Yes, very naff title. I’m tired.
I won’t drag this one out (I will). For a start, as DES, I’ve nothing to say about the beers on Si’s Amber Valley Day Out.
Though I must say, the water in Belper was better than in Cambridge.
And secondly the banter in Belps was so good I took no notes. By the way, today’s cover star is Mark, #PubMan of the Amber Valley and our unofficial guide for the day, which started a kilometre west of the station outside Ghurka Express, where I parked up.
I like to make BRAPA do a bit of walking, and it’s hellish driving in Belper on Saturday.
Look how busy the market place was;
I thought I’d found a new micropub (No. 9 in the town, probably), but it was just a house for a lady with an ‘oodersfeld accent.
With ten minutes till BRAPA arrived to cheering crowds, I bought a slice of quiche from “Fresh Basil“, whose deli items would cost twice as much in Ludlow or Leeds.
Just like in the Railway Children, I stood on the bridge waving as the train from Derby crawled in at 12:04.
Si was stressed after 20 minutes trapped like a sardine between two Matlock miseries or something, and actually got lost almost immediately by assuming I’d parked in the station carpark when I hadn’t. “I’ve lost him !” I screamed to Mark, on the phone.
Si pretended not to mind the uphill walk to my Aygo, and to be honest he might as well have kept on walking as the Black Bull’s Head is basically another 10 minutes up the road.
When this place burst into the Guide a decade ago it led with Bass.
I blame Wickingman; he’s given Bass credibility and ruined it. The number of GBG strongholds that have dropped Bass, but kept the glasses and the mirrors, is scary.
Look at the concentration on Si’s face as he wonders what ’90s soap star the barmaid reminds him of.
Mark was already sitting cosily sipping some murk, or SOMA as it’s known now.
Si and I fought over a Bass pump clip from Mark, and enjoyed a decent all-rounder that was a lot quieter (and a wee bit smarter) than my Friday night visit.
A family of six arrived. All but one of them were drinking the ale, and the sole reprobate was about eight. She’ll learn.
Mark conspiratorially told us about “up-and-coming” pubs in the Valley, having kindly broken into local CAMRA HQ to get a sneak preview of the 2020 GBG extract. Oddly, these tips all appeared to be micropubs.
I suspect the 1990 Good Pub Guide would have provided more entertainment, if they weren’t all now Brunning & Prices.
Oh no, 491 words already. Time to move on to Bargate, and a musical quiz.