Contrary to popular belief, Tipton pork scratchings aren’t the ultimate snack. That would have been Mignons Morceaux, the flagship product of Phileas Fogg until United Biscuits ruined the brand.

Image result for phileas fogg snacks

In memory of the great MM, I walked the Medomsley Road* to the Royal Oak, slightly disappointed not to meet guys on street corners selling boxes of out-of-date Mignons like they do in proper places such as Levenshulme.

All happening here

Medomsley isn’t the high point of Durham, of course. That’s Witton Gilbert, birthplace of most of Prefab Sprout.  The place with the church on the hill isn’t bad either.

This is the first new GBG entry around Consett since the Spoons opened, with Durham manfully holding out against the craft bars and micro pubs infecting other counties.

The Royal Oak is a “Proper Pub”; I tell that immediately by the presence of a wake in the right hand side of the pub.


But the mourners aren’t hogging the pub (just as well, you have to pass them to get to the gents) and the Royal Oak is a cacophony of laughter.  I’m sure that’s what he would wanted etc etc.**

The presence of Workie Ticket has the same effect as Bass or 6X or Tickety Brew Rhubard Gose; you immediately know a pub puts quality over fashion.

Easy choice

As it sits on the bar, waiting for expert top-up, I saw the specials board.

Classic tight head

Minced beef and dumplings – £6.50“, how could you resist that ?

And it gave me an excuse for an extended seat on the bench.


Perhaps because I’m old, I find I’m drawn to pubs like this full of cheery OAP diners, glad they don’t live in the south where Doom Bar and dumplings would cost them double and be served ironically.  I can even put up with the excess of Sting on the stereo.

Significantly, a busy food operation was thriving, despite the draw of Spoons down the road. This was the busiest Monday lunchtime session I’d seen since Derby.

Plenty of drinkers too.  “Carling Colin” came in at his usual time, his pint virtually pulled by the time he got to the bar.  As Pub Curmudgeon notes here, Carling dominates the bar for good reasons.

Carling Colin

Had your hair cut, Colin ?”   You don’t get asked that in a Brewery Tap, do you ?

No doubt many of the OAP in jumpers brigade (includes my Dad) are sticking to J20 and coke, but there must be enough real ale selling as the Workie Ticket was a malty joy (NBSS 4).

This is what NBSS 4 looks like
Top head

No “beer sommelier” could have found a better matching than Workie and that portion of mincy joy at the top.

And few beers will leave better lacings this year.

Lacings arranged to represent the “Damnation of Faust”

A contender for Pub of the Month, unless Oxford’s Pint Shop comes up trumps tomorrow.

“Byeeee” said the barmaid as I left.  I love Durham.



*Google it, Dick/Dave/Russ

**I’d like my ashes to be fully integrated into the next volume of the GBG after I die, hopefully smudging Si’s copy when he uses his green pen


      1. About as much as the marched when Sam’s stopped Museum. There’s still keg Magnet, so it sholdn’t be that difficult to re-start. The sort of thing I’d expect to turn up at a Spoon’s fest some time.
        I once found cask Magnet in a Dundee nightclub, and it was in decent condition. I was gutted I was driving.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good comparison, though barely remember Museum (it was a good memory, though). Brad the legend in Hoyland gave me a free half of keg Magnet and I thought it was a malty joy.

        Which year would you say Dundee has reached now ?


      3. Dundee is weird, the riverfront is going to be superb when the V&A opens and the roadworks are finally finished. But behind the scenes it’s still in the 50’s. Beerwise, all over the place, but worth a touristy visit after September.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I once spent 30 minutes with Sting at an old Roman amphitheatre in the Bekaa Valley and that was about 28 minutes too long.
    For a man capable of writing such an exquisite song as Fields of Gold he is incredibly dull.
    Lovely looking malty pint – similar in any way to Bass ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should have told him De Doo Doo Da Da Da is his meisterwerk, he’d have appreciated it.

      Workie Ticket (CAMRA champion beer ages ago) is close to 6X or the rarer Stonehouse. Bass I find quite distinctive at its best.


  2. That is arguably the best external pub sign I’ve seen for many a year…pubs with people drinking Carling are nearly always more fun than pubs that don’t sell it…it even sounds like Ray Winstone’s character in Scum – what could be better than that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I walked the Medomsley Road”

    Surely the Vindomora Road would have been more scenic? 😉

    “since the Spoons opened”

    I saw the Spoons open for The Guess Who years ago. (heh)

    Definitely another goodun. And was the Swede (i.e. turnip) in the plate of food photo at the top?


    Liked by 1 person

      1. “But here,for Russ,is a bit of an explanation.”

        Brilliant! LOL

        Ok, I concede. Medomsley Road is far superior to the Vindomora Road. 🙂


        Liked by 1 person

  4. “I can even put up with the excess of Sting on the stereo.” –Now you’ve got me curious as to what the songs were. I enjoy quite a few Sting songs and sometimes think he’s been slagged off a bit beyond what he really deserves; but the voice can grate after a while, it can’t be denied.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not sure, but I’d place that one among the less irritating Sting songs. When he seems to be having fun, the songs can be enjoyable (Do you know “She’s Too Good for Me”?); it’s the “I’m a serious artist, everyone” Sting that I really can’t take.

        Liked by 1 person

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