Everyone wants to be BRAPA. But not everyone wants to get up at 6am every Saturday and spend 10 hours on trains and buses in desperate need of a wee, living in fear of a closed micro or lost mascot.
On Saturday I decided to be BRAPA, just for one day (like in the Bowie song). Six pubs in the southern Lakes District entirely by train, a Twitter check-in at each one, with an inadvisable bonus pint with a fellow PubMan at the end.
The alternative to a day return by rail would have been to drive to Kendal or Barrow and take the train from there, but a) I was tired of driving, b) it costs over £100 to stay in Kendal, and c) have you ver been to Barrow ?
Four trains and a tram would take me and Baa Baa to Dalton by 11:03, where the Brown Cow would be waiting to give me my first pint (and two loo stops) of the day.
It’s not the getting up at 6am that’s tough, it’s the getting up and out without 3 strong black coffees.
I always enjoy walking through major cities before they awake,
seeing the detritus of Friday nights out at the Leadmill.
Who knew Bang Bang Romeo (they’re from Donny) looked like that ?
My first leg of the journey is on the party train to Liverpool. Even at 07:34, the lads are tucking into the craft beer on sale in Pumpkin.
Even at 07:43, the train is full. A chap has plonked his bag on the empty window seat.
“May I sit in that spare seat please“
“Err, I dunno ?“
“Yes, I can“.
I have to to do that every time. Have people no awareness ? He’s playing an odd game of “Name a famous midfielder” with his mates in the seats opposite, and comes up with “Ben Chilwell”.
I’ve brought a book, preserved in the original GBG22 packaging. It’s the history of fonts, and I plan to award it to Matthew Lawrenson as a prize for the Best Tweet of 2021.
But after half a dozen pages I rather wish I’d kept it myself as it’s a gem, and luckily Matthew has it anyway so I can swap a book for a pint as his prize.
Baa Baa wakes up at Oxford Road Station, his favourite place, disappointed we’re not popping in the Salisbury.
and is astonished when I don’t nip in Wigan’s Swan & Railway for a pint of Draught Bass like all the other Pub Men & Women have done this week.
Baa Baa has no idea of opening times.
Some Rangers fans on the way to Ibrox get on at Wigan (NW) and discuss their post-match pubs (the Lord Nelson, same road as the Laurieston), always a joy.
At Lancaster I admire the football ground where I saw a last minute Luke Guttridge winner in a cup tie in 2003 and ponder on 3 of life’s mysteries;
1. Why are so many station pubs closed when you need them to be open ?
2. Why are so many young people so painfully slow going up stairs when they spend all their time at the gym ?
3. Why (oh why) do people carry suitcases when all you need for even a month long cruise can be safely packed into a Booths shopping bag and your overcoat pockets ?
Baa Baa Toure has none of these concerns, of course, and simply admired the view as we crossed Morecambe Bay into Cumbria.