30th November 2022.
The UK may not be quite back to normal post-Covid, but many of the rituals and traditions we took for granted in 2019 have returned. Some later than others, I see that Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival finally returns next month.
Another tradition is moaning about our Christmas markets, which never look like the German ones and inevitably are best known for interminable queues, undrinkable mulled wine and disappointed grannies from Gainsborough.
I took the direct train (a joy) from Sheffield to Lincoln the actual day before the most famous seasonal markets of all.
My escape from the station to the pub took 20 seconds. A day later we’d hear of folk trapped in these barriers for 3 months (here).
Yes, this was possibly the last day that year I’d have Lincoln’s ancient streets and underrated pubs to myself.
All I was lacking were good weather to take photos,
but as you’ll know everything looks better inside the pub.
The landlady was putting up the tree when I arrived; I guess 30 November is a respectable start date if you really must put deccies up at all.
Anyway, a proper back street community local, the sort everyone tells you doesn’t make the GBG any more.
I’m caught taking photos of the pumps, which is often enough to mark you out as “a CAMRA” and ensure 50p off, but I cause surprise by asking for a pint of the Doom Bar and we have a conversation about beer snobbery. Yes, YOU, Discourse !
There’s a lovely atmosphere, no doubt helped by the Birdcage being 5 minutes walk from the route to the markets and therefore well out of the way, though the engaging landlady tells me that some locals will be playing ukulele at the Magna Carta, which is a Marston’s pub, not an historical event.
This may be the best boozer to hear the dub version of your favourite prog album,
and it’s certainly the best place to drink Doom Bar in its matured, drier, crystal clear state (NBSS 3.5+).
I really wanted to stay for another, particularly having invested £12 on the train, but up the hill craft awaited.