Yes ! A rare photo of a teenage Paul back in the day when CAMRA was a young person’s game. A pint for guessing the beer,

It’s fifty (50) years today since Paul Mudge was legally able to drink and I would conservatively estimate he’s saved 32,369 pubs since then. I’m not sure Penkridge would even exist without Paul.

Just as importantly, he’s been wonderful company to me and many folk on pub crawls over the years.

You’ll be seeing a lot of Paul in the next week’s posts, starting with the Big Brum Bender. You’re not allowed to actually use the word bender, of course, it’s “a curated exploration of craft in Birmingham’s artisanal public houses”,

14th April 2023.

The trip was the inspiration of the mysterious Life After Football, who is obviously less photogenic than our Paul as he remains elusive in my photos.

The journey is a repeat of my trip in January, though this time Baa Baa Toure came with me for protection in Aston.

And I now know why the train stops for five (5) minutes at Derby; it’s because there’s something in the air at DE1 that freezes people’s brains and prevents them getting off or on the train. It’s probably the sulphur in the Pedigree.

I’ve finally found the exits at New Street, but not necessarily the right one, and this time ended up at the Bull Ring looking forlornly for the new Spoons at 11:30.

Ah, here it is, clearly visible by Entrance 367.

Never mind the unique Spoons carpet, look at that ceiling !

I was in, ahem, cautious mode to start the day, and picked the Erdinger AF so I could be verbally abused by the real drinkers for going low and then complain about them on MumsNet later that night. But they didn’t.

In the London and North Western Paul, LAF and I briefly got to meet the mysterious Tamworth Mark, who was selling tickets to his tour of Tamworth now that it’s the Pub Town of England to fund his upcoming wedding (best wishes, Mark).

The Doom Bar was drinking well, but then you knew that.

And then Paul led us off along the tram tracks to the Post Office Vaults where we’d meet famed Wetherspoons boycotter Kentish Paul and the day could properly begin.

One of those chaps is a former professional footballer, but even he can’t keep up with Paul Mudge when there’s a pub in sight.


  1. Many happy returns, Paul, although you’ve already had plenty of those, just like me!

    Incidentally Martin, my comment on Proper Pies didn’t appear on the gravy boat piece, but it did have two links in it – check ya spam folder 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I enjoy the odd pint of Bass For Old Time’s Sake, but I have to admit, that after my decades in the North, the, er, sparkler has got its hooks into me…and after some years of drinking flat Spesh in London too.

        Mrs. E thinks that it is Really Very Nice – I can happily report, however.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay! Proper Midlands pub blogging at last. I look forward to taking notes ahead of our own Brummie Bender later this year, a ‘Two Ansells Bittermen and their Meg Mortimers’ affair so any insights into gin cocktails and refined lunch options welcome. You go Low, we go High Tea-er

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I share a love of jaywalking with Paul. In the late 2000s we arrived at our central Sheffield hotel from Waterbeach about 10:30pm and I made a dash for the Red Deer before closing which saw me trip into the tram tracks, ripping my jeans. Still hobbled to the pub for last orders though.


    1. I respect Paul’s reasons. Personally, if given a choice in, say, Brum between a Wetherspoons, Wellington and the Post Office Vaults I’d never pick the Spoons because they’re not cosy places to sit and observe. The food has also gone downhill the last 5 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I met up with Paul on Sunday on his way back from Sheffield but he didn’t mention that he had such a significant anniversary coming up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know till he mentioned it in comments last night, or I’d have proposed a motion at the CAMRA AGM to commission a “Paul’s Anniversary Kale Sour” (keg) from local St Mars of the Desert for him.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Peter, Martin,
        I didn’t think about it until last night.
        I didn’t even think to ask if you had a good pub crawl on Friday evening, probably with concentrating on demolishing such a magnificent Sunday lunch.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Yes, many happy returns to Stafford Paul, who I beat by 12 days to reach the same (significant?) age. But with just two years to go to the big seven-o, I prefer to keep such anniversaries quiet. Therefore no photos of a teenage Kentish Paul, knocking back a pint, either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul.
      “just two years to go to the big seven-o” and then another two to the big 72, a year for each pint of a firkin.


  5. If I’m not mistaken, SM is drinking a pint of barrel-aged imperial lichtenhainer infused with tonka, quinoa, sea salt and smoked plums. I’d be very surprised if I’m wrong. I believe it earned him the Keg Champion badge on Untappd.

    Liked by 1 person

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