Greetings. Six or seven weeks away from the 2023, we are approaching that time of year when it is hard to do your ticking without thoughts turning to what might be in the next edition, and whether what you are doing now is actually worth it!
A shameful 13 pubs from 1st - 26th August put me under pressure this month. I'm blaming punk festival, train strikes and work making me work a couple of (not very) #ThirstyThursdays.
In fact, scrap that. Let me spin it another way.
'RetiredMartin is getting so close to the finishing line as his recent Scottish highland blogs testify, I decided it'd be disrespectful to tick with any real gusto so decided to sit back, relax, give him his moment in the sun'.
There we go, that sounded convincing didn't it?
The Science Bit
A fantastic 20 pub Bank Holiday weekend tick-a-thon down in Kent and SE London saved me from total embarrassment.
I ended on 33 pubs, my lowest 2022 monthly tally to date, but with 7 promising pre-emptives added in (most of which were in Blackpool), it wasn't all that bad. If current projections remain on course, Blackpool will have more micropubs than the whole of Kent by the year 2090 - and that is a BRAPA fact.
I'm 52.4% of the way through the GBG, I've gained 332 pubs since the 2022 Guide came out (a record by 68 already) and I've visited 3920 pubs that have been in ANY Good Beer Guide.
My top 20 most visited counties are:
The far right column shows ticks done in the 2022 Guide.
Overall, it has been a brilliant ticking year so I'm too sad about an average August.
'On a thread, on a thread, it is hanging on a thread!'
Which pub will it finally fall off in? Or can it hang on until mid-late October? And if it doesn't, do I put a rubber band around it? Or do I laminate the 'new' front cover?
With much sadness and anger still being felt over the departure of Keane Lewis Otter, it is important that is natural successor Oscar the Owl hits the ground running. 8th September in Oldham looks a fitting place to debut.
One flaw with him, he's a snowy owl i.e. white, so any grime might show up over the years!
He's currently on the shelf, bonding with Colin, Pedro and Naughty Little Cousin Pumpy. Breckie the Sheep is in the kitchen - but I can't use him because of RetiredMartin's Baa Baa Toure which is a shame because he is the only suitably sized mascot i.e. small. Colin is a bit big boned no offence, get him on Keto, what I'm saying is that it is far from ideal when you are packing a rucksack for a nine day jaunt in Cornwall.
Meanwhile, Alex the Apple (2 appearances in 3 years, so very much the Steve Harper of BRAPA mascots) is looking to engineer a move away from the club.
|Alex the Apple|
THREE GOOD, THREE BAD
Pubs of the month? I'm putting these three forward for the year end ceremony on NYE.
1. Old Crown, Hesket Newmarket
2. Five Bells, Eynsford
3. Cock Inn, Luddesdown
And three that really left me annoyed and wanting to pull my eyeballs out or puke violently into the vortex.
1. Plough, Grimsargh
2. Yacht, Bexleyheath
3. Five Bells, Chelsfield
A couple more awards to hand down.
Most Appalling Glassware of 2022 so far - Voluteer, Bexleyheath
Sick of being behind on blogs? Wake up in the night composing paragraphs about rural Cumbria or snotty South London in your head? I do. It is, in 2022 terms, a mental health issue. I know that because #WokeSi2022.
So I've set myself a challenge. Over the next 3 blogging nights (Thursday, Friday and either Sunday or Monday), I'm going to give myself a word limit - not sure what yet - two photos max, and one sentence max on getting between pubs, and blog 10-11 pubs. This'll be fun. And tricky for me!
We'll see how successful it is, but I'm not saying it is the future or anything like that.
Getting stuck into counties this late in the ticking year feels a bit silly, but that's what I've started doing with Kent and South East London. I've got some very decent price train tickets, that's what makes it so appealing at present, being a bit skint from too many trips away earlier in the summer.
With Kent, I'm having to pretend that Faversham is the furthest point east at this stage just for my own sanity. Dover? Ramsgate? Broadstairs? Get in the sea!
I've also been pleased with my Cumbrian progress, though my remaining ticks are getting scattered and strung out. With a new GBG on the horizon, I'll likely leave it alone now until the World Cup .... Daddy BRAPA and I are 'in talks' about a few interesting trips and I'm sure he loved driving me to Hesket Newmarket so much, could similar happen again in December?
He's been sat outside a closed Red Lion in Lowick Bridge today with Mummy BRAPA, so he certainly knows his way to that one!
I've really buggered up my hopes of getting a fully green Lancashire this year. Don't get me wrong, East Lancs and Knott End on Sea are still on the agenda, but I've totally effed my Longridge and Silverdale hopes I reckon this time out. Not financially viable to travel over to either for the price of one poxy tick.
A shame, but I have made great progress so cannot complain too much.
And Greater Manchester is so close, I just need a Thursday. Sadly not tomorrow cos I'm working, but the week after, 12 noon, I'll be knocking on a bastard pub door come hell or high water!
September / October
TWO holidays coming up so my number will continue to rise before the 2023 GBG plops on my door mat probably third week of October I'm guessing.
It occurred to me I've not done a totally 'new' county yet this year so my second holiday will be in one of my zero tick places. I'll let you guess which one from the list of 11 below and if you win, which you'll find out in early October, I've got a little prize for you.
And I think that's a nice place to leave it.
Thanks for tuning in, see you in a random UK pub on Saturday morning. Time for Shetland (the programme, not the pub ticks sadly, how the 'eck is Tosh gonna get outta this one?)