I guess you’re wondering what sort of extreme partying I’ve got up to on my birthday (22/12, make a note in your 2023 diary).

Oddly, not much since those ticks in Derbyshire. Writing blog posts, Chinese takeaway from Sang Lung (NCTSS 2.5), watched “Saving Mr Banks” on the telly (great), cheered City’s smashing of the scouse tonight. It’ll do.

A month ago I was celebrating the kick-off the World Cup, which as you’ll know England have just won.

21st November 2022.

I’ve been using the rail services from Sheffield a lot this year, and despite what you hear they generally run efficiently and friendly services.

The walk from the Blind Monkey to Sheffield Station is a huge building site, dotted with invitations to cancel your trip and, er, search for snails.

The fast train to Leeds stops at Wakefield; the slow one bobbles past all the mining towns on the way to Castleford, which is where I’m headed.

As last summer, the Junction, beers from the wood and all, is closed.

I take 10 minutes to admire the architecture,

and head to the Doghouse, which cruelly denied me a pre-emptive a year ago.

This is the sister pub to the lovely Doghouse in Selby, about the only Yorkshire town that can stand comparison with Castleford, and you can read that however you like.

The bar has opened up on Monday especially for me the England v Iran match, so I have to pretend to be a football lout by chanting “It’s coming ‘ome“.

Actually, with an hour to go there’s a handful of blokes chatting Cas pubs on the high tables, and they’ve even less interest in Declan “Muller” Rice’s insight than I have.

But the Cherokee American Red IPA is silky smooth and superb (NBSS 3.5), though starting the day with a 5% + pint is the kind of daft thing that only Simon should do.

And it’s a cheery, quirky place, with some decent bench seating along the walls.

Once again, I nearly popped in The Station Pub as kick-off approached, but I needed to pace myself, although (Spoiler) I rather failed on that score.


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