Well, you could've knocked me down with a feather! Jury service finished, and I'm sat in BRAPA Towers having a leisurely late lunch, watching 1986 Neighbours, before logging onto work for the first time in three weeks to say hello to Baldwin, Coates, Ninh, and Johnson, and catch up on my 1,000 emails in readiness for Monday.
This new character, 'Madge' (she'll never catch on) is nagging the Ramsay boys, I stuff a third ricotta stuffed pepper into my gob, when comes the gentlest knock at the door.
I answer whilst still chewing, and it is only a man from Yodel who looks a bit like a bearded Yoda. He gives me a book shaped package. "But I've not ordered a ...ohhhhh .... ooooooh". Well, I'd not heard of one other person getting the GBG to date, so I am shooketh to the coreth.
Despite the temptation, I lay it to one side (sort of) for an hour or two, but I've been ticking and helping my less fortunate ticking chums who've not received it*, ever since. I'm normally amongst the last to get it, so about time I was amongst the first.
*Even those who've completed the GBG, are in Cornwall, but are still moaning.
As the afternoon has gone on, I've heard that it (the GBG, not RetiredMartin) is popping up in places as diverse as Poppleton, Barton upon Humber, Brighouse and Wakefield. I've lit a candle for those who haven't got it, I've felt that frustration many times.
Obviously, we are under embargo until next Thursday but here's a few initial thoughts without giving anything away about the contents.
I like the cover and design. To be honest, just having a 'cover' again is nice.
People think I'll be upset that the brewery section is now between counties, but I actually think it works better this way, less jarring than having what I see as 300+ erroneous pages clumped at the end, and it is worth remembering I've not errrm 'extracted, hacked, burnt or sawn' a brewery section since 2019 now!
The one thing I'm struggling to get used to is the counties being regionalised. I will, but after years of them being in A-Z order, flicking straight to say 'Devon' only to find it half way back is confusing so far.
The 'churn' looks bad this year! To be honest, last year, we got away with one. Probably something to do with Covid, but the churn was laughably low. I made insane progress as a result. This is a return to the familiar heart wrenching churn where you know you are going to lose big!
After Wednesday's Knott End on Sea finale, I declared on the 2021/22 season on 2464, confident I'd remain over 2250 (50%) after cross-ticking. Now I'm not so sure. Even in counties where I've built up solid bases over the years, I'm haemorrhaging pubs! 27 down in North Yorkshire, 17 in Cornwall, 18 in Hertfordshire. Essex has been kind, South Yorkshire not too bad. West Yorkshire felt bad but wasn't really. But it is early days.
|Oscar the Owl and Daddy BRAPA made history in Knott End with the final tick of the 21/22 season|
I'm having a beer break cos my back and head are aching, you get yourself into some weird postures in this cross ticking malarkey.
A couple of changes to my ticking this year. I'm using a YELLOW highlighter for my 'legacy ticks' (thanks to my friend Crispy for that term, thanks to Newbury's Tim Thomas for the idea), and will be using GREEN for my new ticks. If my GBG ends up looking like a Norwich City kit, I'll just have to deal with it.
Remember, any ticks I do between now and next Thursday should be viewed as pre-emptive and they will not be given a number until I've finished the full cross-ticking exercise, which I'd love to get done by Thursday. Blogs on hold til then.
And I think that's about it. Time to have a look at Central London, Kent and Lancashire before bed.
See ya in a random pub some time tomorrow lunchtime.