THE QUIET BEFORE THE TICKING STORM

August 12, 2022. Swindon’s Tap & Brew was about to become my final English Beer Guide tick, with Wales having fallen the day before.

I’ve told you about Swindon already. Back home, Mrs RM could sense the excitement. All that lay in the way of GBG immortality were 2 or 3 trips to the far recesses of the Scottish Highlands, a large dose of luck, a trustworthy vehicle, and a haircut.

Luckily I have a son who’s an excellent barber. The stickers on the mirror (top) will tell you a lot about his salon.

That’s Helvete, which seeks to put off the less young and trendy customers by being hidden in a warehouse off Oxford Road up 4 flights of stairs. I can never get a booking these days.

I have to share my Manchester City season ticket with the two lads as well (Β£299, Β£16 a game), and that Saturday afternoon I got to see Alfie (the Alpaca) BaaLand‘s son debut at the Etihad.

I had a few days off the pubs, but Tuesday brought news from our local of the unveiling of a new craft beer.

Any excuse for a pint and a pizza at the Blind Monkey, which GBG tickers will be flocking to now it’s belatedly in the Guide.

Remember though, folks, a pint of German lager does NOT count as a tick, however hazy.

We’re using our local more regularly than ever. It’s always got a different, mixed crowd in, the Don Valley cask is always good, and the pizza don’t have the calorie count on the box.

And the staff’s music choice is second to none.

Was I ready to be heartbroken on the high road to GBG glory ?

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