On the journey up to Hull I was listening to the new Tracey Thorn album on repeat. Despite having proper song structures and intelligible lyrics, it’s my record of the month (a new and shortlived feature, no doubt), with the sort of confessional detail normally only seen on a BRAPA trip to Runcorn.
Tracey, of course put Hull on the map in the early ’80s, long before those Norman-come-lately Housemartins made the city more fashionable than London.
And my last East Yorkshire GBG tick for the year (there’s only half a dozen newbies each year, it’s no big deal) was just above the University on the map.
I was staying in the Cross Keys on the corner of Beverley and Endike roads, a chicken run across the road from two (count them) Chinese takeaways and one of those somehow inadequate Premier convenience stores.
You never know what you’re going to get for £28 a night. In this case, a mock tudor roadhouse with warm welcome, clean room and the promise of Stones Bitter later. I win.
The bar café stretch from University into town, and the joys of the Old Town are (thankfully) out of walking reach, so I’ve got two proper pubs tonight.
Starting with the GBG Lord Nelson,five minutes west.
There’s some very scary modern art next door that turns out to be the local college.
The Nelson is the sort of estate pub you rarely see enter the Guide these years, unless you live in Reading, which takes a more enlightened view of these things.
As usual, the GBG promises beery exotica like Backyard and Wadworth, but to be honest I’m hoping for proper northern beer and Friday night banter.
I get both. And that ultimate marker of a Proper Pub.
Inside a dark social club style room the only light comes from wall-mounted TVs showing the Rugby League to an almost entirely male crowd.
At least they’re all seated, bar the chap enjoying his IPA through a straw in the traditional manner. I hope it’s a paper straw.
I get a proper welcome, but choose not to upset the barmaid by asking which beer is going fastest. Who on earth would order that Camerons guest ?
The locals make space for me so I can watch Castleford demolishing Leeds in their own backyard, racking up four tries in the first 20 minutes.
With a decent Tetley (NBSS 3) with lovely lacings, and an Old Boy keen to tell me the minutiae of the parking arrangements (he didn’t believe I was staying up the road and had walked), it was a top half hour, even if I didn’t actually see any other cask pulled. You never do, do you?
Best line – “Has Cruyff scored yet ?”
I let Leeds fan Richard know how his team is getting on (26-0 down).
Back at the Cross Keys, I thought I’d watch a bit of the Holland/Netherlands/Dutch v Engerland match in the public bar. Bustling and cheery, even if most of a younger crowd were nursing pints more than you might expect.
There were half a dozen TV screens, just one of them showing the footy, which meant I was facing the opposite way to a crowded bar all watching the second half of the Leeds-Cas match.
I could have had Leeds Pale, but you should never turn up a chance to sample a Proper Beer, even if it is produced in Wolves or Leicester. Wiki says cask Stones was discontinued in 2011, so the product below may have been a dream.
It was nicely kept anyway (NBSS 3), and I enjoyed five minutes of England possession before my attention wandered back to the League, where Leeds were attempting a futile comeback. No-one notice the Lingard winner. No-one cares about you, England.
A genuine slice of Hull, and a highly recommended pub stopover.