18th February 2023.

Suddenly, EVERYONE is heading to Stockton-on-Tees, Blackpool Jane, Mark the Sutton Fan,

and Leon from the Wirral, who rather spoils the surprise of my next post with this one;

But I was first, ME ME ME. Don’t forget that, Stockton.

Mrs RM hadn’t been for ages, and I’d convinced her that Stockton was the new Halifax, a town transformed in the last decade.

And she almost believed me, as we set off on the mile from our Caravan Club pitch near the White Water rafting site (could have saved Β£26 by parking in the Premier Inn car park for free).

The Tees is shaping up quite nicely, big redevelopment of the riverside and demolition of the shopping centre, wonderfully restored Art Deco theatre (showing a Queen tribute that night), lots of new houses, and of course 372 glossy micropubs, though the first pub you see isn’t one of them…

“I’ll go shopping while you do your silly pubs. I thought you’d finished the Beer Guide !” shouted Mrs RM, as she did her best Judy Garland impression as her shoes danced on the twinkling steps leading to wherever.

Oh yes, No Pasaran.

“See you in the Kopper Turtle” I shouted back. Or was it the Smoggy Keg ? I get confused these days.

Even more so because the little map on the GBG App was convinced my first new pub was about here;

Which it wasn’t, it was here. Two vital minutes drinking wasted already.

I liked a lot about the Kopper Keg, mostly for odd reasons.

The Guvnor welcome me in, referring to me in the plural, but not in a Sam Smith way (I think).

He was enthusiastic about my completely random choice of the Brew York Toucan (on keg, does it count), and the place had a jolly feel that those Herne Rules micros will never have. Even though they were playing David Gray, you know the one.

The banter at the bar veered violently from the poshness of Simpsons in the Strand, where beer is apparently NOT sold in halves so I want to go, or I did until the punchline of “he spewed up in my hand”.

I’d only had a half, and felt tipsy already. Which is why you only get a photo of the items in the Gents, and not the pumps on the bar.

Stockton is famous across Western Europe for its baskets of toiletries, except perhaps for in my next pub.


  1. On the weekend that I was playing away at Farsley!

    I’m looking forward to hearing if you liked this time’s visit to The Sun. Despite being ten minutes’ walk I barely attend, although always make sure to introduce visitors for its classic…

    Haven’t yet gone to the Kopper Keg despite moving here in August 2018. My local is the Dubliners which occasionally had cask pre-plandemic.


  2. Soprano ukuleles. Awful things. Small, fiddly and go out of tune at the drop of a hat. I’ll stick with my tenor all day, every day.

    And pies. Stop serving pies wrong, Northerners. They should be served with mash & liquor, as nature intended. Putting gravy or mushy peas on a pie is akin to putting a sparkler on a handpump. It diminishes it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah, football ground pies are a thing unto themselves. The best one I had was at the old Rotherham ground, which was also the place I had the best chip butty!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, it was the most charming of dumps. Freezing cold and drizzling with a view over an enormous scrapyard being somewhat more entertaining than the game.

        I remember it fondly. One day all footie will be like that! We can but hope…


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