At the weekend I drove Mrs RM up to her office near Melrose.
I dare say this is the equivalent of the journey Russ makes to buy milk, and is certainly less than some people’s daily commute from Kettering to Cambridge along the A14.
I drove the stretch to lovely Chester-Le-Street, Mrs RM kindly took over after that, maximising my new GBG ticks. And Mrs RM’s driving isn’t as bad as you might think.
Perhaps with spare time she can knit a tapestry illustrating our journey and the various pub stops, loaning it to Scotland in exchange for £44 worth of deep-fried haggis.
What made Northallerton such an essential stop was the knowledge that BRAPA had been there the evening before. In fact, if Simon wasn’t so litigious I’d be on his blog nicking photos like this;
Actually, that one is from the Pumpkin Café at York Station, probably a Si pre-emptive as CAMRA continue to relax the rules on “What is Real Ale” to include Tennents.
This is a solid blue-rinse town, generally resting on its laurels by virtue of being better than Thirsk, which hasn’t been that hard. It even has a Betty’s Tea Shop, but then again there’ll no doubt be a Betty’s in Goole eventually as the venerable chain becomes the next Harry Ramsden.
Saturday afternoon sees the High Street bustling with a top street market selling parkins at a third of Betty’s prices, and socks.
Mrs RM popped in the venerable Barkers Department Store to buy gloves. She’s a southern softie.
The pubs are all strung out along or just off the High Street, which helps Mrs RM’s feet.
As with Skipton, there’s plenty of attractive looking stone-built pubs serving the lunchtime shoppers, some of them overdoing the A-boards a bit.
More pubs than chain restaurants too, always the sign of a proper town.
Despite being hungry, we started at the Little Tanner, hidden down a scary alleyway. Because I like scary alleyways.
Very much your archetypal micro-cum-bottle shop, the Tanner gave a characteristically cheery Yorkshire welcome that avoided the “Welcome to my little pub” routine (that was on the piano), and gave Mrs RM time to digest the beer and crisp menu.
I diverted Mrs RM’s gaze away from the colourful display of strong beers.
A choice of 3 local beers suits me, so I bought Mrs RM the middle one, an appropriately named “Under the Thumb” by Three Brothers. “Mmm, that’s good” said Mrs RM. A sip confirmed her judgement. NBSS 3.5.
Proper seating, improvised beermats, Piper’s marvellous crisps, the Rolling Stones, Led Zep and Dylan. Perhaps a micro even our American readers could enjoy, then.
Some good non-beery domestic chat at the bar nearly prompted me to ask whether anyone had been traumatised by Simon’s visit the night before, but I didn’t want to re-open old wounds.
On an unrelated note, I can confirm the toilets were spotless.
On the way out, we met the bloke below. He was looking for Brian.
“Do ya know Brian ?”
“Have you seen Brian ?”
Having established this wasn’t a Monty Python reference, we confirmed we hadn’t.
You can see from the clock that this was a flying visit. We needed lunch. (tbc)