19th February 2023.

I had ambitions to “Get Teesside Done” that weekend, but Marske’s micros had other ideas;

Why, oh, why do people crash their cars into micropubs just before ticker’s visits ?

So our ambitions that Sunday were more modest;

1) Get up and find the key to the loos at White Water Caravan Club before they cleaned them for 3 hours at 10am.

2) Resolve never to waste £26 on a glorified parking space at a Caravan Club again

3) Get breakfast in the Norton Spoons, an ultra-rare Sunday morning Guide tick.

Norton, you’ll recall, is the posh suburb of Stockton, the bit with a duck pond, posh schools and bistros.

Used to have a proper pub and micro in the Guide, but this year it’s just the Spoons I determinedly didn’t visit last time, which shows you should ALWAYS pre-emptively tick a JDW. It WILL get in eventually.

Quite pleasant, in a Cambridgeshire Post Office conversion sort of way, with a heady mix of half term toddler runarounds, Hi Vis, and Old Boys on lager.

Mrs RM found me a nice table within of the table and barked out her breakfast order (“Eggs Benedict“) as I opened the App, which wasn’t working for some reason, so I had to walk to the bar (over a very sticky floor) which as you’ll know I hate very much.

At the bar, they weren’t accepting card payment either, so I had the joy of paying at the bar in cash. Just as Americans remember where they were when the Bidens ordered the same main course, and Eddie will always recall where he was when Grimsby reached the FA Cup Quarter Finals for the first time since 1939 (Duncan was at that one), it was an historic moment.

They’re very pleased to have edged the micro out of the GBG, aren’t they ?

SO pleased that they’ve brought in a barrel of York Guzzler especially. I secretly hope it’s that same barrel of undrinkable Guzzler that Simon and I endured somewhere near Oswestry in 2016.

It wasn’t THAT bad, sadly, Mrs RM quite liked it. Flat and fruity, beer bores (NBSS 2.5).

Maintaining the catalogue of disaster, they didn’t have Mrs RM’s Egg Benedict either, so it was trad breakfasts all round.

Honestly, Wetherspoons food has gone to pot these last 5 years. I know it’s all about pricing, but the breakfast trade seems to have suffered. Greggs every time.

To be fair, the Flat White from the self-serve machine was the best yet.

A rubbish breakfast, and a dull tick.

Nice tiling, mind.


  1. I’ve never come across an undrinkable pink of York Guzzler. I probably like it so much as it’s flat and weak like myself – welp! Excited to see you’ve given it a dedicated tag https://retiredmartin.com/tag/york-guzzler/ and then immediately disappointed as this is the only post under it. Beer-ticking blogs eh, they giveth and taketh away.


  2. Wetherspoons has become part of the standard public infrastructure that we all depend on but barely notice. A well oiled machine of bacon butties, refillable coffee and cheap pints. When it ceases to work it becomes like the other things that inform us of a declining nation. Trains cancelled, buses not arriving, GP appointments not available. A malfunctioning Spoons speaks to your inner self and says, “Something isn’t right, we are declining into a 3rd world country” Like those dirty corrupt smelly foreign lands with dodgy grub that don’t have wetherspoons.

    What are we really as a nation if we can’t offer each citizen a cheap pint, a mediocre microwaved curry and a robust industrial strength toilet upon which a man might drop a man sized load that flushes with barely a shudder of the plumbing ?

    France, that is what we are becoming. A declining 3rd world dump. Like France.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BJ – any relation? – those Two Bricks in France will cope with anything, far beyond that with which you could ever feebly hope to defeat them.


  3. Spoons ha ha ha they are all right but some are a bit strange and Ric from the exhaust centre goes in there a lot so I try and avoid the place ha ha ha he he he gets a bit violent sometimes LOL I don’t know that one and don’t think I will go there as its in the back ass end of nowhere on my map stick wiv me local places i think as they know me there and always say is it the usual Steve


  4. Not been there yet. Spoons breakfasts are often served lukewarm I find, a situation exacerbated by cold plates. Grimsby’s run to the 1939 Semi was impressive, though they were a top division side then, finishing 5th in 1934/5, as you’ll remember. Result of the tournament was surely Chelmsford 4 Southampton 1 in the 3rd round.


    1. I do remember those golden years well. They were helped tremendously by the lack of VAR, and probably goal nets.

      Surprised by that Chelmsford result as despite being the county town you think of it as a modern place.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, “Spoons breakfasts are often served lukewarm I find, a situation exacerbated by cold plates” is my memory of them. I’ve not missed them these past three years.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s a shame so many wetherspoons get into our liber commendationum. You should not feel obliged to tick them. It is difficult to keep them out. Too many of our lot appreciate the cheap prices and vouchers and remain blind to both the mediocrity and the all to often decent into
    quisquiliarum. Dreadful pubs.


  6. Spoons are in favout at our house at the moment -we have been having fish Friday for last 3 weeks -after 2 it is a couple of quid cheaper -lunch & a drink for 2 for less than £17.The food has been good too -the afternoon descends into a mess after that -we are trying to finish off the beer tokens & fuelled by alcohol we were in a cocktail bar at 5pm.Pensioners behaving badly – life’s too short !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It annoys me when people knock Spoons. They’re not proper pubs, agreed, but they’re comfortable places where you can get cheap beer which is usually OK, and if it isn’t, you can get it changed without question. The food isn’t haute cuisine but it’s reasonable nosebag at a reasonable price. And you can rely on the opening hours, unlike a lot of the places the CAMRAs profess to love.

    Liked by 1 person

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