I’d arranged to meet Stafford Paul and a couple of his mates in Broughty Ferry at 18:45, precisely, so it was time to get a move on.
Last time in Dundee, I walked the 5 miles along the seafront to my hotel (The Fisherman’s) in Broughty, a modest seaside town famous for pubs. Well, one of them.
You’ll be disappointed to learn I took the bus this time. £1.80 down the drain, would have bought my pint in Spoons.
I needed a bit of time to check in at Jolly’s Hotel, coincidentally also my new Broughty tick. I do like Spoons Hotels, they’re cheaper than Premier Inns these days, but it takes 5 minutes to check-in which is 4 minutes 50 seconds longer than a Travelodge.
“I assume you’re busy because of the CAMRAs ?” I said, conversationally.
“Actually, we’re busy because of the Doggers” he didn’t say. 14,000 BrewDog fans were staying as far out as Broughty, just as I did when I visited Aberdeen back in 2008.
In my room I surveyed my freebies. Yes, CAMRA give you marmalade.
Wetherspoons give you a nice clean room with poor WiFi in a Sodom and Gomorrah of a pub at the weekend.
I tried to save a table for Paul and Co. in the face of insurmountable odds.
The view from my unusually low table was the scariest since Royston Spoons.
To celebrate the CAMRA AGM Jolly’s had cleared the bar of Scottish beers and given us those lovely novelty collaboration ales. Plus Katy Perry and Cherry Bakewell Cider for the APPLE contingent.
I can only think of one reason I went for this weird Brazilian/Southwold nonsense.
Yes, it was 5.8%, which took it dangerously close to breaching Scottish Minimum Pricing limits once the voucher was flashed. Pub Curmudgeon can do the sums in his head.
It was also really dull, the first of several pints to revive flagging pot plants over the next few days.
Paul and friends, one from Stafford and one, thrillingly, from Sheppey turned up and we put the world to rights or something.
For about ten minutes before the squalor of the Spoons lured us to the calm of the seafront.
And the Fisherman’s Tavern, one-time National Pub of the Year and a classic when I visited as part of the GBG Silver Selection in 1998.
Grief, it was busy. Look how posh it was.
Like the Ship in Perth, Greene King have ruined it, it’s just a pleasant diner now. The burger was good, the beer was OK (2.5), the company was splendid.
Depressed by Liverpool’s smash and grab win at Southampton, I finished my evening here while Paul and Co. conquered the rest of Broughty.