write about my triumphant Essex completion before I did this month-ender.
But then, it was one of those situations, you know, where Dad comes round to help sort out your Two Together Railcard renewal, and you celebrate with a pint and a half in the local Sam Smith's .....
|If you are watching Humph, I took this photo on a proper old fashioned camera, NOT my phone
And then you remember Grandma BRAPA would've been 99 years old today and get all misty eyed, remembering her fondness for gin ......
|It's what she would've wanted
And then you order her favourite meal, a chippy tea (well she did live in Brid and was from Hull), adding gravy as a side, determined to finally discover whether Jane Stuart is right.
And suddenly, all discipline is gone and no way you can tell your followers about a trip to the village of Steeple Bumhole in a coherent manner, so end up 'releasing' a highly edited month end blog you wrote two nights ago.
37 new Good Beer Guide pubs for the month, and I'm not even disappointed cos I expected a come down month. Proud enough to get a tattoo of it? Probably not, but pleased that I at least clawed it back in the final weekend with 16 ticks over the Bank Holiday weekend. 3 pre-emptives too, which to be honest, I cannot see making the GBG before hell freezes over.
|Cask Stones in Hull's Cross Keys was a 'rare treat', but the pub didn't feel very Guidey
Anyway, I'd already got my excuses pre-prepared.
1. No time off work all month.
2. August is the kind of month where friends and family like to 'catch up', which would be fine if they said "Si, let's catch up in Beccles or Winchester or Stone" but they invariably don't, leading to what I know as 'dead drinks' (cask ales consumed in non-GBG ticks). I'll just have to face the facts .... I'm just too popular (until they read this).
3. I'll admit a slight amount of complacency on my part after an excellent June and July.
|Careful if booking a taxi in Hull, it might not turn out as you expected
No doubting the highlight of the month then, completing Essex! What a moment that was in the lovely but strange Eight Bells, Bures Hamlet to green up that final pub, and thanks to all those who helped, especially Simon Dewhurst who'd got me round some insane stuff the day before.
Easily the hardest county I've done so far, even with the help of drivers! 16 miles I walked on that final day, ooof.
Another high point was finishing West Yorkshire for a sixth consecutive year, and was nice to meet Leon Foster, who made his BRAPA debut in that deciding pub, Old Grocers, Pontefract.
It was a highly sociable month all round really. Matthew Lawrenson and Cooking Lager came along on a rainy day in Preston.
And Lorenzo popped up unexpectedly at Aldgate East's Black Horse to stop it from being the dullest pre-emptive of 2021:
The best three pub experiences of the month:
1. Three Horseshoes, Duton Hill
2. Flatt Top, Thornhill Edge
3. Mermaid, St Albans
|Three Horseshoes, Duton Hill. Pub of the year contender.
My aim for September is to use my midweek nights to better effect, and finish South Yorkshire, which has been sadly neglected since those 'outdoor only' days of April / early May. Starting tomorrow so watch this space .... I have already run into a problem though and it concerns Holylandswaine buses versus my work finishing time.
|Can SY become the 5th county to fall?
|Dad in action last time out in St Albans, shortly before almost being forced into being a Freddie Mercury tribute act
Herts is the natural successor to Essex and although trips down there are few and far between in September, I have a couple of ideas in my mind. Hants is also coming back into my thinking, of course you're never likely to do your Bentworth's and Broughton's there and back in a day from York, but I think stuff like Portsmouth, Southampton and even Havant may just be do-able if I have like a 6am start and 9pm finish!
|South Hants needs a bit of lovin'
|Overnighter in BSE?