Visiting GBG pubs is surely one of the best ways to ensure you don’t spend your whole life (bar 15 nights) in the same place, possibly even better than aiming to have a scone in every National Trust site.

Most National Trust properties look like this house, near my next target.

So well done, Sarah, but I bet you’ve never been to Warton in the No Man’s Land (see below) where the four counties of Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire fight it out.

Warton just edges into Warwickshire, along with Polesworth Station you can access it from.

It is, without question, one of the plainest villages I have ever visited, and if the Warton Weekly takes umbrage with that view they can invite me back and debate it in the Office over a pint of Bass. I immediately declared it the Andreas of the Midlands, which will mean nothing to anyone, thankfully.

Though, having just read about the famous big cats spotted in the village I’m a bit cautious about a return.

Warton is a dormitory village for the hundred of staff recruited to show beer journalists around the Tamworth Tap since it became the CAMRA National Pub of the Year. But it’s clearly growing; I reckon there were more new houses than old, with the sign for the Fox & Dogs all that’s left of a pub site now full of aspirational housing.

New homes apart it looked a village of no more than 500 or so, so a bit of a surprise that it till recently boasted two pubs and a club as well as a football pitch that Duncan probably hasn’t visited since Warton Wanderers FC don’t issue programmes.

A better blogger than me will no doubt find hidden gems. I bring you bullrushes and daffodils;

And a house that F. Norman has rather let go to rack and ruin.

The throat sweets in the village stores were rather ambitiously priced, too, but I’m getting picky now.

Hurrah for the Office. Something I haven’t said since 2014.

Very promising sign, rather worrying lack of activity as 16:00 approached.

But the effiecient young lady opened up EXACTLY on 4pm, and stood patiently while I dithered at the bar.

In truth the dithering was less about whether to go Bass or a surprising Mallinsons, and more to do with the temptations of a vast choice of confectionery.

I resisted the chocolate, and took the seat with a view of the bar.

Which was pointless, since no-one joined me in 20 minutes.

No-one except Jane Wiedlin,

whose 1988 classic is the very epitome of 1988 (along with that Tiffany cover, obvs).

It’s always a tiny bit awkward when you’re the only customer and the barperson is young. Starting up a conversation about 1988 pop or rail delays isn’t likely to endear you to a 19 year old, so it’s best to just sit silently loudly slurping your immaculately first-out-the-pumps pint of Bass (a cool and foamy NBSS 3+, £3.80) and be thought a harmless old codger.

Well, most harmless.


  1. “along with Polesworth Station you can access it from”. That’s the ninth least used railway station in Great Britain with one northbound train a day, at 6.48am, and no southbound trains.
    I remember, before rail privatisation, using Polesworth railway station for judging a pub for the regional Pub of the Year competition.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never quite got this through my head but apparently it’s more hassle to close a station than to keep it open but not use it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, and the best known avoidance of the official procedures for terminating a passenger service is the direct line between Stockport and Stalybridge which was a Friday train each week when I used it for going to Scarborough for the AGM in April nine years ago but I think it’s one train each way on a Saturday morning now.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I went on this service years ago (80s) and my guess is that he change to Saturday made it easier for the rail enthusiasts who seemed to be the main market. At Stalybridge it was too early for the famous pub there, frusratingly visible from the platform.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ian,
        Yes, 1980s. I think it was in 1989 that Trans Pennine services transferred from Victoria to Piccadilly and gone was the usefulness of the Stockport – Stalybridge line for avoiding the trek between the two main Manchester stations especially before the tram.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Etu,
        Yes, probably from the fear of soulless drinking barns ?
        I wasn’t meaning to suggest that domestic cats are ‘improper’.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, perhaps, but maybe what I was implying was that to some people – we know who they are 😉 – a pub can’t be Proper unless it’s a very unsafe space for anyone of an internationally-minded, liberal, environmentally-concerned, or left-of-centre outlook.

        In that sense micros have been an enormous blessing, and I suspect that’s the main reason for which they’re detested by some, and that it’s in truth nothing to do with the lack of bench seating or the prevalence of grapefruit murk.

        The Daily Mash writes of this yesterday: https://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/10-slogan-t-shirts-you-probably-shouldnt-wear-to-your-local-20230307232418


      3. Etu,
        You’re getting me confused now.
        I don’t believe “micros have been an enormous blessing” and neither have macrobarns. Both, though they have every right to do so as do supermarkets, have increasingly been taking business away from Proper Pubs.
        Yes I do find “the lack of bench seating or the prevalence of grapefruit murk” off-putting and likewise uncleared sticky tables, “adequate” beer and lukewarm microwaved food.
        Some of my best friends are of an internationally-minded, liberal, environmentally-concerned, or left-of-centre outlook and I would have thought they seek out a wider variety of pubs than I do.
        I go for a quiet life at my age and haven’t joined in the very recent discussion about Tim’s empire on two beer blogs just as I tend to avoid discussing politics on Proper Days Out.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I really think there’s a huge variation in the appeal of small pubs/micropubs/bars or whatever we call them.

        Some of the original Thanet micros with high tables round the walls and retired blokes scoring beer wouldn’t have felt welcoming to many, and I can see how the lone long table in Stafford’s Candid would feel alien to folk who like traditional seating, but many of the more recent micropub openings in Lancashire (for example) have felt like proper community locals, just smaller.


      5. You were wise to stay out of the Wetherspoons discussion, Paul. But while I agree that standards have dropped a bit over the last decade or so I do acknowledge their role as a community asset with a real mix of life. Christmas Day morning in the Rawson Spring in Hillsborough was a joy !


      6. My local’s a Proper Pub and I like it, because it’s nothing like the many-a-true-word-spoken-in-jest pubs described by the Daily Mash item, Paul.

        But quite a few are in my experience. And if a micro were the only alternative then I’d definitely use that instead.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Martin,
        I’m not properly qualified to comment on micropubs but accept there’s a “huge variation” with them, in Lichfield the newer Bitter-Suite I think being much nicer than the older Greyhound.
        Tim’s venues certainly serve a purpose and I know two quite different Staffordians who have reasons to use them rather than pubs I’d favour. I’ve enough reasons to boycott them but I haven’t and use them with friends and / or for a distress purpose so three pints during the past three years in them.


      8. Etu,
        But I thought the attraction of the many-a-true-word-spoken-in-jest pubs described by the Daily Mash was that all human life is there.


  2. There’s a chain in France called Au Bureau which was set up in the 80s and now claims 170 outlets. The concept was that if asked where you were going, you could reply “to the office” (or the French equivelant). As the one in Warton used to be the Boot, does the current name have the same inspiration?

    Liked by 1 person

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