Only two days to the 25th, when I was really hoping to have caught up on the blog so I could start my extended highlights package, which this year will include a special award for the best pashmina (or male scarf, I’m no sexist).
First up, here’s my thoughts on the most recent BRAPA burst into the Fens (see his report here) the survivors’ tale, if you like.
You might think I might be mad to be ferrying Simon round rubbish flat bits of the country every month, but I need to be sure of a place in “BRAPA – The Movie“.
And I get a 27.5 minute walk in while Si does his thing.
Starting in the Townhouse, a surprise Ely re-entry into the Beer Guide (ousting the micro, for whatever reason).
This was a regular a decade ago with rare beers like Wolf and JHB and a sense it was promoting cask to Ely’s clubbers (I use the term loosely).
It’s an old-fashioned sort of place, the sort of unmodernised local favoured by youngsters you’d find in Humberside market towns, which is why Si liked it.
Simon was sitting at the front of the pub, rather than with the handful of locals round the bar, which I thought was odd. But it turned out he was just getting a quiet space to brief his team on ideas for his next blog title, something to do with Michaela Strachan I think.
I bought a coffee, cheap and cheerful though oddly served in a glass cup, which is like serving beer in a jug.
The beers looked very exciting, didn’t they ?
Simon hadn’t finished his mandatory 27.5 minutes in the Townhouse, as the train had met some problems at Manea, which itself is the very definition of a problem. I thought he’d probably just struggled walking up the hill (the only hill in the Fens) from the station with a bag full of Beer Guides and presents.
A decade ago Ely got a new pub. Not the Spoons the residents had voted 52-48 in favour of, but one of those dreadful Smith & Jones rip-offs that somehow seems to thrive.
I’m not sure whether the Townhouse or the Hereward has the cheaper shots.
I made Si walk half a mile to my car, parked out in West End to annoy him. Note he doesn’t complain about this in his blog as he doesn’t bite the hand that feeds.
I could have eaten my hand if the frost had caused it to fall off in the cold, but instead I settled for a vegetable samosa in the Premier shop in Little Downham while Si braved the maudlin Mackem in the Plough.
You’ll remember this is the pub which sets its opening hours to confound BRAPA, who wasted the equivalent of six months Wotsits money on a pointless taxi trip earlier this year. I’d also found it closed, twice, but at least I’d walked.
Simon got his tick, and his hilarious entrance through the double door. All I got was frostbite and a picture of Santa. And a microbrewery.
Next up – the fake cider hand pump.