Having seen how I can stretch out a post where I spend 27.5 minutes in a pub drinking a half of lemonade, you might fear for the blogging generated by a meeting in the home of CAMRA with these pub legends;

  • Roger Protz – the best dressed man in pubdom. Oh, and THE GBG editor.
  • Pete Allen – Carling ambassador extraordinaire.
  • The man known as StephenPie even though he isn’t a Stephen. And Lulu.
  • Cheryl Coldwell – the crafty Yorkie.  And her irritating hubby.
  • Citra – the man after which that beer you always get in new GBG pubs is named.
  • Stafford Paul – keeping pubs (and Marston’s) alive single-handedly.

Oh, and Pubmeister Duncan, who’s only gone and done the whole book (though his record-keeping is so shoddy I reckon there’s a case for judicial review).

Duncan is the one smiling below; he realises he doesn’t have to go to Maidenhead again.


And the star of our show, a copy of West Berkshire’s premier beer magazine and inflammatory/inflammable material Ullage, of which more later.

Sadly, due to something called “Life” we were denied the mercurial presence of The Great Curmudgeon, which probably explained the paucity of pub cats on the route.  Oh, and that BRAPA chap was burning effigies of Catholics. We missed them both.

The day starts, as all the best stories must, behind a Milly Vanilli impersonator at St Albans City Station.

Girl You Know It’s True

Oddly, despite working down the road in the late ’90s (see: Harperbury Bowls Club below) and regularly having interminable meetings in the city hospital, I’d never been to this majestic station before.

St Albans.PNG

Luckily the train from St Pancras gave me an hour to line my stomach before the fun started, which was to prove crucial later.  This is the view from Café Alfresco.

Spinach frittata – Yum

I had time for a look around the grim, smoky terraces (joke) of Snorbans.  Little street art, but a unique furry drinking horn in Alexander Road,


and the UK’s biggest charity box, just for our twitchers.


Anyway, here’s the official route;

St Albans.PNG

As you read every word on here, you’ll remember our starting point from its Guide debut last year;

No, Si wasn’t hiding in the dustbin

Peter (the real one) was already there contemplating his first Carling of the day, and contemplating adding this craft glass to his collection in Stirchley.

That shot take whole seconds to set up

What a great pub the Robin Hood is.

No 1985, sadly

I could just leave it there, really. But here’s gourmet picked eggs.

ALWAYS go for the strongest

There also more younger lads here than you normally find in pubs at lunchtime.  They were probably in IT.

Shakin’ Stevens on the jukebox, shaking of hands all round.  We spent far too long here, but could have spent all day.  I was on halves after Bradford, and Harvey’s Best isn’t a beer to drink in anything less than a gallon, but still a highlight of the day.

But here’s the picture from Newbury Tim.  If you can lip-read, you’ll notice that Roger is saying “Why is there a lady with a pashmina on the front ?”.

Roger was a great sport

More later, you’ve had your 543 words; I’m going down the pub now.

If you want better photos read Citra (here) or Beer Leeds (here).  Ta.




  1. The train from Watford Junction gave me two hours to look around not only the far from grim Waterend “Tim’s finest” Barn but also McMullens’s uniquely named Peahen – so a morning not wasted before the fun started,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. About time you blogged on this. Am consulting my lawyers on the issue of record keeping. They (and believe me they are a top Grimsby based outfit operating from a London address shared with 55 other secretive organisations) have asked me to point out that I only err on the side of caution in the unlikely event I haven’t visited. Which leads to unnecessary revisits. I suggest our respective legal teams meet at a suitable mutually convenient venue to achieve an out of court settlement. My team suggests the Steness Stones Hotel in Orkney.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In the event of a stalemate, the winner is the first person to manage all the cask outlets in Orkney in a single day (during tourist season). I anticipate Brewdog Kirkwall will have opened by the time you both get there and will have a live version of barrel aged Paradox available.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I think you got Standish mixed up with Stockport in 1999 and have never been to either. Photos or you standing outside the Olde Vic with thumbs up or it never happened etc etc.

      My legal team suggests the Stones brewery in Sheffield (probably now a kebab shop).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought someone had swiped the 2003 edition but then i notice the wilderness years of 2014-16.
    Reminds of the time I did the 1985 London Marathon and got so drunk afterwards I lost my medal.
    It mildly irked me for a few years that my framed certificate had an empty insert for said missing medal until this new fangled thing called Ebay appeared and Herself said why not see if there’s one up for sale.
    And by jove there was and I purchased it.
    It arrived a few days later with a lovely letter from the widow who said her husband had keeled over on a training run but would have been delighted someone else got use of it …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. P P-T,
      Had you known in advance that you would lose the medal I expect you might have taken your time, stopped off at a dozen or two of the best pubs on the route and not bothered about the finishing line.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Two terrific posts making me think I really need to tag along! 😉🍻 Some fantastic pubs funny stories and you are the bill Bryson of pub blogging 👍 ( that’s a compliment) however best line is crafty Cheryl and her irritating husband 😀 comedy gold that I’m sure Rich appreciated

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, Richard actually pays me (in Bombay Mix) to write something derogatory about him in every post.

      You really should pop along if there’s a crawl within train distance; you can pretend it’s a stag do. Or perhaps not.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “which probably explained the paucity of pub cats on the route.”

    Or maybe some new Chinese takeaways had opened?

    “but a unique furry drinking horn in Alexander Road,”

    I’m guessing that makes for amazing lacings.

    “Anyway, here’s the official route;”


    “Roger was a great sport”

    I didn’t know rogering was still a sport. 😉

    “If you want better photos read Citra (here) or Beer Leeds (here).”

    Thanks. Off to read once I get my darling wife up from her nap for a power walk with like minded women. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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