19th February 2023.

I’ve been neglecting my ticking duties since completing the Guide, but I’d managed a trio of GBG entries by 2pm on Sunday, which isn’t bad going, and we’ll gloss over the fact that I’d delegated the actual drinking duties to Mrs RM.

She’d delegated shoe-buying duties to herself, too, and Darlington,

made an ideal place to conclude our Teesside mini micro break with a shoes and micro tick double (free parking in Darlo !).

Well, if Kentish Paul can write a blog about buying shoes, so can I. A comfy German pair* from Charles Clinkard (no, me neither) selected after 8 tortuous minutes in a shop. A reminder that my Patronised readers get the scratch and sniff edition of this post and can find out what they smell like after 30 miles walking Athens.

Darlington is a compact little town, ideal for folk who like shopping, and with a proper range of pubs spanning Sam Smiths (closed obvs) to tapas & cask to Old Bloke to shiny micro.

Mrs RM had taken back a pint of London Pride that wasn’t drinking well on our last visit 18 months ago.

That was my second visit to Darlo in as many months, and I distinctly remember scouring What Pub for potential pre-emptive ticks down the yards, so why (oh why) did I not pop in the Crafty Merlin back in 2021 ?

I mean, have you ever seen a more cast iron guarantee of a Teesside Guide entry ?

They were playing “Boys & Girls” when we popped in, the chat is of visits to pub towns miles away, and look, a pub cat (of sorts).

I love the What Pub description. “Three handpulls as maximum” (as if that’s a bad thing), and “enthusiastic staff very much run as a one-man operation” which is the best use of staff as a singular this year. I love Darlo CAMRA.

There IS an upstairs room, but you know my theory on those, so we squeeze into the third table in the tiny bar packed with kegs of Black Sheep and the fridge, and judge the Fell (NBSS 3+) and the Allendale NEIPA to be pretty good.

Seabrooks crisps, though ? No, Pipers or Slabs, please.

The loo is full of photos of famous stars who have popped in for a pint after a gig at Darlington Hippodrome.

While Mrs RM powders he nose I scour the fridge and find it packed with beers from Kent.

So I buy one, just so Mrs RM can say “I come from Tonbridge(ish)” and I can impress Paul Bailey. A day later, it was very good indeed, but at a fiver possibly won’t be flying out of a Teesside fridge.

*Just for you, Paul. Well worn in already.


  1. All noted and generally agreed, Martin.

    However, you really would not have wanted to have gone in the downstairs at the old Yates’s in Nottingham back in the day.

    The Lantokay in Street is often full of people buying shoes on the other hand.


      1. Stafford Paul will probably supply any missing pieces of the jigsaw.

        However – moving on – I have to say, that when it comes to The Likelihood Of Not Drinking Well, Pride could well be the winner for me on that point. It often used to be the single ale in pubs just offering it as a token, when they’d really have preferred not to sell any cask at all. Whether it still is I’m not so sure.


      2. Yes, I’ve passed time (only) in the Lantokay at Street while Mrs Mudgie was across the road spending more money, probably without any vouchers, in the stupidly named “Clarks Village Somerset Outlet Shopping” complex.
        That was in 2000 or 2001 while staying at Street Youth Hostel which, dating back to 1931, is one of the oldest in the country,
        The Halfway House at Pitney was the highlight of our stay in Somerset.


      3. Great stuff, Paul.

        I often wonder what the point is in having a life if we can’t remember its detail.

        You clearly have no worries at all on that score.


      4. One detail I remember is awakening in Street on my forty-fifth birthday.
        With using pubs temperately I’ve never yet awoken in a street.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the back-link Martin, but we’re all dying to know what the Charles Clinkard shoes are like – pictures, please!

    My new pair of Clarks shoes are really comfortable, and should stand me in good stead for pounding the streets of Cologne in just over a week’s time.

    ps. Velvet Raven Stout – one of Tonbridge Brewery’s better beers, but it’s a long way from home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Picture now at the bottom of the post, Paul.

      We rate Clarks highly here.

      Oh yes, “Tonbridge” brewery is in East Peckham, I see. Shows the kudos of having “Tonbridge” in your name, I guess !


      1. Nice shoes, Martin. They look comfortable and, as you point out, well worn in.

        Tonbridge Brewery started out on the edge of the town, although nearer to Tudeley if I’m honest. The original brewery was housed in an outbuilding, at the owner’s home. I guess they just ran out of room.

        A lot of local pubs take their beer, so they must be doing something right.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s