THE FASTEST PUBMAN IN THE WEST (OF EASTLEIGH)

 

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Forgive me if this post is incoherent; I overdid the many joys of the Isle of Wight yesterday, and I have the joy of an afternoon with BRAPA later. Pray for me.

A rather less eventful trip to Eastleigh, apparently the 9th best place to live in the UK.  Which just shows some folk have an odd idea of “living“.

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I stayed here a few times before starting this blog.  It’s on the doorstep of Southampton Airport (flights to Guernsey), and has a bargain Travelodge with a lively Spoons next door.

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Handily situated Travelodge

But despite being cheap, and having one of those ambitious Non-League teams we loathe (think Billericay), it’s a modest place, and as a railway town it felt more like Crewe or Crawley than Chichester or Canterbury.

It’s never had a Proper Pub in the Guide in my GBG life, so only to be expected that the newbie is a brewery tap.

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Park your wagon

I had 20 minutes to opening, plenty of time to bring you an Eastleigh highlights package. Starting with the view from the railway bridge.

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You’ll be disappointed to learn I didn’t have time to visit “Benny Hill Close“, inspiration for my blog title. But here’s a statue of some bloke. Probably BRAPA.

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The folk are all cheery, and the string of old arcades sell things people want.

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Plenty of Proper Cafes,

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Kat’s Kafe – future micro

fewer Proper Pubs.

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There’s a modern entertainment complex, but it’s the brutalism you come for.

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Future Brewhouse & Kitchen
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Officeland

Odd town.  It feels a bit like Frinton-on-Sea without the on-Sea but with added industrial estates and multi-storey car parks.

Very under-pubbed, so Steam Town must be a real boon to the town.

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10:59 am opener

This must be a real boon to the town” I ventured to the cheery barmaid by way of polite conversation.

“Oh yes ! It is.”  I love enthusiasm, and she was very enthusiastic.

Would you like to see the brewery ?”  Steady on now.

No, I wouldn’t.  But I did express my admiration for the seating nicked out of the 11:32 to Poole. I like it, even if you don’t.

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Proper seating

Hard to judge at 11:01 when you’re the only customer (what do people in Eastleigh do in the morning ?), but I liked the styling a lot.  Nothing on the cheap here.

And if a Cornish Orchards keg tap on a white porcelain wall is sometimes a sign of mainstream craft, there was plenty to attract the Coldwells too.

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Yeovil straws
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I can see the piano but I can’t read the blackboard

Sadly, the jukebox didn’t have “Fastest Milkman in the West“, but Eric B & Rakim’s “Paid in Full” was local enough.

Their homebrew was unexpectedly good; cool, fruit and chewy in the Hampshire tradition (think Flowerpots).  An easy NBSS 3.5+.  

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I had the one on the right

Just time to sink two flat whites in the Spoons and I was off, praying there’d be a working loo on the train.

45 thoughts on “THE FASTEST PUBMAN IN THE WEST (OF EASTLEIGH)

    1. Indeed.
      For a number of years I covered the Northern Premier League following the fortunes of Morecambe FC ( ” Save Our Shrimps ” ).I used to share a press box with an ageing scribbler called Dick Quick.
      There was just as much passion,heartache,romance and humour as the Premier League but with added blood and guts.
      I happened to catch that Salford City documentary on Irish telly last night and I was delighted to see Gary Neville,who I’d previously thought of as the dullest man on God’s earth,show passion and anger about the fortunes of a bunch of clod-hoppers.

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      1. One-time club chairman Harry Baines was a local butcher and naturally he had the pie concession.He’d deliver a tray of them just before kick-off and then adjourn to the boardroom for a large whisky still wearing his blood-stained butcher’s apron.
        Sometime when the action was really boring Dick Quick and I used to gamble pennies on who would win the next free kick – this was decades before people like Paddy Power came up with that idea.
        We once got drawn against Staines in the FA Cup and I was praying that Morecambe would lose just so I could use the headline I’d already dreamed up – and they did thankfully.
        ” Staines leave their mark. ”
        Happy days.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nope.
        Stafford Mudgie’s favourite,Melitta the topless dancer from the Moulin Rouge was the best thing about Morecambe.
        Our brief but passionate love affair soared like a supernova until she returned to Paris – it’s probably why I’ve hated the French ever since.
        Morecambe FC were mostly rubbish when I was there but they’re doing ok these days.

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      1. No, those are bus seats. These were deep-upholstered coach seats, although I think some of the springs may have gone. Talking of the Hop Pole, when I looked it up on Google I was saddened to see this report, which I believe was the former licensee. It certainly looked like him. I thought he resembled the children’s cartoon character Nutty Noah.

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  1. “Pray for me.”

    Send him the wrong way to the loos again. That will give you a respite. 🙂

    “I stayed here a few times before starting this blog.”

    I particularly like Fleming Park and Decoy Covert on the OS map. One’s where a bunch of spies hang out and the other is where everyone thinks the spies hang out. 😉

    “and having one of those ambitious Non-League teams”

    But not too ambitious as who would want to leave the Vanarama?

    “Starting with the view from the railway bridge.”

    Hard to keep ‘track’ of everything going on in that photo. 🙂

    “You’ll be disappointed to learn I didn’t have time to visit “Benny Hill Close“, ”

    Really? It’s pretty ‘close’ to the Travelodge. You should have ripped the dress off of some random woman and then she could have chased you all the way there, in memoriam.

    “and the string of old arcades sell things people want.”

    I see Mobility Plus sells ‘wetrooms’. That accounts for Fleming Park when you think about it.

    “fewer Proper Pubs.”

    With a name like Spitfire they should have tried to at least open up on Sopwith Road, a half mile east. 🙂

    “But I did express my admiration for the seating nicked out of the 11:32 to Poole.”

    Takes me back to my Club 747 days in Buffalo, NY. Airline seats, waitresses dressed as stewardesses (wearing very short skirts and their knickers over top of their hose) and on Thursdays (I think) it was a flat rate from 9pm till 4am for all you could drink.

    “Yeovil straws”

    Crikey! They’re starting to ban those over here.

    “I can see the piano but I can’t read the blackboard”

    Definitely time for a proper wash and scrub.

    “Just time to sink two flat whites in the Spoons”

    For a second there I thought you were playing pool. 🙂

    Cheers

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    1. Argh. The above was me (though most would have guessed that I’m sure). 🙂

      My browser seems to have deleted my details, on this and the most of the other blogs I follow over here. (grrr)

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  2. Rail carriage seating seems to be traditional in Dorsetshire pubs. The Avon Causeway (Ringwood) had 6-seat compartments, complete with sliding doors, maybe they still have…

    I have photos somewhere, but they’re populated by a crowd of very drunk Midlanders attempting the Guinness-Shandy-Challenge, so not suitable for a place like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But why just seats ?
      At the Spot Gate Inn ten miles from me “A big attraction is two interwar Pullman railway carriages (No. 75, Third Class Open, and Ursula, First Class Dining) built in 1928 and installed on site by Ind Coope in 1968 upon withdrawal from British Rail service. Lots of photos of their installation together with other railway memorabilia are displayed”.
      https://whatpub.com/pubs/STA/1955/spot-gate-inn-spot-acre
      And they sell Old Speckled Hen from the Westgate Brewery.

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