But the biggest prize of all is the privilege of driving BRAPA and his green pen around rural village pubs and waiting 27.5 minutes in the car while he makes lifetime friends with local microbreweries and small children.
I met Simon at Huntingdon station on the latest leg of his Cambridgeshire capers, enabling him to recreate that famous day back in 1973 when the original CAMRA surveyors did Huntingdonshire in an afternoon.
Mrs RM would have come but opted for the Motorhome Exhibition at the NEC; I left Matt at home with a packet of Tesco Finest Scotch Eggs.
Having visited all these pubs long ago I could now focus on the joys of soda water and lemonade, just like Tom Irvin would.
Simon is a better passenger than my Mum or Mrs RM, whose conversation tends to be “Oooh”, “Both hands”, “Watch out for the cliff” and “Not the Idles CD again“. I gave him a guided tour of the new A14 construction site, which he enjoyed immensely.
He also helped me navigate a chicken run for cars across the A14 to the village of Leighton Bromswold (B), whose Green Man is back in the Guide after a lengthy holiday while some gastropub or other north of the county town gets repainted again.
“Village” is stretching it a bit, with 200 souls. But there’s a big church so I can’t call it a hamlet, which I know will please our superstitious Scottish readers (I have two).
The Green Man looked wonderful.
It also looked shut when we arrived at 12.30 on Saturday. But it was just taunting us.
Si admired the old GBG stickers. I took his photo in characteristic pose and then strolled off for a walk, leaving him to negotiate the creaky door himself.
I’d hate to be the one to upset the great man’s concentration while he homes in on nuggets of pubby joy.
Si had the Landlord to talk to, at least. The other 200 villagers were either behind their net curtains or headed to McDonalds at Brampton Hut. So I had the sheep to myself, as it were.
The church makes full use of the Bromswold (ridge), but would probably be too big for a micropub given the lack of Saturday trade in the Green Man.
Though the village library has more potential should CAMRA declare that all villages MUST have a micro pub by 2050.
If you thought Pavenham was quiet, the Bromswold looked like a plague had blown through, leaving an overgrown pub, phone box full of cookery books and one egg carton.
I’ll be honest; I was glad when Simon emerged unscathed, bathed in that glow that great pubs leave you with. Expect his report in early 2019.