Nearly finished my January posts now; then I can do one of those big “State of the Spreadsheet” posts showing just how far behind Pubmeister I really am.
Throughout the day the BBC had been warning of six foot snowdrifts while the Express had declared a new ice age. I made my usual overnight parking space in Gateshead in a mere 3hrs 35 from Cambridge, slowing down only at Elkesley.
I assume Geordies still complain about it, but public transport in Tyne & Wear is designed for the pub ticker.
Whickham looks remote on the Navigator, but is only half an hour from the Metro Centre. I’ve walked to Blaydon and Swalwell from the best of the giant shopping centres, which used to have a Spoons with free children’s meals. Not much good if you’re 54.
Whickham is, in contrast to Blaydon or Dunston, one of the gentrified Newcastle suburbs. OK, I doubt their Premiership footballers (none of whom I could name at gunpoint) would pick it over Ponteland, but I definitely counted two pashminas.
Only now, reading a scant Wiki entry, do I realise that this is a town bigger than venerable Hexham and Corbridge combined . Grief. There’s a few solid pubs along Front Street, but of course the first GBG entry in my ticking life is a micro.
The One Eyed Stag is tucked, Bourne End like, into a little run of functional shops called the Square. Curry on the right, betting shop to the left. I assume Martin Rankin is where you find out who the best Martin is; I’m happy being just behind Luther.
Truth is, it took me 5 minutes hunting behind the back of the Best Western and the Gold Spice bins to find it.
But it was open. At lunchtime ! Like its near-neighbour in Prudhoe, a bright, cheery place, if a bit more neighbourhood bar than beer house.
Only one young couple for company, celebrating either Dryanuary or their house valuation, it was hard to tell.
The nice barperson said she’d bring my half of Citra something over to me. I prefer to pay at the bar if I’m honest.
This was my view as I perched by the window seat, where I clumsily folded up a copy of Ullage so I could stick it in with the Canny Bevvies.
Yes, high tables or low sofas, the real issue of 2019. Still, cosier than most micros.
Decent lacings, cool and tasty beer, if a bit sharp in that way that microbrew often is, (he says , like he knows what he’s talking about).
Lots of whispering going on, Si would have decoded it. I gave up.
Outside I bumped into a Geordie with non-hipster beard and black and white scarf who reminded me of my History teacher from Cottenham Village College.
“Scuse me pet, d’you know wher the One Eyed Stag is”
See, not just me who can’t find micros.
“Be kind on us tonight” he pleaded.