I’m back home after a couple of days finishing Durham‘s GBG entries (just wait for the Stockton post and the Tango p**s episode). On the upside, I now have my mouse back and can write longer posts.  On the downside, it’s ten degrees hotter than in Stockton.  Which is still fifteen degrees too hot.

On to the Spoons, so famous that Dumfries has named a statue after it.

dumfries whatpub

The Bruce is imposing outside, ornate within, and the busiest pub of the day outside the Cavens Arms.  Nearly all boozing trade, which says something about the Cavens.

Better on the outside


There must be a few Spoons that aren’t in the Guide (outside the big cities), but not many.  Unfortunately, as Tandleman has found, cask in Tim’s outlets can be unpredictable.

The so-called “long pull” between barrel and glass is a factor, but here it’s more about local disinterest in cask, even though as here it dominates the eyeline along the bar.

And to be honest, if you’d had the Otter Amber here (NBSS 2.5) you’d stick to Tennents or Punk IPA too. Mainly Strongbow Dark Fruits and wine in a bucket, actually.

Still, it got shot of another Spoons voucher.  Mrs RM had the dry roasted.  I’d love to tell you that all human life was here, but to be honest most of the custom came from lady shoppers wishing that Dumfries had a Primark rather than a Handbag Heaven. And the coffee machine broke.

There’s a caption here waiting to be written

Ten minutes walk back to our campervan to check for squatters, pausing long enough to irritate Mrs RM by admiring civic buildings,


pink unicorns,

The traditional Pink Unicorn shot

and a longing look at the inevitably keg Burns Howf*.

Burns is from round here, you know

Some lads on skateboards were doing tricks dangerously close to our bumper, on the way to an impressive town park. Overlooking the park was the Riverside Bar , a vast social club of a place. Which meant a good mix of folk with cardigans watching whatever came between Belgium and Germany that day.


Good to see some local beers on the bar again.

Great hand pump on the Hen

Actually, I did have something local; you get 25 points if you can identify it from the hidden pump clip.  If I told you it was a lukewarm NBSS 2.5 you’d not be surprised.

By now you’ll guess the average score from my Scottish trip is edging below NBSS 3.

Would it get worse before it got better. After a superb seafood linguine and pizza at the Italian next door, I left Mrs RM to her embroidery to find out.


*Eek.  Just seen the Globe serves Deuchars.  Bet it gets in GBG19 now, just to spite me.



  1. “There must be a few Spoons that aren’t in the Guide but not many” but Tim’s GBG entries are declining year on year, even faster than his number of outlets is declining.
    I am pleased that I’m too young to remember the “long pull” in its proper meaning with a publican offering more beer than the legal measure in a bid to increase business.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is true, Paul. I think beer quality is on the wane in Spoons a bit, with fewer managers excited by real ale than in the ’90s, and of course branches (e.g. Stone) have brewery taps or newer brewery houses to include these days. And what would have been an “exciting range” in 2006 looks quite dull now.


      1. Beer quality on the wane and the food just about adequate but you can’t do much better in some high streets before 11am.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cask on the wane, Paul. Folks who drink “Elvis Juice” or “Green Devil” or Carling have never had it so good !

        Not to everyone’s taste, of course, but the newish mushroom benedict is excellent.

        And their staff, such as the cheery ones in Stockton and Pwllheli are unexpectedly pleasant and chatty.


      3. I agree that the Pen Cob in Pwllheli is one of Tim’s best venues,
        I never eat eggs but, given the choice, would rather have a Stonegate breakfast than one of Tims.


  2. “ornate within (top)”

    Um, the very top photo is of a pink unicorn. 😉

    “There’s a caption here waiting to be written”

    How about ‘getting the news the old fashioned way’. Not very good but then I usually need someone else’s words to work with. 🙂

    “Burns is from round here, you know”

    Get out! Really? 🙂

    “Great hand pump on the Hen”

    I’ve had all three of those over here (in 500ml cans).


    And here was me thinking you put a ‘*’ to hide the extra ‘f’ you didn’t type. 😉



      1. I could bore you to tears by explaining that I can only add my “Featured Image” the next day or it mucks up Mudgie’s blog roll and therefore the top image isn’t always the top image but. You’re bored already.


      2. Oh good, I do like consistency. Now you’re here, I must ask you this; doesn’t Simon look 5 years younger rather than older in his latest post. Have you seen the film “Benjamin Button” ?


  3. Think 20-25% of Spoons in Guide in total. As you say a much larger proportion from ones outside cities. I tend not to post about Spoons but think there has been a distinct downturn in beer quality across the chain. Last two visits to my nearest one have been no more than a NBSS 2. You may never again go to a place where you need half a dozen. Looks like a Broughton clip?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was a bit surprised the ones in Northern Ireland were sold, but to be honest there was plenty of similar places in Derry already, it wasn’t like opening in Goole or Barnsley. And the real ale was a complete waste of effort.


      1. It looks like a pumpclip fixed to the handpump so that the pub keeps that beer on permanently. Odd that because I would have thought that Old Speckled Hen sells well enough anyway.
        I’ve seen similar but larger for Wychwood Hobgoblin.


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