SIDMOUTH – CONS, BUT MOSTLY PROS

I think this might be in my Top 5 titles, you know. Not on a par with the Rye one, but you lot never got that one. What’s your favourite ?

I’d never been to Sidmouth, as Charlene (not that Charlene) sang on Motown in 1982.

Good grief, what a coastline.

It was heaving, almost as busy as Lyme Regis on an August Bank Holiday, though that has the advantage of being 20 minutes closer to Chelsea and possibly offering more car parking.

An ancient busker sings “What a Wonderful World“.

It’s better than the Michael Bolton version.

Michael Bolton (or his tribute acts) would be considered as a young punk by the gentlefolk of Sidmouth Conservative Club, up the hill in a High Street more reminiscent of coastal Essex (hello, Frinton).

Conservative Clubs outnumber Labour Clubs in the Guide by about 80, I guess. Some are unspeakably rubbish, others solid, the Sidmouth one a minor classic.

I buzz to be let in without explanation, clutching my CAMRA gold card, signed in and tried to identify the craft beer behind the perspex.

Yes, it’s that tiny brewery from deepest Cornwall that the CAMRAs love.

Just Doom Bar, too, with the Otter pump turned round.

But the Doom lifted the Gloom (they can have that one for free), even though 52% of the septuagenarians were drinking Carling or Carlsberg. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Forgetting I’m a mere 15 years away from septuagenarian status myself, I wondered if I’d be looked at with curiosity, but one chap said “How ya doing”, the way you would in The North.

“Wahey !” All heads turned.

Fred* walked in, having been quarantined for 2 weeks following a daytrip to Barry Island (I think).

“How’d ya cope Fred”

“Just accepted it”. These folk won the war against craft, you know.

Rarely have I seen such joy; the oldies really appreciate getting their pub back.

Following the one way system, I walked through the games room and saw the Otter pump, with the Doom Bar turned round. Saving the Otter for the connoisseurs.

*Other names are available

27 thoughts on “SIDMOUTH – CONS, BUT MOSTLY PROS

  1. I think the Con Club bias in the Beer Guide can mostly be explained by the fact Trades and Labour Clubs have been falling over at a terrible rate in recent years, whilst the Cons seem to survive somehow. Round here at least. It may also be that a lot of CIU affiliated clubs still won’t let non-members in, despite slowly dying on their arses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Conservative Clubs have survived better partly because they are independent of the central party and can’t be used as an asset. Many Labour Clubs were sold off in the 90s and 2000s to balance the books.

      The Con Club near me is the only local place that has snooker and pool. And the only local bar to serve Bass.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. William,
        Yes, and I think that’s a bit like the Conservative Party Conference being a conference of the local Conservative Associations rather than a conference of the Conservative Party, or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Martin – well they let me in for their beer festivals (which used to be run by the Real Ale Classroom). But then you don’t like beer festivals!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I know it’s a “Good Beer” guide, but by their very nature, clubs aren’t open to all – unlike pubs.

    Plenty of old boys, which perhaps sums up the state of the ruling party. Wonder what they think of Dom?

    Like

    1. The “How’d ya cope” line was the point when I realised how overjoyed the old folk were to be back in pubs and clubs, sipping beer and joking with their mates. You can’t do that with pre-booked dining tables.

      Conservative and Labour Clubs (and quite a few other clubs like the British Legion) are just social clubs set up in the 20th century to cater for workers and political members. In many, the old political affiliations are long gone. I think most of them have a well known cask beer, a few appoint a young bar manager who adds a local beer or three and they get in the GBG. There’s not really a difference between the Cons and Labour in terms of likelihood of cask, though a lot of Yorkshire mining pubs would be keg, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “SIDMOUTH – CONS, BUT MOSTLY PROS”

    (slow golf clap)

    “I think this might be in my Top 5 titles,”

    I did slow golf clap so.. agreed.

    “What’s your favourite ?”

    My wife. 🙂

    “I’d never been to Sidmouth”

    And that’s all I can decipher from the OS map, especially at this time of night (and beer intake!).

    “Good grief, what a coastline.”

    Two metres for most, so that’s good, right?

    “though that has the advantage of being 20 minutes closer to Chelsea and possibly offering more car parking.”

    (slow golf clap)

    “and tried to identify the craft beer behind the perspex.”

    Blimey. I’d be tempted to fake a sneeze just to make use of it!

    “Just Doom Bar, too, with the Otter pump turned round.”

    No decision then.

    “Forgetting I’m a mere 15 years away from septuagenarian status myself”

    55? (decides to wander off and refill my glass)

    “These folk won the war against craft, you know.”

    Age is wisdom. 🙂

    ” the oldies really appreciate getting their pub back.”

    Partly because they know how much time they have left to appreciate it.

    “and saw the Otter pump, with the Doom Bar turned round. ”

    Oh., I say! That’s not cricket!

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a few hours in Sidmouth coincidently the week of the Folk Festival and walking past it were heard from one of the marquees a very famous Australian entertainer that of course we had no idea would later be residing in Stafford Gaol !

      Liked by 1 person

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