You’ll like the next few posts. Unless of course you live in Maidenhead and dream of a new Brunning & Price opening.
I was coming to the end of my West Midlands adventure for GBG19, and splashed out on a boutique hotel in Delightful Dudley (my term, not theirs).
Grand staircases, decor evocative of a bygone era, decent WiFi, clean rooms. The only thing the Station Hotel lacks is an actual station (thanks, Mr Beeching).
Yours for £22. Or eleven pints in Wetherspoons.
At current £:$ exchange rates I make that about five bucks; Dick and Dave will confirm.
I could have had a bed for the night for £21, but Booking.com described that as a mystery room to be allocated at management discretion, which rather sounded like I’d end up without the “heritage view“.
I’d completed the bus journeys (better than Fife), so from now on I was on foot to conquer my last 3 ticks.
Let’s be honest. Dudley is the butt of some terrific smutty jokes, most of them only suitable for Simon’s blog. But it gives great OS map.
Some great and unexpected Art Deco for the Jehovahs Witnesses,
micropub Brewhouse & Kitchen potential,
and some curious shops.
With its cut-price casino opposite the zoo, it’s not seedy, more sad.
Towards the centre there’s some glorious architecture.
It all paints a picture of a major town rocked by industrial change, the loss of transport links, and the devastating effect of an out-of-town shopping centre.
Friday night is quiet, despite the arrival of the Beer bus.
I don’t know if the bus was headed for the Malt Shovel, but it’s the only GBG entry in an under-pubbed town.
Yes, loads of beers, but no Banks’s. Never go for the Italian Grape Ale.
Unless it’s Fixed Wheel. It was cool and tasty (NBSS 3+).
It was also, after the little dance where the excellent Landlady says “Are you CAMRA ?” and then makes a mental calculation about minimum prices qualifying for discounts or something, only £1.39 a half.
“Mind ya bonce” said the sign. Too late, of course.
I joined the Old Boys ignoring the golf. It must have been a Seniors competition as that old Tigger Woods was in the lead.
A bit modernised for some tastes, as Banks’s pub often were, but there’s young lads as well as Old Boys and a singing Landlady.
And I reckon it’s not just the sub-£2.80 pints that bring them in.
Next stop, Brierley Hill. I warmed up by admiring the windows in the Lamp.