Someone askedme when I started “ticking” and I reckon that, bar some Cambridge favourites like the Free Press, it really started just after I married Mrs RM (I really did) at which point I was teetotal.

My first GBG was the 1994 edition, a design classic, but for a year or so we only did Hertfordshire pubs we walked to. Back then Wells Eagle and Greene King IPA were exotica, I can tell you.

Then in 1995 a nice NHS Finance Director (they do exist) called Willie Sime let us use his cottage in West Alvington and we became acquainted with the joys of South Devon’s scary high-hedged lanes, probably in my trusty Ford Fiesta which lasted 10 years before self-immolating 3 years later in Hitchin.

I clearly wasn’t keeping notes of pub visits in 1995, and The Official Spreadsheet only started in 2003, but I do remember The Dolphin, so that’s OK.

I don’t think Kingsbridge was that great for pubs back then, and I certainly wouldn’t have sought out the backstreet boozer that is the Hermitage.

Kingsbridge may have been bustling (it wasn’t), but I had the Hermitage to myself, which at least meant I could quiz the Guvnor at my leisure.

Actually he wasn’t the Guvnor, he was filling in, probably a customer who’d jumped over the bar and started serving.

Now I’d love to give an unreserved recommendation, but as you can see the Hermitage scores badly on the woke points with that pumpclip.

So I had the Bays, and for a third time in my GBG career a pub served a cool, foamy half (NBSS 3) in a pint glass as they don’t have half-pints. I’m tempted to ask you to name the other two.

But no-one is reading this now there’s no peril of non-GBG completion, so I’ll tell you it was Andover and Hendon.

But I wanted to let you see the seating, which is gorgeous and communal.

Too quiet, till an Old Boy came in just as I was leaving, but I loved it anyway, and the stand-in Guvnor was playing his favourite toons, including whatever this is;

Shazam has no idea.


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