Having told you I’ve 581 pubs to visit to complete GBG22, let’s make a start, shall we ?

Let’s revisit Retford.

The most wonderful invention, apart from VAR and pink markers, is the concession that allows rail users to “break their journey” (unless you’ve bought a time specific advance ticket).

An hour between trains, but Google Maps reckons you’d need 38 minutes just to walk to the Black Boy., so Mrs RM opted to find an artisanal cookie maker-cum-cafe in town instead.

It’s a bit of a slog from the station to the town. One set of platforms are for the north/south trains, the other set for east/west, so it takes 5 minutes to reach the ticket barrier. Then you get featureless suburbs near the canal before you hit the pedestrianised run of chain pubs.

Retford looked far too quiet, the High Street deserted as folk flock to Lincoln and Sheffield for their Christmas shopping.

And you really have to search for the diamonds in the rough.

Luckily, I’m the man for that challenge.

Three years ago (here), I was welcoming the arrival of Cloudwater cask to one of Retford’s trio of craft bars, but the new GBG entry is more traditional (top).

Obviously you can’t have a pub with that name in 2021, and I guess the Black Boy will become “Jimmy’s Beer Emporium @14 on the Moorgate” in time for Simon’s arrival which will then mean I get confused in GBG23 cross-ticking.

As I waited to cross the A638 a lady on a bike loudly discussed how busy it was, as if it was Piccadilly Gardens or something.

The noisy lass then followed me in the pub, without her bike. I am magnetic like that, ask Mrs RM.

Simply furnished, cosy, cheery, two good local beers sold cheap (£3 for a lovely Pheasantry BB). Winner.

At the bar a poor chap who’d forgot to ask for ice in his wife’s G & T and had to go back and get it. I once forgot to ask for the tonic in Mrs RM’s G & T so can sympathise.

The “rugby” was on, no-one was watching, but a good mix of visitors meant that the only table was next to a baby. Hard to believe this, but babies always smile at me. They understand my struggles.

I raised my glass to the baby and wished it a happy life ticking. The young parents looked alarmed, so I finished my pint, admired the hand wash,

and sprinted back to the station where Mrs RM was buying up the unsold bakery items at Costa.

Depeche Mode John, a fan of Retford’s many charms, is staying at the Brick & Tile. In 1999 we brought a 3 month old baby to stay overnight at the Turk’s Head. Our children have lived an exciting life so far.

At dusk the canal crossing looks better, and Mrs RM had been more impressed with the craft quarter than the shopping street, but we were glad to get away from Retford with my penultimate Notts tick.

And celebrated with a pork pie and Deya in the Crow.

10 thoughts on “RETFORD RE-ASSESSED

      1. That’s a perceptive point.

        I’ve noted quite a lot of Proper Pubs entering the GBG for the first time in recent years. Of course, many of the more recent micros are much more small pubs than tasting rooms !

        No, there’s no official line promoting “old skool” pubs but it’s great to see.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The Black Boy is a pub I’ve never been in, but have driven past it many times…my journeys back home to Scotter (between Gainsborough and Scunthorpe) from Brum took me through Retford. Back in the day, The Black Boy was a Ward’s pub. It’s nice to see a proper pub getting nto the guide!

    Liked by 2 people

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