The last night of January’s Great Welsh Tickathon started at the Ibis (stylised ibis) budget in Newport.
Highly recommended, particularly now they’ve added a kettle to the rooms. Tell them I sent you.
For your £34 you get a bloke who advises you to not make a chicken run across the M4,
but rather start a series of underpass manoeuvres not seen since John Foxx collaborated with OMD on an electro-pop EP in 1980.
My tick was 3 miles away in quite posh Caerleon, and I couldn’t be bothered to walk under a full moon which made the castle look suitable spooky.
So I took the bus from Clarence Place over the Usk to a bus stop ACTUALLY NAMED AFTER THE PUB !
How weird is that. In fact, there was a bus stop named after the Ship, the previous pub.
Given that 90% of my instruction to lost folk involve directions via pubs, I applaud naming all bus stops after the nearest boozer.
Not that I expected the Hanbury Arms to be a bit boozer. Facebook was all food, food, food, and their decision to open for drinks despite the kitchen being closed due to the lift being broke (no idea) made me expect an empty pub.
But it was the busiest of the trip, as you can clearly see from my photo.
Casual groups of mates, mostly 30-somethings, all out for a beer. One of them even had that real ale !
One member of staff was doing an improbably good job, taking orders, pouring pints, delivering pints, taking cash and giving change. How does that work ?
I had the Reverend, the Black Sheep of the west, a cool, tasty pint that boosted Wales’s record of 3.5 scores yet further.
I’d caught the No. 27 on the way out, and was a bit worried about jumping on the No. 28 on the way back, but it was the same driver who’d sold me the ticket and dropped me off a mere 15 minutes previously. If he recognised me, he hid it well, focusing on correcting my poor efforts to get the barcode reader to acknowledge my crumpled ticket.
But £4.40 ? I shoulda walked, and used the cash for (Spoiler) another pint of Draught Bass.