Another day, more opening times nerves.

My last tick in Rutland at the attractively named Empingham Cricket Club, which I’d already predicted some fun with on here.

This is what their own website says;

Epansive, huh ?

Luckily, they clearly mean the Sri Lankan cricket season, and I was able to confirm they’d be open on Sunday by calling the nice man in Rutland, which is possible despite the 30 year time difference.

I aimed for 1pm, allowing for the slightly relaxed approach of clubs in the Guide.


At 2pm, following a diversion off the A1 round the entirety of Rutland Water, I approached the clubhouse. Why don’t we play cricket in the winter when it’s sunny ?

Future test venue

No sign of life. Oh well.

Then they spotted me peering in through the window, and signalled me to come in through the entrance marked “Door“.

The look that says “you idiot”
Entrance I tried to get in by

I think we can justify the expression “Old Boys” here to describe the four mates who were trying to get the beer engines to work.

Join the queue” said OB1 with a smile.

Apparently the usual barman had gone off without leaving any instructions (“Turn it on and off again”, “Put the glass under the pump“),

A pub tickers worst nightmare

Ten minutes of vigorous pulling (stop, Russ) produced only water.  It’s bad enough to have unpredictable opening, but unpredictable pumps is torture.

I’ll drink the bucket of slops from last night”  I may have squeaked.

I explained I was from Cambridge and that seemed to explain things.

Eventually a bit of beery liquid came out one pump.  I offered to taste it, being a beer sommelier and all, but apparently Health & Safety even applies in Rutland.

Unfit to drink, tasted NBSS 3.5 to me

Eventually the Guvnor was woken from his sleep and reconnected the pipes or whatever it is cellar experts do.

Stack ’em up
Acceptable homebrew

A crisis, or at least a riot was averted, and 20 minutes after arrival I was drinking Greg’s Dambusters, because the half dozen Old Boys in front of me in the queue were too.

Calm down Ian

Yes, looking a bit like Bass and in a Bass glass.

And the Old Boys were great,  really chatty and proud of their club and it’s GBG place.  I warned them about the other two tickers though.



    1. If that had been the case, the local CAMRA branch would still have graced the Guide with someone’s shed, open once a month and selling a totally obscure beer that no-one’s ever heard of.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Etu, I’m sure the GBG does contain the odd sailing club, although you would expect such an establishment to keep slightly longer hours than an obscure village cricket club.


    2. Well then, if they had built the dam five miles downstream and thrice the height then there would be no Rutland, no branch and no need to go there.
      Just because Rutland had only six less pubs than Leicestershire in the first proper Good Beer Guide (1974), 14 and 20, doesn’t mean it deserves any in now.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “Epansive, huh ?”

    Quite. And is the lack of ‘x’ in keeping with making it sound like Epingham? 😉

    “and signalled me to come in through the entrance marked “Door“.”

    I can see how that might be confusing. 🙂

    “The look that says “you idiot””

    Impossible! That’s how my wife looks at me most of the time so it can’t be true.

    “Ten minutes of vigorous pulling (stop, Russ)”

    Way ahead of you. Luckily I got it out of my system a few minutes ago when I commented on Pubmeister’s blog that my wife is into Rod. 😉

    “I warned them about the other two tickers though.”

    Not to worry. I doubt Si will figure out the ‘door’ entrance thingy. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know CAMRA’s flagship publication is a Good BEER Guide, rather than a Good PUB Guide, but seriously?

    Surely the local branch could come up with something better than a cricket club which only opens one day a week during the non-playing season ( seven months of the year), and then for just two hours.

    “Shome mishtake, shurely? as Private Eye would have said.

    On a more serious note, entries such as this devalue the guide and make a mockery of those hard working publicans who work tirelessly to offer their customers, top-class ale, seven days a week.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As usual, Paul, you’re spot on. The presence of the Connoisseur Tap Room, open 11 Saturdays a year (and you’ve just missed one of them) is even more of a nonsense.

      I don’t begrudge the hardworking bar steward at Empingham recognition of his undoubted talent, but few will use the Guide to enjoy the beer and sociability.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Couldn’t agree more with Paul. A book presumably designed to take the unpredictability out of buying cask ale shouldn’t include places whose opening hours bring in a different but equally vexing source of unpredictability.

        I think we have to acknowledge it is at least possible some GBG people have read the articles about pub tickers and said, “Good Lord, these guys are trying to visit every single pub in the whole book! Let’s throw in a few ridiculous ones just to make life harder for them…” 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      2. There’s a pub two miles from me where I can never fault the beer,
        Landlord Peter has four handpumps on the bar for two beers which is always one in use and one in cleaning.
        [ There are also two handpumps in the lounge just informatively displaying a pumpclip on each, pints carried from the bar so that there are two not four lines in use. ]
        But with just two beers on – Bass and Doom Bar – there’s no chance of that proper pub being in the book.

        Liked by 4 people

      1. But how on earth are they getting through 3 beers in those opening hours? Even if they only use pins it’s going to take some doing to shift it all in time – unless team training during the week involves finishing off the remains from the weekend.


  3. Correction. The Tunbridge Wells – SVR Beer Festival, is a diesel enthusiast’s/annorak’s event, rather than a steam one.

    There ought to be an edict whereby only proper “traditional” locomotives should be used for such festivals, rather than dirty and noisy diesels which are prone to breaking down.


  4. Mmmm? Local branches reserve the right to put whatever they want into the GBG and diversity is to be encouraged. But, how can they keep the beer in the condition required for GBG on two sessions a week, with several days in-between? it hardly looks like they’re doing 70 pints a session from your photo, which is getting on what they’d need to do to get rid two 9’s in two sessions.

    Liked by 1 person

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