You left me admiring Simon’s certificate of vaccination, which will allow him to jump the queue to get in Surrey’s micropubs, ahead of all those 20-somethings who throng Haslemere Hop Haus and Dorking Draft Dorm on a Saturday night.
Surrey can wait, on Monday I was “Taxi for BRAPA“, taking the great man round the northern extremities of West Yorkshire for what we call “tricky ticks“.
The half hour to Otley crawls past Saltaire and the Harry Ramsden birthplace and the Junction pub and stops, abruptly, at the Waitrose car park. Otley, the Dereham of the North, has no railway station and is in gridlock.
We walk the last 200 yards, stopping to admire the Sylvan families in the toy shop and the Leeds Industrial Co-op.
Actually, I do, but Si seems anxious about getting the ticks in the bag before the rain comes, what with pubs declaring on Facebook they’ll “possibly open if it doesn’t rain, like“.
Otley is well pubbed, and Simon later regales me with tales of drunken youthful revelry pre-BRAPA, but can’t remember the Black Horse, which looks rather magnificent.
But of course we’re condemned to sit in the middle of a vast barn of an outside area (probably the stables), and have not a clue how to get a drink. A couple and a lone chap come in after us, sit closer to the steps near the bar, and annoying get served before us by the lone barman.
We can see the beer menu on the wall, but there’s no way of ordering.
After 5 minutes, I see a code on the table, and scan it. It takes me to a magical world of on-line beer menus and expected delivery times. The case against table service laid bare.
14 minutes wait ! It’ll be midnight before Riddlesden and hail and lightning is forecast.
Luckily the chap brings it over in less than five, and Simon raises a glass of Kirkstall Black Band Porter, of which I tasted the dregs and declared it an NBSS 4.
Rekorderlig seemed to be the beer of choice (is it a beer ?). A bloke on the next table pretended the pint was for his wife rather than him to make a suggestion of casual sexism but it was slim pickings for your pub blogging heroes.
But there was a good mix of custom by now; couples, mums and toddlers, and some blokes who were either pointing out the pub pigeon or doing an impersonation of Paolo Di Canio at the Rome derby in 2005.
Stealers Wheel and ELO your soundtrack, just what an old Punk like Si needs after a vaccination which seemed to slow his drinking to a trickle.
Talking of trickles, it was time to hit the loo (not literally) and head for Riddle-sden. Wherever that is.