Baps. Or Cobs. Or rolls. Or whatever you call them. But never muffins.
One of the best indicators of Proper Pub, along with mobility scooters and stolen goods, is a supply of baps behind the counter, available throughout the day.
On that basis the Black Horse west of Durham City scores highly.
You even get geographical confusion. “Hamilton Row” says the Beer Guide, though you won’t find that on your £1.99 atlas. More like Waterhouses, or Esh Winning, if that helps (No).
It has that classic “unimproved” Durham mining village look.
Inside, I’m knocked off my feet by a toddler on a scooter, and immediately asked for a long range forecast at the bar.
I sort of love what’s essentially an extended family gathering in a pub, but I can see the American visitors that Boak and Bailey recently warned about basic pubs may be a bit scared.
Hot pork baps for £2 and a genuinely tremendous half of Bombardier (NBSS 3.5/4) in chaotic surroundings with Formula One screeching in the background. I popped into the yard to clear my head.
As I left and said “Thanks”, I genuinely couldn’t decipher whether they shouted “Thank’yer” or “banker” after me.
I hope it was a bit of both.
Into the forest.