Retired Martin’s Honest Norwich Reappraisal Part II – It’s all gone a bit Pat Benatar in the Walnut Tree Shades

17th March 2023.

5.30pm, Friday evening, central Norwich. My train back to the Fens left in two hours. Plenty of time to complete the trio of new Guide ticks, AND nip in Primark to buy a new pair of jeans (pic only available to Supremely Patronised readers).

Google tells me I spent 7 minutes in Primark; 1 minute to navigate the escalators, 2 minutes to find a pair long enough (Norwich folk are incredibly short), and 3 minutes to navigate the drama at the till when faced with a boy and girl both waiting expectantly to receive my purchase.

I chose the female, lest I was considered sexist; she sniggered at the male. “See, he picked the prettiest“. That sort of thing only happens to BRAPA, surely ?

Oh, and a minute to retrace my steps after leaving my wallet at the till. How they laughed.

Speaking of Simon, he’d found Norfolk full of 1) Good pubs, 2) Average beer, 3) Charmless locals.

I was withholding judgement having only accrued 30 years of meeting those locals in hospitals, and finding them hardworking, efficient and friendly.

Look ! The city has already created a special alley named after Simon’s hometown for him to be stabbed in.

What immediately struck me was how good the street art is,

note the canary in this one,

and the Royal Arcade is a match for any arcade in Leeds.

With the bulk of Beer Guide pubs being on the edge of the ring road, the only really central Norwich pub I remember is the little Vine with its Thai roof.

Never heard of the Walnut Tree Shades, tucked down an alley off the market.

I’d arrived about 3 hours too late for the music, but I suspect it wasn’t anyone playing Lizzy McAlpine covers.

Simon didn’t like this one last month, and the “Publican Wanted” sign is normally a sign of cask terror to come,

but I did, temporary GBG entry or not.

Hotel California” gives way to Pat Benatar,

the barman calls me “bud” (the US one, not the Czech copy) and then “fella“.

My notes say “no interest in pimps“, which I hope is a typo and I was actually referring to a music bar running on Fosters and Amstel rather than an ambitious range of local cask.

But the Moongazer Jumper, even if it was the first one pulled, was cool and chewy (NBSS 3+), perhaps as good as that Doom Bar in Si’s Premier Inn. Perhaps Simon likes his beer less cool than I do, and of course the CAMRA AGM will be debating a motion to have all cask served warm as per the Chancellor’s wishes.

It had been a while since Pat Benatar graced a pub soundtrack, but “Heartbreaker” made way for “Sex As A Weapon“.

I’d like to commend/chastise this bloke commandeering the jukebox,

but since I nicked the photo off BRAPA’s post from a month ago it probably wasn’t. Though I suspect some of the regulars never leave the pubs.

10 thoughts on “Retired Martin’s Honest Norwich Reappraisal Part II – It’s all gone a bit Pat Benatar in the Walnut Tree Shades

  1. “Norwich folk are incredibly short”.

    My grandad, who like me was well over six feet tall, served in the Coldstream Guards in WWII. During the Normandy campaign in 1944, they ended up in trenches which had been dug by a regiment from the Eastern counties. They spent the night redigging them as their shallow depth left them exposed by several feet to the German machine guns!

    Liked by 1 person

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