Tried to send this 9pm at night, but Twitter had weirdly suspended me for 12 hrs for saying nice things about Hartlepool, hence the unusual 9am BRAPA blog release time!
Welcome to the future! 2022 was upon us, and I've just got this feeling in my beer addled waters that it is going to be a great year.
By 2am, I decided it was time to de-party popperize myself and give my face a wash and get 6.5 hours of shut eye.
.... and by 9:30am, Daddy BRAPA was parked down below BRAPA Towers, ready for the first three Good Beer Guide ticks of the year.
I'd vowed never to try pub ticking on New Year's Day ever again after a dreadful day in Sheffield in 2020. In 2021, I didn't even have to make a decision.
But 2022, and I'd cracked. Besides, Blackpool away is always appealing, and the chance to meet football pub away day tourist guide of some repute Jane Stuart, well, how could I resist?
And you know what, being a Saturday gave me added confidence that pubs might actually open.
We set out over the Pennines by car, enjoying our Christmas Cake with marzipan and Red Leicester, washed down with some surprisingly strong coffee. Daddy BRAPA was scandalised to learn I was only NOW researching potential pre-match BRAPA ticks. "You've had all evening to do this instead of buggering about celebrating!" he moaned, like an old curmudgeonly sort.
Both required Blackpool ticks didn't open til 1pm, we were due in at 11:30am, so we needed something opening earlier. My required Cleveleys tick (a couple of miles north of town) provided the saviour when I spotted this on their (Delroy) FaceyB ......
We parked up around the corner, and I swear we weren't even thirty seconds out of the car when two youthful urchins smiled up at us. As I returned the smile, one commented "how splendid, are we going for a cup of tea now?" I was shocked, I know York is probably seen as vaguely more upmarket than Cleveleys, but we were hardly suited and booted, presuming that was the implication! All I can think of is that Dad's snood resembled a cravatte and made him look like the Lord of the Manor.
No time to dwell on that, as we immediately noticed our so called 11am opener is looking very shut indeed, at 11:30am!
|SHUT PUB ALERT!|
Nooooo! How could this be? They'd specifically advertised their opening times for NYD. Shows, you really cannot assume owt until you are inside the pub, although even then (see Hawes on 28th Dec), you are still in the lap of the gods / barstaff.
As we stand outside, I hastily type out a message to Jane who I've agreed to meet here, saying 'change of plan, we'll retire to Jolly Tars Spoons' (which I did back in 2017) and we'll try again at noon'.
But the moment I press 'send', a dishevelled looking family appear, unlock the pub, groan 'Happy New Year' through thick fuzzy tongues, apologise for their lateness, and let us in! "Jane, scrap that last message, we're back on!" I type.
Shipwreck Brewhouse, Cleveleys (1990 / 3553) is the most NYD introduction to a pub tick you could ever imagine. The bleary eyed Mr & Mrs Shipwreck explain they'd been to a party last night, and are already regretting promising to open today! We almost feel bad being here. Almost. "What you after, coffee?" says Mr S., seemingly unable to comprehend anyone wanting alcohol. When we say beer, he looks further pained and instructs their son, Young Shipwreck, to turn the beers on and serve us. Luckily a couple of locals have wandered in too, so we feel less bad! Dad's offered to help with setting up the chairs .....
|"Mind your back, mind your back, Daddy BRAPA..."|
.... but Mrs S. tells him not to, seemingly concerned he'll put his back out. I'm no help at all, just wandering around taking photos like the pub ticking scum I am. Finally we are settled down with pints, and a few seconds later, Jane arrives, the ball of energy this pub needs. I know immediately she's made of the right stuff when she address Daddy BRAPA as 'Daddy' - brilliant! I tell her it'll be a bit weird if she keeps doing it, and take her to the bar to choose a beer. We're still stood chatting five minutes later, as Mr S. seems to have fallen asleep against a wall! Poor guy. He also remembers the local with the nice dog who's been here as long as us hasn't had his ale yet either and is sat there patiently! Oops. Well, we sit down with good pints & nice chats follow, Jane gets me another, the middle blue on goes off but the other blue one is nicer than my first. Deceptively cosy place, and hangovers or not, the family-feel-micro that served Tamworth Tap and Brighouse Crafty Fox so well recently is in evidence again, creating a warm, easy atmosphere. Jane does her debut green stabiloing with great precision, Dad leaves a bit early to check on the car in case those urchins have egged it, and Jane encourages me to explore that back of the pub, which has some nice hidden rooms and outdoorsy loo bits including Hull City balloons (cos they obviously secretively want us to win). A good, amusing way to start 2022 BRAPPING.
|Jane's debut ticking actually looks like Col's getting a colonoscopy and Dad and KLO are the mad assistants|
Dad drives us down through Blackpool where Jane tells us some of the next Star Wars is being filmed on a Cleveleys beach, and weirdly, in the mild sunshine with that low sun, there is a sci-fi atmosphere about the place. Very Tatooine, if that's how you spell it. Maybe our next pub would have weird jolly monsters playing trumpets and sax music?
SatNav is being a bit of a pain, but we get to grips with the mean streets of inner Blackpool and soon we are at pub two .....
|Nice to see a pub supporting BRAPA|