On Wednesday I swallowed half a tooth. Not only is that expensive, my immediate thought was “I’m going to choke to death and miss the next lockdown“.

HELP !” I called to Mrs RM, trying to bring up the tooth (sorry if you’re eating your tea).

Shhh. I’m working” said Mrs RM.

Luckily my dentist is more receptive to my needs and within hours was reassuring me I wasn’t going to die and ordering a new tooth.

For purely medicinal reasons, I thought I’d better pop in the University Arms to try and flush the old tooth away with some real ale.

Back in the GBG, and impressive enough when we took the in-laws there in June, though you may be able to guess my minor reservation by looking at the bar.

It’s Christmas, as someone once said (it wasn’t me), so I had the Belgian Blue, the Official Beer of Sheffield Christmas. No, honest, it is. Our neighbour dragged a barrel of it down the hill, it’s the best selling beer in the offies, and it appears on ALL the bars from about 22 November (1 month before my birthday).

It’s cool and tasty, a decent 3 but no better, and even Dido and Springsteen singing their little Xmas hearts out can’t improve it. But I do like the the red nosed glow it produces at the bottom of the glass.

When I arrive at 15:30 there’s just a staff party going on behind me, folk dutifully wearing paper hats and saying “Merry Christmas” and the team leader says “This started as an evolutionary process” and thanks staff for a job well done.

I remember why I retired, to get well shot of polite society.

But then an odd thing happens. Jose Feliciano starts to sing (press play, do as you’re told);

I’d never heard Feliz Navidad a week ago, but it appears to be the Official Song of Sheffield Christmas, replacing Slade and Mariah and Wham ! When did that happen ? Was there a referendum ?

Some more folk come in, the bar fills up, a couple of students pick pints of cask.

From the range of pretty much all of Greater Sheffield’s better-known breweries, I pick the Acorn Cracker.

A beer called Cracker ! I’m going mad.

It’s a bit crisper than the Blue, perhaps a 3.5, but ends up a bit thin, definitely a 3.

But that’s OK.

It’s a very pleasant pub with comfy seating, decent local beer and folk saying “What would you like to drink, Henry ?“. Some Pub Men avoid the pub amateurs at Christmas; I say, embrace it.


  1. I met Jose Feliciano in Huey’s Downtown in Memphis a few years ago. I went to the toilets and he came in just behind me. It wasn’t an arranged meeting. :-)) He was in Memphis to play at the Elvis memorial concert on the anniversary of his death a couple of days later. He was in Huey’s because he’d been told that they did the best burgers in Memphis, which was also the reason why we were there, along with some excellent live blues music. The burgers were very good as was the craft beer choice. I doubt that I would have recognised him if his photo hadn’t been on a poster we saw advertising the concert the day before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The official Sheffield song of Christmas is either Hail Smilling Morn or any one of 30 variations of while shepherds watch their flocks, if your in sheff, go to a carol sing in a pub there’s loads of suggestions on the localcarols.org.uk website and its very good fun, though you might be a bit lost the fiorst time you go as there’s not many tunes you’ll recognise sung. usually a good excuse for a bit or three as well


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