TWO “SUBSTANTIAL MEALS” IN TWO HOURS – IT CAN’T END WELL

Do you want to take me out for tea ?” said Mrs RM. You’re right, it wasn’t a question.

Normally that means “Drive me to the Wrestlers for 2 pints and a Pad Thai“.

But it fills up early at the Wrestlers, and football with fans was returning over the road at the Abbey, and the Haymakers is James’s favourite for its strong local beer giant calzones.

Haymakers.PNG

The Haymakers had also opened at 4pm, which meant a mere 2 hours after that fishfinger sandwich I was facing another substantial meal in my quest to save pubs.

I’ve wrote about this Milton Brewery flagship (well, founder Richard always seems to be there) a lot. BRAPA thought it was a bit upmarket, but then he comes from York.

But why exactly was it so busy with students?  It was like University Challenge pre-season training.  Had they not got homes to go to?  There’s none left in York or L**ds I can tell you!  But not only students, this was a who’s who of top Cambs twat life.  Cyclists, Joggers and Lecturers all milled about like bad smells, like the bad smells wafting from the gents every time an incontinent student evacuated their bowels which seemed far too regular for your average pub session.  I felt thoroughly miserable.” BRAPA, not me.

Milton (actually they’re in Waterbeach) have had a tough time this pandemic and the stop-start-stop-start hasn’t helped their pubs, which really are your best bet for beer in Chesterton and Queens Edith’s. But they’re a resilient lot.

Turning up at 4.50 meant we didn’t have to sit in the garden and had a great view of the perspex.

All ordering and payment on line, and some bar snacks (focaccia, chunky chips etc) skilfully elevated to the hallowed “substantial meal” category.

I’m sorry to say I succumbed to the full monty of the giant calzone, as you never know when your last meal is. Certainly not when you live with Mrs RM, you don’t.

Mrs RM had a couple of excellent pints of Minerva and nicked my Pegasus and seemed a bit jolly by the time we left. It’s a good job they took the 7.5% Marcus Aurelius off when they saw her coming.

I found the calzone a bit hard going, but manfully finished it despite James trying to nick mine.

Even better, the landlady and team seemed jolly as well, so we’ll be back soon.

And next time, I’ll leave by the right door, I stood here 5 minutes wondering where everyone else had gone before they emerged from the garden.

Just as well we didn’t have a 3rd pub to go to, my tummy would have exploded.

For now, high volume pub ticking is dead. And that’s a tragedy.

20 thoughts on “TWO “SUBSTANTIAL MEALS” IN TWO HOURS – IT CAN’T END WELL

  1. That’s the difference between rural Cambridgeshire and the Black Country.
    You’ve got the Haymakers but Walsall had Banks’s’s’s Hamemakers Arms, a hame being a curved piece of wood or metal which is put round the neck of a draught horse.
    Walsall is now better known for making the Queen’s handbags.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I still don’t get the meal requirement. Number of people, time, distance and masking are the variables. Very strange thing to have as a restriction.

    Like

    1. Dave,

      Don’t let these patronising snobs kill off the great British local
      By Bill Wright
      November 30, 2020

      WOODHOUSE Street, Nottingham, was where my late father was born in 1934 and brought up. It was rammed full of two-up-two-down narrow terrace houses. Each had a coal cellar but no bathroom or kitchen. The khazi was in a shed across the rear yard. ‘Central heating’ was a fireplace in the living room. My father, being the youngest, slept in the attic where a glass of water would freeze over during winter nights.

      I used to visit as a kid regularly and loved it. Such an inclusive atmosphere, inside the house and out on the street, but of course I never had to sleep over in near-freezing temperatures. Even with a blazing fire downstairs it was a seriously cold house. Fortunately my grandfather was an ex-miner so his family got a deal on coal, unlike so many others in the neighbourhood.

      At the top of the street was ‘The Alcester’, the local public house. It was always warm and welcoming. For many residents of Woodhouse Street and around, this was a compelling option in the evening. Warmth, hospitality and companionship with your neighbours. An inclusive atmosphere to build strong friendships and make sure everyone was taken care of. If you had the discipline to take it easy on the booze, in theory you could even save money on fuel for your domestic fire. Lots of folk used to go just ‘for the last hour’ to warm up before bed and enjoy the convivial atmosphere of those who had been imbibing for longer. Most widowers and many widows would spend lots of time in there. Where else would they rather be? In fact the place was so important to their working-class roots that my parents named our house ‘Alcester’.

      But here is the thing. Public schoolboys, middle-class professionals and most university academics will never understand on a personal level the critical importance of a pub to the community. They drink expensive wine at home and would never think to step inside a regular hostelry unless it had re-invented itself as some kind of ‘gastro pub’, complete with chef and pretentious menu.

      This is where the deeply divisive ‘substantial meal’ condition for Tier 2 comes from. It reveals a high degree of snobbery and outright condescension for anyone who might want to drop in to a pub for just a drink. Quite possibly that is because so many ordinary people simply cannot afford a ‘substantial meal’ out on a regular basis. But they are, like myself on occasion, often quite desperate for some friendly company in comfortable surroundings. Just like the Alcester used to be at the top of Woodhouse Street; very often much more appealing than one’s own domestic circumstances.

      The likes of Johnson, his political cronies, Sage members and every single one of the political class all have three things in common. Big fat salaries, big fat guaranteed pensions and big expensive homes that are a pleasure to occupy. Why would anyone in their right mind want to patronise a grubby, noisy pub full of the uncouth working class when you have absolutely everything you need right there in your beautiful home?

      It makes no sense at all to them, so it is not surprising that they have found the arrogance to insist that pubs in Tier 2 (most of the country) must serve a ‘substantial meal’ in order to trade. So if the pub is not some kind of glorified restaurant it can basically just sod off and die. And good riddance. Along with all the scummy working-class customers. All of whom are regarded widely as common pissheads and lager louts who should have learned to appreciate fine wines and nibbles at home instead.

      You can probably appreciate that I am incensed by this arrogance. So many pubs are still a social lifeline for ordinary people in the neighbourhood. A welcoming place in which to find companionship, humour and temporary respite from what is very often a mundane existence. A deep social need that often grows with age, especially once the social networks of employment are no longer a regular part of life. Take it away and what remains is an utterly miserable outlook.

      In contrast to Woodhouse Street, I grew up in a village in Norfolk. Very happily in fact, and I remember my father observing: ‘In a small community like this, there are always three key people – the vicar, the schoolmaster and the publican. As long as two out of three are popular, the village will thrive.’

      It seems to me that the role of the typical Church of England vicar has become less relevant as the years have ticked by, probably due to the church’s destructive focus on political correctness rather than spiritual priorities and Bible lessons. Which in many cases leaves just the schoolmaster/mistress and the publican to represent beacons of light in what can be a very dark world. So what I find truly unforgivable is this Government’s agenda, deliberate or not, which will definitely result in the destruction of so many ‘wet’ pubs and countless livelihoods. A community without a local and a gregarious publican is basically just a sad dormitory, often a pathetic collection of cookie-cutter houses and apartments to sleep in. A good pub can really make the difference between living and existing.

      Finally there is no evidence at all to suggest that pubs are some kind of hotspot for Covid transmissions. But it is clear that the doom-mongers of Sage have insisted on a sacrifice in return for letting the schools reopen and the ‘gift’ of five days at Christmas. Thousands of traditional pubs will be the sacrifice demanded; many in Tiers 2 and 3 will never reopen. I am already seeing the ‘For Sale’ notices go up on pubs around my own locality in Essex. But as so many middle-class people would never dream of stepping inside, why would they give a damn?

      Surely the working people of Britain are not going to see their local pubs go to the wall without a fight? There is only one thing you can do with arrogant bullies like Johnson, Hancock and their kind – stand up and defy them.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Try as I might, and I think I understand what he wrote, it is still beyond me that people can completely ignore the science behind the rules they should be making. For political leaders to be so ignorant of one part of their own culture and the people who live in it is incomprehensible to me. I find it quite sad how segregated our cultures have become.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Yes, it’s like me enjoying live music but being completely unwilling to accept that anyone would enjoy opera or musicals, in reverse.

        Lumping everyone who “just” goes to a pub for a beer and a chat as a yob or yokel.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “Public schoolboys, middle-class professionals and most university academics will never understand on a personal level the critical importance of a pub to the community. They drink expensive wine at home and would never think to step inside a regular hostelry unless it had re-invented itself as some kind of ‘gastro pub’, complete with chef and pretentious menu.”

        Nah.

        That”s a caricature. Our pretty basic locals here are normally alive with a broad mix, including plenty of such types.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. CAMRA’s Discourse site asks the question “Anyone had a pint in a Tier 2 pub yet”. No response. The CAMRAs are happy hiding away at home with their craft cans. I’ve just had my 5th pint, saving pubs for when Russ finally visits.

        Like

      5. Thanks for sharing that New York guidance, Russ. I know that in the early 20th century the New York taverns would bring out an inedible “brick” sandwiches with the beer to get round the prohibition.

        Key line in that is “restricting the congregating and mingling that arise in a bar service/drinking only environment. “. This perception, pushed by politicians and poshos, that pubs that focus on beer have blokes singing and dancing and “mingling” and everyone behaves in restaurants in what REALLY annoys me. You’re not allowed to stand up in pubs !

        Like

      6. I’ve been doing some thinking – yes it’s painful, but stuck here in Tier 3 Kent, where corona cases are continuing to rise, the hospitality sector has been closed for just over four weeks now.

        So with pubs, bars and restaurants all firmly shut, and the number of infections still rising, how can a sector that no-one can access, possibly be responsible for spreading the plague – as claimed by the pant-wetting idiots of Sage?

        A brilliant summary, from Mr Wright, of the lunacy we’re in at the moment – thanks for sharing it, Stafford Paul.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. It’s not just politicians who don’t get pubs, of course. James O’Brien of LBC was ranting about pubs re-opening in early July and seeing drunken folk milling around and spreading the virus. As you’ll know 1) You’re not allowed to move around in pubs, 2) The virus only started to rise again in September when schools went back. In fact, even with “Eat Out to Help Out” cases (not deaths) were in single figures in many Local Authorities.

        Like

  3. You’ve made things very convenient for me; I can praise both your writing and Simon’s in a single comment. 🙂

    I hadn’t thought of it until now, but yes this “ordering food with pints” requirement does rather put an end to the whole idea of a pub crawl, doesn’t it? Well, the rules seem to change so frequently, perhaps this one will get the heave ho soon enough– here’s hoping!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “You’re right, it wasn’t a question.”

    (nods) I too, am a married man. 😉

    “giant calzones.”

    My darling wife does those for her lunch truck.
    (though maybe not as big)

    “which meant a mere 2 hours after that fishfinger sandwich I was facing another substantial meal in my quest to save pubs.”

    I can see where that could become a problem.

    “BRAPA, not me.”

    The L**ds bit gave it away. 🙂

    “Turning up at 4.50 meant we didn’t have to sit in the garden and had a great view of the perspex.”

    Can anyone really ‘see’ perspex?
    (because, what you’re actually seeing, is either what lies behind, or what is reflected)*

    * – deep, that!

    “Certainly not when you live with Mrs RM, you don’t.”

    Especially if you go about breaking Denby thingies. 🙂

    “It’s a good job they took the 7.5% Marcus Aurelius off when they saw her coming.”

    It’s a good job she didn’t notice!

    “but manfully finished it despite James trying to nick mine.”

    Pftt. He’s a growing lad for goodness sake!

    “Just as well we didn’t have a 3rd pub to go to, my tummy would have exploded.”

    *cough* doggie bags (or Tupperware)

    “For now, high volume pub ticking is dead. And that’s a tragedy.”

    Sigh… yup. 😦

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s