He’s been !

Yes, Retired Martin has delivered a new post for your 25 December, another day that will be exactly as good as you make it.

Today I shall mostly be driving home from the in-laws in Tunbridge Wells after “doing my duty”.

If you can see a good pub stop on either of the alternative journeys home let me know.

Does the Stamford & Warrington open on Christmas Day ?

One thing’s certain, I won’t be getting a new GBG tick for Christmas, that will have to wait till tomorrow.

I DID get a fair few ticks in Scotland on my birthday trip, including a couple in Innerleithen (pop. 3,110).

Looks a bit quiet, doesn’t it ?

But, like several of the Borders towns Mrs RM graced while fixing council IT in 2018 it’s a little gem, enclosed by hills and dominated by the legacy of Saint Ronan, who has long been forgiven for the atrocity of “Life Is A Rollercoaster” *.

The two hotels in the GBG offered B & B at an eye-watering £70, typical Scotland, so I’d booked the Old Town Hall for £40. An inspired choice as we’ll see.

Free town car park, too, though you must remind me to tell you about the loos if I forget.

16:30, time before check-in for a pint at the Traquair, which Pat at the B & B later tells me is pronounced “Tra-queer”. Correcting pronunciation is No.3 on the list of Scottish pastimes, after curling and pub ticking.

The Traquair is the sort of place you expect to encounter blokes in Tweed, gossip about planning regulation infringements and a soundtrack of Mariah Carey. Instead you get the local youngsters discussing the best Chinese takeaway and Gossip’s “Standing In The Way Of Control“.

Feels like a win, and the beer range feels serious if over-generous.

The Tempest could do without the thin glass that makes it feel a bit over-foamy, which makes me sound a bit too Beer Twitter but you’ll know what I mean. Still, a decent NBSS 3 effort and it’s nice to be in a pub where you’re double the age of the customers (put together),

and as Beer Mat knows, any pub playing “Going Underground” gets a free pass.

And if I got famished later I could always nip back for Haggis Fritters, Mash, Peppercorn Sauce & Turnip Crisps. But I sensed I could get more traditional grub than that.

Enjoy your turkey; we’ll be stopping on the M1 at a Greggs for our lunch.

*Though not by me.


  1. Merry Christmas RM & Mrs RM!

    Funny you should mention planning regulations at the Traquair, on our one and only visit it was empty apart from the Landlord, who seemed to be on the phone to a councillor complaining loudly about a planning application! Took us 10 minutes to get served.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect, like me, you’d have been fascinated by that conversation !

      Have a rest, both of you, and thanks for running a great pub. I’ll try and pop in and say hello next time I’m in Newcastle in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I saw the title of this piece I immediately thought of the local Traquair House brews, of which I bought a small sample at the very good off licence in Peebles last year. I don’t like to use the adjective “home brew” unless a beer has actually been brewed at home by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, so it seems appropriate to use it with regard to pretty much all the beers I bought that day: they were without exceptiuon home brew.

    I note that the Traquair Arms Hotel stocks other beers.


  3. Correct! Any pub playing jam songs should be in the GBG irrespective of beer…although Tempest does look rather good .
    A great find 👏👏👏 Happy Christmas Martin

    Liked by 1 person

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