Monday 24 January 2022


The Thirsty Thursday plan was simple on paper.   An early start, tick off my remaining two East Yorkshire pubs by mid afternoon.  Back in York for teatime for a bit of cooking, cleaning and blog writing before an early night.  Feeling Fresh on Friday for a day at work and my 'Christmas do'.  

That was the plan. 

But as regular readers will know, in the world of BRAPA, if it can go wrong, it probably will.  

Changing at Seamer was the first 'pain point'.  I can't think of a station I more despise changing at.  Every minute feels like an hour.  It is freezing.  The wind blows from all directions.  There are no amenities.  It is always a long wait too.  I've never been more bored or cold than when I wait in Seamer.

Had I used my brain, the bus that would eventually take me to pub one actually originated in York.  It would've been a long ole' journey, but less expensive, and a lot less Seamery.  But no use lamenting what might've been.

Once in Driffield, the closest town to my pub, just after 11am, I popped into Wilko's to buy a packet of biros.  I needed to write some stuff down about pubs in South Hants.  I warned Keane Lewis Otter that if he didn't behave, there were other mascots lining up to take his place.

Julian the Unicorn Owl is bound to get the folk of Stockport talking

The market was on.  That meant that the bus stop I was planning on using was out of use and I had to work out how the buses were being re-routed around the town.  I erred on the side of caution, and got one on the Bridlington Road.  Luckily, a wizened wise old woman was waiting so I knew I was onto a winner.

Our bus driver isn't the most convincing.  I press the bell well in advance, and he screeches to a halt at the Bracey Bridge/Harpham Lane stop and dispatches me on a muddy grassy patch.  A sweet lady who'd waved at a local man earlier, waves at me too, not wanting me to be left out.  Ahhh.   

A sign for the pub gives me hope ......

It is 11:30am as I meander down into the village, occasionally hopping atop the grass verge as tankers and delivery drivers pass.  Fighter jets zoom up above.  It is very rural.  I can smell the muck from the farms and fields.  

11:45am and the pub comes into view.  'Please open at 12' I silently implore.  Luckily, there's a bit of activity outside, looks like a beer delivery.  I walk past, pretending I'm not interested.

So very cold, my face is going numb.  Not much fun stuff to do in Harpham, where's the soft play area?  Instead, I head down to the church.  I love a good old church.  A bit like pubs without the best bits.  If I had a church ticking book you could highlight, I'd consider it.   A few curtains twitch as I take a photo or two .....

Then I see a giant notice on a board saying "if you see any mofos acting suspicious, they might be trying to nick lead off the church roof so get them reported" so I shuffle off.  Suspicious?  Moi? 

11:57am, I've waited long enough.  I walk back up to the pub ......

The door opens, I locate the inner door that leads to the bar, and I'm in!  St Quintin Arms, Harpham (2016 / 3579) and I immediately feel a weight lift from my shoulders.  This should by all accounts be my hardest East Yorkshire tick.  The barmaid smiles warmly, she is a good sort, that much is immediately apparent, I tell her my face is numbed by the cold, and she tells me she was at the match last night, sat on the front row, and freezing, not enough bodies around her!  "Didn't our change of ownership mean the fans had all come back and the ground was full?" I ask her alluding to #AllamOut #AcunIn, pleased to be talking to a fellow Hull City fan, but she says no (well, she actually says 'nerrr') on the basis the announcement had come too late in the afternoon.  I order a pint of Wold Gold (well, 'Werld Gerld') and she points out the little fire for my to enjoy it in front of.  Whilst obviously an old pub with old fashioned values, you can tell that food is a big factor here, as are cushions, it is a tiny bit twee (not Helmsley levels of twee obviously, but trying), but I do like that you have to open two heavy doors to locate the gents.  I like to be made to work for my wee.   I cannot totally relax, I have 25 minutes to sup my pint before my bus whilst staring into the little fire.  A male member of staff puts a snotty tissue on it and says 'cheers' when I move my feet, but nothing happens beyond that.  A cheery goodbye from mine host on the way out, and back out into the cold. 

But doesn't the song say that the Hokey Cokey IS what it's all about?  So why would anyone doubt that?  Or am I reading too much into it?

'Excuse me waiter, there appears to be an Otter in my paarnt'

Not the most convincing 'naughty corner ' in BRAPA history, looks more like you'd get a mild tickle, slap on the bottom and a salted caramel brownie

"You're getting mauled by the ..... lion?"

I'm actually very nervous about catching this bus.  Back up at the main road, I decide to wear my scarf  outside my coat for added visibility.  An ambulance speeds past, and then the bus appears in the distance.  I stick my arm out as inspector gadgetly / bionic commandoly as I can, and I'm relieved when I see her little indicator flashing as she pulls into the road junction.

Back in Driffield, I pop into the 'Spoons Benjamin Fawcett which I ticked with the great Tom Irvin in Jan/Feb 2020.  It is as unconvincing today as it was then.  Acceptable ale, staff not bad, but the customers are SUCH a miserable bunch of droogs.

The Buffalo is drinking soupishly

Tim tells KLO what to think

The train to Hull is on time, it is gone 2pm when I arrive.  Quick 20 minute trek down to my final tick (allow for a diversion due to the ongoing roadworks along Hessle Rurd), a leisurely pint, and then the train back to York.  Simple, right?  

You won't see these hours anywhere online!

It only takes me a minute to recover myself to the extent where I decide I WILL hang around until 6pm, after all I've come this far!

After all, it is well gone 3pm by the time I've walked a very convoluted way back into town.  

I've half a mind to pop into Tiger's Lair, but I'm not sure what the ale situation is so despite two toothless men trying to welcome me in, I squeak ' don't hurt me' and scurry on past.  

Next, a bit of drama as I get stuck behind two crazy ladies with a dog called Tilly.  Tilly breaks free of her lead, and scampers towards the road, luckily one of the ladies catches it up.  Judging by the waccy baccy fumes, Tilly was probably high as a kite.

I finally get chance to overtake them when they spot a pregnant teenager they know, improbably called Pauline, and stop her to ask how the baby bump is. 

In St Stephen's Shopping Centre, I have an idea to go to that upstairs Starbucks that resembles Dr Evil's lair in the Austin Powers films.  But it must have closed down because I can't see it.

Instead, I go to a Costa in town.  I don't want to drink too much ale, what with work tomorrow, and I need warming up, so I order a hot choc with a flake which is becoming a bit of Thirsty Thursday tradition! 

Hull being the ultra friendly place it is, the atmosphere is more Wetherspoons than Costa with old folk leaning over to talk to strangers on other tables.  A man, his wife, and a random third lady who makes no eye contact, possibly a swinger, sees my scarf and chats Hull City with me for a while.

It is nearly 4pm now, two hours until the Alex opens so I head towards the old town and pop into the Scale & Feather (formerly Walters) and it feels exactly as I remember.  Daddy BRAPA came here pre-match last night, gave it a positive review, so I thought why not. 

Two well meaning flat capped blokes, who I think might be beery visitors from West Yorkshire, at the bar aren't giving the staff a moments peace, and intercept me and ask me to have the North Riding Maple Porter.  Very nice.  But not quite as amazing as they are saying. 

Fellow pub ticker Eddie Fogden messages me - he's decided to capitalise on this new found Alexandra opening hours info, and is swooping down to join me at 6.  Hurrah!  Though his Twitter comment didn't flash up as a notification so looked like I was blanking him til he WhatsAppd me.  Oops!

The pub starts to fill up a bit as people leave work, and 5pm ticks around, so I go back to the bar for a second pint, where our flat capped guest stars are still being gregarious.  I decide to have a Roosters XPA for a change.  "Why, may I ask, have you changed from the Maple Porter?" they ask, looking seriously hurt by my decision.  I apologise profusely and indicate I'll try harder in the future to order ale more to their suiting.  

At about 5:30pm, I decide to head down towards the Alex which should be about a 20-25 minute walk.  Allowing for more Hessle Rd chaos, which blocks me off somewhere near Whittington & Cat, leading me down these industrial units in the back streets.

With much relief, I finally get back onto the main road, where the hi-vis yet silhouetted figure of Eddie is lurking outside an open door, 5:55pm.  Hurrah!  Outdoor photos taken from my daytime visit ......

Well, good things really do come to those who wait.  Having heard great things about the refurbishment of the Alexandra Hotel, Hull (2017 / 3580) , a classic in the pub heritage guide, I'm delighted to see it more than live up to expectations.  The two blokes greet us in a friendly way, despite making no attempts to disguise the fact that we are here as pub ticking types!  Good selection of ales too if that's important to you, the Revolutions Chocolate Milkshake thing called Swoon is aptly named, fabulous, and from very near Eddie's Wakefield neck of the woods.  I ask Eddie for a photo by lovely curved bar, and the chaps offer to light up the globe.  It is sometimes the little touches that matter most!  We walk to the left hand side, and the pub really is a feast for the eyes, opening up into a large lounge with pool table and sweeping bench seating.  Even the walk to the loos is glorious, a real rabbit warren of corridors of dark scuffed wooden panels, amazed I found the gents first time.  When I return, one of chaps is perching on the pool table chatting ale and pubs with Eddie.  I quiz him on those pesky  opening hours, sounds like it could be an ongoing work in progress, but he DOES tell me on home match days (Saturdays I think), they'll open 3 hrs before kick off, if that helps anyone?  He confesses he didn't really want to be included in the GBG this year, he feels it was one year too soon.  There's also a sense that when they started the refurb, it was just a little hobby, had no idea it'd take off like it has!  I'm sad that because of my fixed ticket train, I barely have half an hour to appreciate this corker, but I can see myself back here, which I can't often say of GBG ticks.   Fabulous stuff.  

Eddie and the dark globe

Eddie and the lit globe

Guest ticker, trying not to give KLO the elbow or it's a straight red!

Eddie comes with me and it is a mad dash to make my train just on time, he has to tick off the Kingston Hotel down in the old town which I first did in 2002 when they had that horrid 'Inn Brief' section of the Guide.  Despite being very Marstony, I like it and thought the ale was really good when I popped in a few NYD's ago.  So I'm pleased to see it back in, has a gorgeous bar back with an off centre clock, a bit like the Alex but smaller.

Train back all goes smoothly and just as well.   I'd left York at 8:30am, was out of Hull about 6:50pm, all for the sake of two pubs, and in both, I only had a maximum of 25-30 minutes in each!  If that isn't peak pub ticking on public transport, I don't know what is.  

Biggest mistake of my entire day was getting a KFC when I got back to York.  Loved it at the time, but to me, KFC's accentuate hangovers more than anything else.  And I'd been so disciplined with my beer intake too.  Boo!  Felt ill at work all of the next day, and had my 'Christmas' do to attend in Lds in the evening, back on the BRAPA on Saturday morning!  

But only one stat that really matters - East Yorkshire had joined South and West so we now have three completed counties for the year!  Where'll be next to fall?  North Yorks?  Herts?  Staffs?  Hants?  A N Other?  Place your bets now.  

Join me on Thursday when I'll tell you about my latest foray into North Yorkshire.  That is because this week's Thirsty Thursday is actually a Wobbly Wednesday as a kind man has agreed to take me to two GBG ticks and a handful of pre-emptives. 

Take care, and thanks for reading. 


1 comment:

  1. There is a very complicated scientific calculation that determines if you'll wait for an unexpectedly closed pub to open (x = )$a*7/8gbG) and I think the "Last pub in the Guide county" is heavily weighted in that.