Today’s programme, a titchy affair, comes from one of our many underrated pub towns along the M4.


If you’re lucky I might get to Swindon before pubs return.

Duncan might have been a teeny ballboy at this gripping 2-2 draw with eventual champions Coventry.

Knickers and wafers

I don’t know, I wasn’t born.

Perhaps he made ballboy for the big match against Swaythling Athletic.

Giants of the Hampshire Leaague

I did make Elm Park, a Proper ground, AND the plastic monstrosity that replaced it and provided the UK’s most difficult stadium to get away from.

The most difficult apart from Wycombe, where the Women’s team have been banished for being tougher into the tackle than the blokes, based on their performance against City this season.

Royals as stolen by Lorde

I’ve enjoyed trips to Reading over the years; you can stay for peanuts on a Sunday night and the pubs stay open late due to by-laws introduced by the previous CAMRA chairman mandating Sunday drinking.

It’s a town best known for its GBG estate pubs.

Proper Pubs
One beer is plenty, sometimes more than enough

“What about the Nag’s Head ?” the hopheads whine.

Sir Quinno lives there, I believe.

Name these hands

You know that one.

I thought The Alehouse was equally magic last time, but that might have been the Duchesse du Bourgogne talking.

The Green Door Shaaky sang about

good mix of folk, but mainly pint drinkers, and a Sunday night trade most towns can only dream of.  In fact, for the first time in many months, I actually heard last orders called, which tells you when I tend to drink these days.

Pub life

Without conferring, Sir Quinno and I both went for the Good Old Boy.


And if Pub Curmudgeon needs any more convincing, the soundtrack was Jethro Tull and obscure Hawkwind, interspersed with what we thought was  Clannad and Kiri Te Kanawa after a ten pint session (them, not us).

I had even better beer last GBG year in the civilised University staff bar.


Just as classy was the Chinese takeaway from PAYA, surreptitiously enjoyed in the rather less classy but Dickensian Mercure George.


Speaking of classy, I really must revisit Theale.



36 thoughts on “READING – BISCUITS AND BBB

    1. That made me laugh ! You’ve caught me there. ALWAYS have the second pint, even if it’s 10pm and they’ve already sold a barrel of it.

      Have you met Quinno (Quinten of Reading branch) ? A great pub man

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I had to Google “Duchesse du Bourgogne”; sounds like a good one, pretty sure I’ve never seen it over here.

    Only now, thanks to you, do I finally realize which ‘Royals’ Lorde was singing about. 🙂


  2. 1964 was when supermarkets were local, BAYLIS with five branches and owner D. P. Baylis, Esq. a Vice-Chairman of the local football club.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Spent a long weekend in Reading, whilst attending a CAMRA AGM. That would have been early 1980’s – possibly 1983.
    I can’t remember any of the pubs, apart from a trip out to the time warp Crooked Billet, at Stoke Row, which was a car ride away, with a designated driver.
    A good weekend, though.


    1. T’other Paul,
      I thought I recognised you in Shifnal and Burton. Yes, Reading in 1983 it was !
      I got to the Rising Sun, Dove ( both Brakspear ), Walingford Arms, Cambridge ( both Morland ), Queens Head, Butler, Retreat, Fishermans Cottage and Turks Head.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Stafford Paul, my 1983 GBG is in a box, up in the loft, but I imagine the group I was with (Maidstone CAMRA), would have knocked off a few local entries. I will have to take a look on WhatPub, to see if I recognise any of the pubs you’ve listed above.

        On the subject of recognition, there’s a black & white photo of yours truly, on my most recent post. It dates from 1987, so just a few years after Reading, and was taken on the balcony of the White Hart, in Lewes. The occasion was Harvey’s bi-centenary, and the older gentleman, sat on the right, was the late Anthony Jenner – Miles Jenner’s father, and chairman of Harvey’s at the time.

        I am standing looking over the shoulder of Iain Dobson, who I believe was CAMRA CEO – if there was such a position, back then.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. T’other Paul,
        Our ceilings would have collapsed if my beer archive was in the loft !
        The Reading GBG entries for 1983 were
        Eldon Arms
        Red Lion
        Rose & Thistle
        Wallingford Arms.

        ‘Dobbo’ was best known as the Company Secretary and few remember that he was also given the title of Chief Executive.
        I was never as well dressed as you back then.
        “Had I been a life member then things might have been different” reminds me that I wouldn’t have renewed had I not been the life member I am thanks to the overtime provided during 1982 by General Galtieri.
        My disillusionment with CAMRA might differ from yours but I agree that “the “Revitalisation Campaign” proved a disaster and ended up making matters worse”.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. T’other Paul,
        You comment that the one thing you really do miss is receiving copies of CAMRA’s quarterly BEER magazine but, although it’s not the same as reading it properly, I think non-members can read it online by searching “CAMRA What’s Brewing”, clicking on “DIGITAL DOWNLOADS” and then “BEER DIGITAL”.
        I expect you might be one of those readers that goes to the letters page first !


  4. Made it to Elm Park in 1998, after 5 straight 0-0s, including the home game with City, and miraculously we won 3-1. New ground one of the four in the 92 I’ve not done. Not that I like football any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul, I didn’t normally dress that smart, but spruced myself up for the occasion. I also had my good lady wife standing next to me, and she wouldn’t have let me turn up to a “do” like that in my jeans and CAMRA T-shirt!

    You must have a good memory for faces, if you can match the Kentish Paul who turned up at Shifnal and Burton, with a person you recognised from a CAMRA AGM 36 years previously. I trust I wasn’t too inebriated, or otherwise mis-behaving, on that first occasion in Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. T’other Paul,
      I always wear a proper shirt ( not a T shirt ) and proper trousers ( not jeans ) but my jacket and / or ties are only for weddings and funerals.
      No, it’s the man on your right in that photograph that I’ve heard described as “rarely sober”.
      Returning to the topic of Reading I remember drinking Brakspears Bitter in the Three Guineas during my fortieth birthday in late April 1995 which I think was quite close to your fortieth birthday.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Clearly the post we were all waiting for. Slightly before my Berkshire days and I didn’t debut at Elm Park until 1966, but saw most of those players. Goalie Arthur Wilkie got injured in a match against Halifax in 1962 so couldn’t continue in goal. In those pre-substitute days he was put on the wing and scored twice in a 4-2 win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was discussing subs with my lad yesterday after Man Utd made five in one go. He didn’t believe subs only introduced in ’65 (think). “What did they do if a player got injured ? That’s not fair”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know precious little about football but when I were a lad no injury short of unconsciousness was an excuse to leave the pitch early.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. In the match prog. I notice the ref. was from Waterbeach !
    The only player from that line up I remember seeing was Colin Meldrum at the Abbey

    Liked by 1 person

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