Back into town on the Number 28, with me feeling slightly guilty about taking it all the way back to the Newport bus station, would my sins catch up with me ?, till I realises the £4.40 bought one of those Day Riders. I should have taken a ride out to the Transporter Bridge; still never been.

I see Stalybridge has been awarded Capital of Culture (Greater Manchester) to some derision. Which is unfair, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Newport gets a bad rap. I LOVE the place. Where else do you find am “EVERYTHING’S £14” shop. With the apostrophe in the right place, too.

Despite being only 18:39 it’s pitch black, something with the way the moon revolves around the earth I guess, far too early to return to the Ibis with a cup of cocoa.

I survey the GBG App. Oooh, the Pen and Wig is back in. And it’s up that little hill I like.

Flowers mirror,

but as What Pub reminds me “It sells prodigious amounts of Draught Bass, it being the last local bastion of this famous Burton Upon Trent ale“. Alexa, define “prodigious“.

And here it is. Elusive in Stoke, loads of it in Gwent.

OK, the Pen & Wig isn’t the Coopers Arms, closer to a suburban Derby estate pub I guess, with a very lively crowd and a sweary old lady who the overworked but charming bar staff have to tell thrice to “Mind your language“. It wasn’t that bad, to be fair, compared to Chelmsford.

The Bass, one of half a dozen dotted around the pub, was solid but unspectacular (NBSS 3). I could see why some swear by it, while others are bemused by the revival. But the barrel was about to be changed, which prompted me to stay for another and order a HUGE burger I immediately regretted when I walked past Newport’s fine dining establishments later.

I had to order by the phone and sent my burger to a group of ladies who I then had to explain my predicament to. They looked at me as if I was a Jehovah’s Witness.

The second Bass was sweet, but sensational, like Mrs RM. Cool, clean, £3. NBSS 3.5, easy.

JW Bassett (no relation to the former England manager) run half a dozen pubs nearby in a mould close to Enterprise but with a bit more emphasis on local beers and late ’80s rock. Bono sang “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For“, but I had, right here in Newport.

By the time I left after an hour there 30-40 folk in, and you wouldn’t know Covid existed apart from a lack of a crush at the bar. It was joyous.

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