The snow cleared (if it ever existed; I blame Russian mind bots), just in time. One more day in Cambridgeshire and I’d be going crazier than Jose Mourinho.

If that irritating Solihull micro ever opens I’ll finish the West Midlands this week. Why is it always Solihull that holds everything up ?

But Aldridge Village is always open for business, looking as lovely as ever on Tuesday morning.

Moot House – keg only
Post box for Revitalisation votes – Vote “I don’t care !”
Churchyard – dead keg beers

I won’t make great claims for the “The Parade“, but it does at least have shops that people use,

Ron the Butcher

and some fine examples of British brutalism (that’s a compliment, Aldridge).

Car Park

No new GBG entries in mighty Walsall itself for a while, so the Turtle’s Head nips in to become the borough’s first micro, surely the first of many. The only competition in town is from the inevitable (newish) Spoons and the underrated* Crown Carvery.

Yer Spoons
Bertza ?
Yer Crown Carvery

For once, the WhatPub dot is in the right place, but I still walk past my target twice.

The Turtle certainly gives a boost to a dormitory “village” relying on the custom of retired gentlefolk to support a proper collection of independent shops.

Turtle’s Head

I’m learning to give micros time to work their magic, if they have any.

First in at noon, the owners apart, and it feels a bit plain.

One day all pubs will look like this

But a big smile from the landlady later, it’s growing on me.  People make pubs. And a look at the walls tells you it’s not a Herne rule follower.

Bargain Backyard

I’ve never seen Star Wars, but isn’t that little fella the Master ?

Five points for identification

My eighth rule is “Never resist the cheese and onion cobs in Walsall“, so  I don’t. A half of Backyard Divinity and a freshly made chunky cob for £2.65.  Stick that, Ashbourne.

Proper food

Within 20 minutes there’s a dozen folk in.  An Old Boy is told “It’s gone up to £1.15, sorry”, and it strikes me; the Backyard was £2.30 a pint.  Yes, they’re competing with and beating Spoons.  The Divinity, served in a wide glass, was a divine NBSS 4.

Proper glassware

But pubs are about more than good beer and cobs.  They’re about a non-ironic soundtrack that included the following;

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

“Never Gonna Give You Up”

“Eye Of The Tiger”

and “The Final Countdown”

And banter about the difficulty of finding wearable Peaky Blinders T-shirts “She ain’t got much bust”.

One of the pubs of the year, let alone March.

“Thank you Darling”  as I left.

No, thank you.


*Underrated by those who fail to appreciate the smell of boiled cabbage and the joy of being knocked over by screaming children, of course.



  1. Hopefully the name doesn’t refer to the situation where you’re desperate for someone to vacate the single WC 😮

    Or does it have proper bogs – I think we need to know!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The local lowdown: Aldridge likes to style itself as a village, I’d argue not. A friend described it as “Walsall’s restaurant quarter”. It’s a small town, really, full of pensioners, and slightly more affluent than the surroundings unless you count Sutton Coldfield. The brutalist architecture is a result of demolishing some very old timber-framed stuff in the 60s, but it actually works as a shopping centre, with decent parking and enough shops to get a lot of stuff.
    The Crown was previously The Elms (Hotel), and has been a bit grim for years: your current description is accurate, my blog (linked below) probably a bit too kind. The ‘spoons is quite nice, for a spoons, (and Aldridge was crying out for a ‘spoons) but the TH is a great place and deserves all the praise. Other than that, getting a drink in Aldridge means the Social Club, Cricket Club, a not-very-good bar, or a walk out of town. Nice to see Backyard East India on draught, too: you’ll occaisionally see someone from Backyard in there.


    1. Oh, I’d forgotten the restaurants. Mostly Italian, and very traditional. Wouldn’t have thought of it as a restaurant quarter with those top Indian places in Walsall, though.


      1. Technology is what we will all willingly embrace warmly once we are Revitalised. I believe the process is similar to becoming a Cyberman.
        Similarly, perhaps Daleks could be repurposed into KeyKegs.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Not had the pleasure yet, but the interior seems similar to Hail To The Ale in Wolvo, albeit on one level.

    Never understood why local purveyors of meat are called “family butchers” I should’ve taken my sister to one ages ago and saved myself years of grief………..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure of the details, but I vaguely recall there used to be some obscure distinction between “High Class Butchers” and “Family Butchers”.


      1. Time was when butchers were so abundant that they were able to specialise in one type of meat, poultry, pork, offal etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like Joule’s beer, and their pubs tick a lot of boxes for me, but there always seems to be something slightly contrived about them. Time will tell whether or not they do acquire that lived-in feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I feel the same way. Contrived may be a bit harsh, but I know what you mean. I don’t have any of their pubs round here to allow me to pop in for an evening pint and judge whether they’re pubby or foody.


  5. “First in at noon” at a micro, which is like four hours early !
    Was it a bit like ‘early doors’ or ‘lates’ before “all day” opening thirty years ago ?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not been there but that picture of a cheese cob is an early contender for picture of the year already 😀 looks like a cracker and isn’t Aldridge the posh bit of Walsall…which is in itself an oxymoron 😀 good solid track listing and cheap well kept beer what’s not to like? Be thankful for small mercies that Solihull actually has a pub worthy of a place in GBG ! Not been there and could well be a classic but I bet it wouldn’t get in Derbyshire quota…I wonder if it’s better than one of my old locals The Highwood 😉 pop in its about five minutes away…


  7. “Churchyard – dead keg beers”

    I see their crocuses are about on par with mine.

    “Yer Crown Carvery”

    I see why village pubs have a hard time competing. All you can eat breakfast at that price would indeed be hard to beat.

    “Five points for identification”

    Ah, the classic Star Wars/Star Trek mixup; straight out of Frequently Asked Questions:

    “Proper food”

    Works for me! (thumbs up)

    “and “The Final Countdown””

    Which is in the movie Frequently Asked Questions! 🙂

    And surprised you didn’t make mention of the proper beer mats. 🙂



      1. The John Aldridge shuffle before taking a penalty, I seem to recall him missing one against Cambridge in the early 90’s!


      2. He scored the follow-up, Cambridge won 2-1 in our spell at top of Div 2 (still called that then). I saw us lose 6-1 at Prenton 10 years later, softened by a spell in the Stork beforehand !


      3. Still called Division 2 in my eyes! I remember the 6-1, Koumas ran the show and Kitson got the consolation I think.
        Boreham Wood deserved winners last Sat, crowds of 400 in the football league would be quite something. Maintained our proud non-League record of losing to anyone in the top 6, which is why Maidenhead looms on the horizon for another season. Hoping Harrogate pip the Class of 92

        Liked by 1 person

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