THE 2020 AWARDS ISSUE – MASKS, MOTORING, MARIA McKEE, MUDGIE

I’m legally required to publish an Awards issue for my Patronised readers; it’s a bit like a company AGM but without the power points and biscuits.

You’ve had the monthly micro analysis, here’s the annual accounts.

Place of the Year – Gloucester

I seemed to be making weekly trips there in the Spring to visit Angie’s, but it was worth it for the Cathedral, the cheery locals and the wonderful Bass in the Imperial.

It just shows; you can visit a town a dozen times and never see it. Shame about the rugby fixation.

Beer of the Year – Draught Bass

Unexpected. Honestly. I just went through the NBSS scores and found that Bass in Harlton, and Gloucester, and Portishead and St. John was marvellous.

But my favourite photo of a pint of Bass comes served in a John Smiths glass, of course.

Liverpool’s White Star, on a night I completed Merseyside, was a wonderful reminder of life outside the GBG.

I got used to visiting pubs outside the Guide in 2020, relieved to have ANY pubs after the first cruel Lockdown. But since GBG completion is an Olympic sport, here are the results from the retiredmartin camp.

The Ticking List:-

January – SIXTY-SEVEN (67) new GBG pubs

February – FORTY-THREE (43)

March – TWENTY-SEVEN (27) (in 15 days)

April – ZERO

May – ZERO

June – ZERO

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The mere act of ripping off that first 50p voucher to get my sub-£2 pint of Doom Bar at the Spoons in Blyth was almost spiritual.

July – TWENTY-ONE (21)

August – FORTY-THREE (43)

September – THIRTY-EIGHT (38)

October – FORTY-NINE (49)

November – NINE (in 3 days)

December – ZERO (moved to Tier 3)

GRAND TOTAL 297 (in 232 available days)

Not bad, but disappointingly my progress halted at 94% of GBG20, and will struggle to reach that in GBG21.

Pub of the Year – The Hare & Hounds, Harlton, Cambs

Not a new pub, not a stunningly different pub, not even a pub with a mobility scooter outside.

But I went 3 times in short order when Tom the Publican came to run it for the local community, and experienced one of those rare “Wow” moments of pubby wonder as the whole village brought it alive (and drank all the Bass before I got there, but good for them). Note the masks at the bar.

At the risk of going all David Brent, their pie was as spectacular as their beer.

And all we did for pubs was muck them around, opening, closing, opening if you eat, suddenly closing.

Without any pies or Scotch eggs, Craft Union, my Pub Co of the year, had it even worse.

In Dereham, Ilfracombe and Hitchin they provided a wonderfully resilient pub atmosphere and excellent cheap beer.

I have two personal awards this year. Blog Commentator of the Year was Russ, whose return in the Spring cheered me almost as much as the re-opening of Chung Hwa. I love the fact he reads the stuff rather than just looking at the pictures.

And my #PubMan of the Year 2020 is Curry Charles, whose company on pub trips over many years was particularly appreciated as we made our first tentative steps back into the pub in July.

About time too, Charles will say. A worthy successor to Joan.

2020 was the year I made the Daily Mail website, and I want to thank Mrs RM for not publicly disowning me after that.

Another great year for music. My post on melancholia was one of my best-read, and you’d love this Top 5;

5. Fenne Lily – Breach

4. Lomelda – Hanna

3. Soccer Mommy – Color Theory

2. Taylor Swift – Folklore

  1. Maria McKee – La Vita Nuova
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I’ve written enough about “Right Down to the Heart of London” already. It got me through March.

But the best thing I actually heard this year was rather older.

I’ve missed the cinema this year. Maybe 2021.

Back-seat driver of the yearMrs RM Duncan McKay, for forcing me to drive my 998cc Aygo up the hill with 3 passengers from Hebden Bridge to Wadsworth in January. Which feels a long time ago.

At the top of that hill, the Hare & Hounds had the best charity collection box of the year.

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And finally, my usual thanks to my muse, and the inspiration for this blog. Thanks Mudgie.

Sorry, this was the only photo I had to hand.

me as a woman in magnet.jpg (161.43KiB)

Calm down, Russ.

29 thoughts on “THE 2020 AWARDS ISSUE – MASKS, MOTORING, MARIA McKEE, MUDGIE

  1. 297 is an excellent tally in the circumstances (over 100 more than me). Regarding the steep hill episode, I could have sworn you told me it went like a rocket on the Calderdale hills. Not sure how it will cope around Sheffield though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have never thought of you of the Nacho Novo of pub ticking (and didn’t know of his current whereabouts). To me you are more of a Jordan Henderson, proving the doubters wrong and overcoming adversity (and a loan period to Coventry) before claiming all the major honours. I owe you a return lift for that trip too and, for symmetrical purposes, will ensure I take you downhill to a pub somewhere next year.

        Like

      2. I can’t “like” that comment, Duncan. All of Jordan’s achievements will be written out of the record books as achieved in front of zero crowds, with 5 subs, during the failed VAR experiment. Cov was his highpoint.

        Perhaps Steve Claridge is our inspiration; in a different town (possibly in a pub) every week.

        EVERYWHERE is downhill from my house now.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A top piece Martin 👏👏👏 Mrs BB has got me a new phone and I don’t seem to be able to comment unless anonymous… bloody progress!!!
    Great to see Bass romping away and both Russ and Mudgie getting honorary mentions 🔺🔺
    I don’t think Sheffield has many Bass houses so you may need to join me and the boy Thurman in the Peaks
    Britain Beermat

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not sure I’ve seen anything more “pandemic pubs” than a sign reading “If you want a cider, you’ll need to stand 6 feet wider.” 🙂

    Loved the charity collection box photo, and of course I couldn’t be more delighted that draught Bass won beer of the year, even as I imagine certain people leaping forward to insist “it’s not as good as it used to be.”

    A great pleasure reading this, start to finish; you had me laughing, in spite of 2020’s determination to make me cry about everything. Thanks, Martin, for all you do!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good spot, Mark. I confess I only noticed it scouring my 700 odd posts for photos tonight !

      Oddly, I would normally have chosen anything BUT Bass, as it’s both too obvious and it often isn’t as great as you’d hope, but it was this year, all over the place. Seven Stars in Falmouth as well ! How’d I forget.

      Here’s to a good 2021 anyway, Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s well-observed.

        My favourite would be the John Sargent – Jo Brand duality, but my own humble offering would be Sir Bernard Ingham and “Maud”, late of Coronation Street.

        It’s probably been said before.

        Like

      2. Citra,
        Next year before a Proper Day Out is I possible and us of us Pubmen by then with pony tails ?
        You never know !

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Martin.
        Thanks.
        As things ‘get back to normal’ it could be the first appointment of the day ahead of a hearty breakfast in the Lost Dene.

        Like

    1. I managed to sneak in a haircut, a couple of weeks before Christmas, just prior to the mathematical modellers that are running our lives, shoving us into Tier 4.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Beer of the Year – Draught Bass”

    I never would have guessed. 😉

    “Unexpected. Honestly.”

    Suuuuuuure.

    “I got used to visiting pubs outside the Guide in 2020, relieved to have ANY pubs after the first cruel Lockdown. ”

    I think we all had to lower our expectations somewhat in 2020.

    “The mere act of ripping off that first 50p voucher to get my sub-£2 pint of Doom Bar at the Spoons in Blyth was almost spiritual.”

    See! I told you pubs can be looked upon as a sort of church.*
    *(vindicated for my Philadelphia thingy) 🙂

    “But I went 3 times in short order when Tom the Publican came to run it for the local community”

    Good to see a community being, you know, a community. 🙂

    “In Dereham, Ilfracombe and Hitchin they provided a wonderfully resilient pub atmosphere and excellent cheap beer.”

    Love the cider/wider notice in the photo below.

    “I have two personal awards this year. Blog Commentator of the Year was Russ, whose return in the Spring cheered me almost as much as the re-opening of Chung Hwa. ”

    Blush! Also… how did I miss this! (sigh)

    I should have sent my darling wife to accept my award, kinda like Marlon Brandon for the Godfather.*

    * – my wife’s Native like Littlefeather 🙂

    “whose company on pub trips over many years was particularly appreciated as we made our first tentative steps back into the pub in July.”

    Always good to have a wingman. 🙂

    “2020 was the year I made the Daily Mail website”

    Holy moly! Congrats!

    “Duncan McKay, for forcing me to drive my 998cc Aygo up the hill with 3 passengers”

    Yes, yes. But… was it uphill both ways? 😉

    “Calm down, Russ.”

    Hey! I didn’t swoon or need to go for a lie down or anything! 🙂

    Cheers

    And thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Just so you know, with my darling wife gone for what appears to be quite a few months (!), I’ve pinned this to lift my own spirits once a week or so. 🙂

        Cheers!

        PS – Still annoyed at myself for a) not seeing it sooner, and b) trying to downplay the accolade in my response! (blush)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was speaking to Simon last week (that’s me name dropping !) and we both said your comments really cheer us up with their positivity and interest in our blogs. Same with Mark and Bill and Dave and Pauline and Paul and BBM and everyone else.

        Like

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