ONLY OPEN WHEN THE CHEF IS IN

The Great Tick of Devon & Cornwall in July 2022 was a life highlight, the culmination of months of planning and psyching up for the trauma of posh copter rides, dining pubs and a (well-desered) hatred of tourists.

As you’ll know by now, it all ended well, but not without the sort of irritations that make BRAPA’s blog comedy gold.

I’d spent most of June scouring What Pub/Facebook/websites, comparing notes with the hardy band of tickers, and was STILL surprised by unannounced changes to opening hours and unexpected closures in the height of Summer. At the Arscott Arms near Launceston (top) I was greeted by a group of ladies enjoying a bottle of wine in the company of a sheep.

Can I HELP you ?” they shouted as I headed to the bar.

Er, I’m just headed for the bar

But we’re CLOSED today !

All the evidence was that they should be open, but what’s the point of arguing ? Apparently there was no chef, so no point opening just to serve drinks.

Still, I got to see the mean streets of Launceston four times that week, so all’s well..

There seemed to be a trend emerging, outside the real honeypots food-led pubs wouldn’t open at all till the latter part of the week, but the basic village boozer like the Red Lion at Exbourne was completely reliable, as long as you tipped up after 4pm when the buses have finished.

The Red Lion was a little classic, marred only by an unrepeatable Linda McCartney joke and a lack of custom once the Golden Hour tradesmen had left.

Devon had the edge over Cornwall on the simple boozer run by longstanding landlords like the chap who gave me a terrific welcome at the Railway in North Tawton.

I sense a fair few of these evening openers are now second jobs for a fair few landlords.

But at least they were open when they said they’d be open.

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