Looking at my review of 2021 it’s full of personal highlights but lacks completely new discoveries, due to the unattractiveness of overseas travel.
But I always reckon that the more you visit a place, the more you learn*.
And so with Durham, on perhaps a tenth visit over the last 20 years, and whose Queen’s Head (ex-GBG) which offered modern rooms, parking for our campervan and the most efficient, friendly welcome from Lucy, who in five minutes explained more than I could ever want to know. Or remember.
A mile from the train station out on Gilesgate, the Queen’s Head is just round the corner from that Shoes place with the astonishing breakfast I did on my 2019 birthday trip.
Across town, in the contiguous village of Framwellgate Moor, lies our next tick.
I thought Fram Ferment was a false number 9 who missed easy chances for Arsenal but starred for Norway in the ’90s, but no, it’s a classy bottle shop-cum-bar.
Unlike Paisley’s place, you get cask and keg taps here,
and one of those beer lists Mrs RM likes even though she says “You choose“.
I hate choosing, but you can’t go wrong with Brass Castle and a hazy one by Two by Two, I guess.
I thought Mrs RM would turn her nose up at Hygge Figgy (3.5/4), a blueberry, almond and fig porter, with her ultra “I want beer to taste like beer” stance. But she enjoyed that, and the grapefruit murk, and a room full of couple and mates seemed to be enjoying it, too.
But I guess the atmosphere was rather less cerebral in the pub next door, which used to be one of the last survivors of the Tap & Spile chain before Craft Union got it. They had 4 cask beers on, all your BBB favourites.
I had big plan for Durham, including a visit to the Station House to meet real landladies and landlords, but Mrs RM wasn’t leaving the room so I had to set off in the drizzle for Spennymoor all by myself, which is enough to inspire an Eric Carmen classic.
There’s few more gorgeous places to be at dusk than Durham.
But there’s few places harder to find the bus stop to your next GBG tick now the centre has been pedestrianised.
Eventually, the replacement stop for the No.6 came into view, over from the Half Moon (no Bass).
Could anyone else look forward to leaving Durham for Spennymoor as much as I did at the moment ?
*Offer does NOT apply to Maidenhead.