I finished Lincolnshire’s Guide entries again today (no applause, it was only 5 newbies this year) and realised just how much fun BRAPA will have getting to places like Pinchbeck and Donington unless he can find a
sucker disciple to ferry him round the northern Fens in a post-Beeching world.
In contrast, most of my South Wales targets are easy enough from the coastal towns, with the Queen in Upper Cwmbran (GBG23 – back to plain Cwmbran) an easy walk from the train station just above Newport.
I must have walked past the Queen before, on the way to the Bush, in 2014 while avoiding England’s World Cup exit at the hands of Suarez. Why didn’t I pop in and pre-empt it 8 years ago ?
Zoom in on the sign to see that rare early painting of Queen Vic, Gawd bles ‘er.
I’m greeted by the sound of “Girl From Mars”,
a favourite of the gentlefolk, a signing-in book, and the suggestion I share a table ringed by comfy chairs with the drinkers as the dining tables are full.
Well, this is quite different. I’ve never shared a table with strangers before in a pandemic. The Amstel-drinking locals are friendly but wary of the bloke ordering that funny “real ale”, a lone pump dispensing an adequate Purity Ubu (why ? just why ?).
We discuss creaking doors, and drizzle, and Novak, but I quickly feel a bit awkward. Simon would have persuaded one of them to drive him to Nantyderry by that point.
A quick look at the holiday souvenirs in the Gents,
and the smoking den which would have been a better bet if it had been 10 degrees warmer,
and I’m on my way.