AND SO IT BEGINS….MY FIRST GBG22 TICK, IN RUGBY

Call off the search; it’s arrived.

See the excitement on Baa Baa’s little face. I hope he’s rested and ready to start the Big Pink, which you always thought was an album by The Band.

My first tick in the new Guide, prompted by whippet from a PO Box in Newmarket, came in Rugby.

It came during one of numerous lengthy journeys in November that still took me nowhere near Devon and Cornwall where untold ticking treasures await.

This fiver hour trip involved picking up my Sis from a garden centre on the Wirral (no cask, but lots of Christmas beers with daft names) and taking her home to Waterbeach.

No hardship, I like driving and I got to have one of those heart-to-heart bro/sis chats that blokes love.

And Sis is very good company when exploring unsung Midlands towns like Rugby, on my first visit since the epic Old Codgers Grand Day Out of 2019.

The town is very autumnal, it being Autumn, and Caldecott Park enchants with its display of the actual ball used in the misshaped World Cup Final of 2003,

and a very odd dustbin which seemed to have a design flaw.

Our new GBG entry, the Windmill, is a Black Country Ale Pub, seemingly their 4,000th entry in the Guide, and I couldn’t work out how we’d missed it two years ago as nothing gets past our Stafford Paul. Must have been keg.

Those old Manns signs look really appealing these days, don’t they ?

And the Windmill is typical of the BCA house style that looks great but sometimes a bit too clinical.

On a Tuesday mid afternoon, it wasn’t quite as quiet as it looks, but we still feared the handpump count was ambitious.

That was half of them; Sis picked a couple of the guest ales from the other half, of course, while I had a Pig on the Wall (NBSS 3+) because I always do.

William Morris wallpaper” noted Sis, giving her Stout a swirl.

Me and Bobby McGee (Janet) ” I wrote down on my phone.

When Simon comes here on a Saturday in June it’ll be heaving and riotous of course.

Not that Rugby itself, pretty busy on any given Saturday, was any busier. Post-Covid our towns seem to split between the busy with gentlefolk upmarket places (Beverley, Nantwich) and the plain deserted everywhere else (Wigan, Ashington).

Like her brother, Sis is always interested in the potential of our towns. Rugby has some gorgeous buildings,

and some derelict scruffy ones, like this old Woolies unused since 2008.

Make someone a lovely Brunning & Price, that would. Or a brewery tap. Can’t have too many brewery taps.

One tick down, a vast number to go. But what is that number…?

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