Finally conquering the Good Beer Guide meant cramming in ferries or flights to a dozen or more offshore Guide territories, and meticulous planning. And huge amounts of luck with opening hours, Covid closures and transport strikes.
but I’d failed to complete on four earlier raids over 20 years, and the threat of industrial action loomed large as I headed to Southampton at 5 (five) am for an early morning passenger ferry to East Cowes, the Kessingland of the South.
The 12 item breakfast on board the Red Funnel is one of life’s unwise joys, though The Queue rivalled you-know-what.
Ten minutes wait at Waitrose and I was on my way to Niton via Newport.
Regular readers, those of you with too much time on their hands, will know of my hatred of Southern Vectis buses.
So let it be written that I didn’t feel too bad at all on the route past Blackgang Chine, and really appreciated the little phone charging sockets.
I’d phoned No. 7 (formerly Joe’s) three times to confirm they’d be open, and each time with an unspoken dread.
You see, a couple had selfishly booked their wedding for the day of my visit, and despite assurances that the snug bar was still open,
I never felt that relief of the tick till the Butcombe was poured.
It’s a small bar, most folk seemed there for coffee and cake.
Bob was there for a greetings card.
“Can you write the card for me ?”
“What do you want it to say, Bob ?”
“Lots of, Bob“
“Lots of love ?”
“No, just lots OF Bob“
Moreb poignancy in that 20 second exchange than a whole night’s BBC.
In truth, the Butcombe was the epitome of 2.5, but the garden was gorgeous,
and I had a chat with an abandoned Pub Ticker mascot.
Sadly, I was too young to have a go on the bouncy castle.
Nice place, but I really ought to have revisited the other GBG regular across the road for you.
Sadly, in 2022 you take every bus you see; the next one due might be cancelled. And NO-ONE wants to be left stranded in Newport (IoW) overnight. Even BRAPA.