Mrs RM is off for her 3 days drinking walking trip to Kerry today; I’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t come back with enough material for a guest blog about Irish craft keg breaking into Killarney.

I snuck in a couple of days in Hampshire before she went.  Finding new GBG pubs to tick does now mean 2+ hour journeys, so the sooner I get some decent camping weather the better so I can make Dorset economical.

There’s a few reports to come from Pony Land, but I must first of all bring Dick and Dave the news that I’ve met Tom Irvin, Britain’s top #PubMan and sometime blogger.


Tom is responsible for the enigmatic weareegoingtolose blog*, but better known for being the voice of sanity in the comments on this blog.

I urge you to sign my on-line petition to get Tom to complete a follow-up to “Cheaterfiddle in Cumberland“, surely the great post title.  But even if this is all we get, like Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Miss America, less is often more.

They say you should never meet your heroes, but in the same week I spoke to Roger Protz about Bass, I talked to Tom about train stations in the Butcher’s Hook in Southampton.  What a week to be alive !

IMG_20170429_130124.jpgThe Hook was my last Southampton tick, micro pub opening hours stifling earlier plans.  It’s tucked away in Bitterne Park in the north-east of the city.

Butchers Hook.PNG

While the Hook roused itself for a leisurely 1pm opening I explored Bitterne’s famous community of flat-earthers.


I remain unconvinced by this argument, having been up Castle Hill in Cambridge, but I will bow to Tom’s Newtonian-level expertise on the matter.

Now I’m not calling Southampton rough, it’s no Maidenhead, but after briskly crossing the High Street in Swaythling I was accosted by a gentleman upset by my speed;

You got an attitude mate ?”  – “What !”

You got a bad attitude” – “What !”

You little **** ” – “What !”

Despite being half my age he’d never have caught me. And I’m not little.  Almost as exciting as being called “A little bugger” in Widnes.

Bitterne itself is plain , though this old chemists would make a nice micro.


If it didn’t already have a gorgeous looking one over the road. A tiling porn hotspot.


A very singular micro, though, with a beer list Straight out of Dulwich.  The Siren was a good choice (NBSS 3); Mrs RM would have been in keg heaven.


A classy place, something akin to the small crafty places like Heaton Hops and with a decent choice of cheese platters, and actual pub tables, one of which I commandeered as Tom approached.

Tom was accompanied by his shy friend Simon (who you may be familiar with) and Simon’s estimable father Mr Bernard Everitt, who were on their way to St Mary’s to watch the Hull Tigers play out a Nothing-All draw.

Tom, in profile, with murky treble Grapefruit IPA

I’m sure Simon will fill you in on the essential detail of the session, like hop varieties, ABVs and brewery history in his normal dry style.  I recall some shared hatred of New Brixton, folk who don’t walk fast enough, and the use of the name Hull Tigers.

Simon and Mr Everitt Snr were a source of unlimited amusing anecdotes about pub visits; Simon ought to start a blog.

On the big issue though, Tom was silent.  As Alan said on this blog,

Buses go into a bus station,
Trains go into a train station.”

Tom kept his own counsel.  Wise man.

*Sometimes stylised as “We’re going to lose today”


  1. Wow! That was a big week with many notables. Dave and I had a similar week last December. As I read along, I was waiting for a group photo. Simon must have it. Glad to see “train stations” still alive in paragraph 6. All of this, and good beer.


    1. A big week, a big month. No photos of me allowed. I was in that pub when Tom and Bernard were taking a photo of Si in the iconic pose. It felt like being on the set of the greatest film of all time. Ten points for guessing that one.


      1. Group photo with your image inadvertently in a mirror or window in the background would suffice. I will have to work on that film as nothing comes immediately to mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott, how did you know there’s a prize for the most comments on my blog ? That’s the only reason for you commenting more than Dave, unless there really is nothing to do in Leiden

        The Sir Frank Benali Chop House is a new Marstons/Ringwood pub in Portwood, possibly.


  2. Any bloke who gets up at 5am on a Bank Holiday to meet me on the Sandwell & Dudley rattler to Tipton deserves kudos, even if he was only drinking blackcurrant cordial!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s my old childhood chemist. Did you not make it to the Bookshop Alehouse? Southern Hampshire CAMRA Pub of the Year 2017. Bound to be in next years guide.


    1. Now you tell me (😱). I only just saw that on branch website. Never mind, be back in Autumn.

      That chemist was gorgeous, seemed to be used for mixed community purposes.


  4. That drink of Treble Grapefruit IPA looks worse than pig swill.
    I will leave that sort of craft keg crap to others who want to pay through the nose to drink it.
    Give me a proper bitter,mild,Stout or porter and day over craft crap.


  5. Alan, do not fear, the ‘treble grapefruit IPA’ was far better than it looks and was always advertised as cloudy.

    The English language is neither rational nor dire. The statement: ““Buses go into a bus station,
    Trains go into a train station.” is entirely logical. However, trains go to railway stations. I believe in America, where the language is more logical, they go to train stations.

    A pleasure to meet you Martin good sir. Are you willing to testify against Simon for kidnapping me in the private hire vehicle?


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