Last time I did a proper crawl in Leicester the city was on an all-time high.

A local CAMRA leaflet had brought in tickers in their millions,


an ill-advised merger between Leicester Tigers and Hull Tigers had been averted, and the Ale Wagon had started selling craft Prosecco from a help-yourself wall mount. Or perhaps that was Glossop.

Oh, and the Filberts were still basking in the glow of their thoroughly predictable Premier League win the year before, edging out City by a mere 15 points.

How times change.


See how far they’ve fallen in two years.

Charles and I booked into the Abbey Hotel a mile north of the central Spoons (the new Woolworths for measuring distances from town).

We were both thrilled to see it’s a Trivelles.

Bargain. And clean.

The nice man moved me so I was far enough away from Charles. You can never be too careful.

At 4.43pm we headed for town, my first tick due to close at 6pm. And we know what that means. ‘ISH.


Luckily Charles is a fine walker; it’s me who dawdles to admire canals and industrial estates and scary church graveyards.

“Probably the Soar, Charles”
No Abbey beer brewed in this bit of Leicestershire

Charles did stop to chat to the graffiti artist at the A6 underpass though, enquiring about Working Time Directives, invoicing and copyright clauses.


See what Joker has inspired

I bet the graffiti man thought Charles was an auditor. Oh, he is.

Christmas was in full swing in multicultural Leicester, which looked at its best at dusk.

Wygston House, which we’ll comeback to later,hopefully

It was 5pm when we reached the Two Tailed Lion, a few doors down from the wonderful Blue Boar and another craft bar that starts with “B” I can’t remember the name of.

Nice windows
Weird lights
Clean lines

It’s a classy craft place, with an upstairs room straight out of the Newcastle arches.

I liked the electronic display board and the tight but interesting beer range.

“Mega Lager”

Pomona and Pentrich (well-known solicitors) on cask, too, can’t be bad, and they weren’t (NBSS 3.5).

Leicester murk from Manchester

Despite having a nagging feeling I ought to get the other two ticks ticked, we stayed for an astonishing Rauchbier from Boutilliers of Kent. Charles hated it, but admired the head it produced in my pint glass (top).

Blue Monday” pumped out, the banter between bar and customers was superb, and I filled in all the gaps in my knowledge about Leicester pubs so I could impress the local CAMRA Chairman later.

More importantly, a chap called David recommended Shivali for our curry later, and he deserves an award for that. If I had a picture of David I’d stick it next to the one of Gordon Banks on the roll call of Leicester heroes.


For ten points name all 99 Leicester Lions.


      1. And you probably remember that of the thousands of pubs we’ve each used the Ale Wagon was on that day the first one in which our paths crossed.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Was the other pub beginning with โ€˜Bโ€™ the long closed Broood?

    Not so long ago the Abbey in its former pub incarnation featured on a fixture lists for the sadly declining, and unique to the City, Leicester Table Skittles.


      1. Ah! Rhymes with Blue Fog? When I do a mental scan of the pubs in that area it doesnโ€™t even feature for some reason…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Someone put an awful lot of effort into that “99 reasons to love Leicester” image– hats off to them!

    I wonder if you have the same memory I do about “Blue Monday” when it first came out: that it was the latest in a series of songs by different bands built around a relatively simple repeating 4/4 synth bass line. But then it somehow grew in stature in the subsequent years and is now regarded as quite an important song from the period. I like it well enough, but don’t remember it sounding particularly ground breaking when it was first released.


    1. I’m intrigued by your perspective on Blue Monday, Mark. What would you compare it to?

      They’d have been my favourite band at 18 back then and it sounded like nothing I’d heard before, and completely different to the much darker post-Joy Division tracks.
      I must say it took me a while to warm to it and worked best when I had the house to myself and could turn it up to 11.๐Ÿ˜‰


      1. Well I do recall it sounded radically different from Joy Division and that itself was a bit of a shock.

        One predecessor that comes to mind is “All Roads Lead to Rome” by the Stranglers, a couple months earlier; not precisely the same but certainly has that same unwavering 4/4 bass line thing going on. Even a song like Visage’s “Fade to Grey” has a bit of that repeating synth bass line aspect to it that, for me, made “Blue Monday” seem like a natural evolution of things rather than a surprising new sound. But there’s no denying it soon eclipsed all the other songs in the category, connecting with people in a way that none of those other songs could come even close to.


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