Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category
*This is the last post on THIS blog site. I have used up my entire allotment of media space for 1pumplane.wordpress.com so this remains, as long as wordpress will allow it to, as an archive of the first 6 years (almost) of the Endless British Pub Crawl. I also have an offline version stored (a bit more than a DVD’s worth) for shits and giggles once this archive leaves the ether. If you are still interested in following my progress toward a) drinking in every pub in the country, b) running coast-to-coast and North-to-South, and c) becoming British (both figuratively and literally), you’ll find the Endless British Pub Crawl Continues at
This was never supposed to last this long. When I started the blog in January 2009, I had been in Britain 5 days and thought it might be a good way to dump some photos and post some updates where a few friends back home could find them and without having to post or email them individually with items that all of them would be getting, anyway. I thought it might last into the middle of Spring at most. But, I found the landscape and culture too compelling (and this medium as both a diary and a newsletter too personally entertaining) to quit. Now, it has metastasized into a sick addiction…and the few regular readers that stick with it are just perverse voyeurs (God-love-ye!).
I don’t think the writing will improve much as this continues but I will, initially at least, strive for quality in lieu of quantity. And, more frequent knob jokes. See you there.
Warmest regards to Fatty from Tucson for spotting this beer label (if anyone knows where to get Fat Tire in Swindon or Oxford please get in touch)
It has been a good run — one of nearly 6 years, nearly 1300 different pubs, a few marathons and a bunch of halves (and shorter races), good entertainment, fulfilling work, and a couple of laughs. But, it is over … at this address, anyway: I’ll continue on in much the same vein at the Endless British Pub Crawl (continues) but this site will just be an archive for the first 1292 pubs and memorial to itself and a lot of ill-advised fun that went into gathering the material herein.
I want to do a retrospective of this blog’s 6 years but it deserves better than what you have before you. Them’s the breaks…here it is in tedious detail.
In 2177 days, there have been 2537 posts. Of those, 1292 were specifically for 1st time pub visits, 367 were for last year’s Daily Tipple (with added Haiku), 210 have been for the Chippy Challenge and the Kebab Challenge, and 169 were for the 2012 Yellow Beer Challenge. The remaining 499 involved running, mocking the serious beliefs of others, laughing at the weak, bitching and moaning about one thing or another, obituaries, and other things that serve to strengthen my bona fides of Britishness. According to WordPress, these pages have been visited just over 350,000 times…get a life, losers.
Most frequent pub names so far (and how many of each):
43 Red Lions
19 (tie) Bells, White Harts
14 (tie) Black Horses, King’s Arms, Queen’s Heads
13 (tie) Rose and Crowns, Swans, White Horses
Best names: Five Mile From Anywhere No-Hurry Inn, Far From The Madding Crowd, Cafe Rene, Sally Pussey’s Inn, The Bee’s In The Wall, The Roaring Donkey, Who’d A Thought It
Fuck that place: The Angerstein Hotel, The Woodman Inn, The Black Horse
Personal favourite pub write ups: The Chequers in Cottenham, hangover after a night in the King’s Arms in Ely, handing the puzzle over to the Dog and Duck in Linton (Cambs), the Crown in Penzance (a low-key 25th anniversary), the Glue Pot in Swindon after my first Wildcats Hockey match, the Blackfriar in London (not so much the write up as the architectural details), and the Rose and Crown in Chippenham for the fantastic people watching. Certain there are other decent ones but this list contains the two or three I’m really pleased with.
Other pubs worthy of mention (good or bad):
The Red Lion in Southampton for architecture and Henry V connection
The Hop Inn for the locals’ alternative names
The five Red Lion Run back in 2010
The New Inn, Blists Hill (a historic museum town)
The Goldfinger (accidentally found Ian Fleming’s grave on run to this one)
The Blue Boar, Aldbourne (Dr. Who link)
The Blind Beggar, Whitechapel (Kray Brothers link)
The Red Lion, Aston (a town of ‘tards)
The Brass Monkey, Teignmouth (George W Bush on their sign)
Wernham Hogg’s, Slough (The Office tie-in)
The writing isn’t brilliant but it was never meant to be stunning. I have occasionally stumbled into something I’m happy enough with (to mention here) but never anything I would attach a real name to. Some of those are:
“What a Bunch of Dicks” (September 2011)
“Our Ex-Neighbours” (September 2011, with links to the whole saga)
“Risk Assessment: Proper Use of Bins” (October 2012)
“British Citizenship Exam” (November 2012)
“My Pet Leeches” (September 2013)
“Me and the Queen” (June 2012)
It wasn’t all drinking and knob jokes. Occasionally I ran, sometimes quite a lot (although usually whilst stopping regularly for drinks and to tell inappropriate knob jokes). I even race a bit with some of my favourite racing efforts here:
Grunty Fen 1/2 Marathon and general thoughts on the finisher’s medal (September 2009)
Snowdonia Marathon pub crawl (October 2009)
The River Run — Cantabrigiensis HHH (October 2009)
New Year’s Eve 10K Little Downham (January 2010)
Historical notes on the 30 Pack Marathon (April 2010)
Thame 10K and morning chunders (June 2010)
Florence Marathon (December 2010)
Bupa 10K plus bailout for the London Hash (May 2011)
Run For Heroes 5K or thereabouts (August 2011)
Chippenham Half with a sponsored pub stop (September 2011)
Swindon Half whilst hitting every pub within 1/2 mile (October 2011)
Cricklade Half + 8 mile warm-up (October 2011)
London Marathon pub crawl (April 2012)
Great British Beerathon Like the 30-Pack only smaller and including food (August 2012)
Great Bustard 5 or getting there’s half the fun (July 2013)
Beat the Bore at Night (September 2013)
Malmesbury Carnival 10K done twice to hit some pubs after (August 2014)
Isle of Wight Marathon pub crawl (October 2014)
11:58 My big head notwithstanding, this is the Joe Strummer Subway
In fact, I started the blog for people in the States that already knew about my running idiosyncrasies (i.e., running to get to a bar, drinking heavily there or at one or more other bars, then running home). So, for them the “racing” entries are no surprise nor are some of the other efforts, which I enjoy as much or more. These three Birthday runs are typical:
I also used to ‘hash’ before I found the one true way; my life as a hasher came long after I started drink-running (and drug-running, for that matter) and that it has become just a passing fad baffles some of those folk although I still encourage hash virgins to go to a hash as a kick start to Hashlam. I would, indeed, encourage all of you to go hashing at some point.
We saw some good shows and bad shows and some shows. I saw Springsteen in the Atlanta Fox Theatre in the 70’s but Jackie never had so we booked a trip to Maastricht to fix that…and it was awesome. We causght Neil Young in Hyde Park and Paul Simon there as well another year. Two of the best shows were Lloyd Cole in Stroud and George Thorogood in Cambridge, and you can’t go wrong with the BeatHoles.
No trip to Wales is complete without a ride down this highway. (November 2009)
Find out why they refer to Oxford as the City of Dreaming Spires. (September 2010)
You can wait for English Heritage or the National Trust, but the loving family fits their own plaques (like this one to Arthur Stanley Eddington). (August 2011)
If you get to Germany, indulge in the local folklore like the Bremen Musicians. (June 2012)
Nothing is more fun than old buses. (June 2014)
Get out on the street furnishing trail, maybe starting with post boxes. (November 2014)
And, to be serious, here are a few ideas for London.
Recipes and food:
A friend that travels in China sent some delectable menu items to look for but I still haven’t found them in any Chinatown restaurants. On the other hand, you can find the most interesting spices in the Caribbean markets, here.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so you shouldn’t shy away from complicated recipes like this one. Or, as an alternative you could start your day with one of these.
There were, of course, a lot of booze recipes, but these are worth the efforts involved and better than the pictures would suggest:
Cassoulet (one of several versions blogged herein)
Finally, no look back wouldn’t include obits. Mostly, I obitted people I don’t know but knew of but on occasion I actually had a relationship with the deceased (Rest in Peace, y’all):
Vic Chesnutt (December 2009)
Bus Job (October 2010)
Andy Holden (whom I did not know but feel a special connection to, January 2014)
This blog (January 2015, which you are reading right now)
“You’re going to swell up like a tick.”
–Work mate when he heard about the Chippy Challenge.
“No, he did the same thing with kebabs, last year…he’ll be fine.”
–Another colleague, in response.
Actually, I lost weight, starting the year at 178 lbs (12 stone 10 or, for the metric-minded, 81 kg) and spending most of the last 6 months dead on 154 lbs (11 stone even or 70 kg). This was grand, as I drank more this year than usual and ran only about the normal amount (maybe even less than, but I haven’t tallied the runs yet). I would highly recommend this diet at least to those who normally live on the 2013: Year of Kebabs Diet. I’m looking forward to seeing what drifting back toward normal alcohol and food intake will do to the weight.
Of the 126 qualifying meals, 75 were at a chippy, 40 in a pub, 3 at the house, 1 at a Dutch fish stand, and 7 others (cafes and dining halls).
I didn’t travel much this year so geographically they are pretty tightly clustered around home and work. I nailed a couple in mainland Europe and a few down at the southern coast, as well, but I had 36 each in Oxford or Swindon so I have favourites in those two localities.
Top 10 in Swindon:
Top 3 in Oxford (Chippies in Oxford are generally shit, but seek these out):
The 5 most dreadful:
Best 5 of the rest:
Each had this question:
Whose family have I got
Fixed between my sights?
Name: Chateau Simard 1996
Type: red wine
Menu: Five hour duck done Peking duck style, some cornbread dressing, asparagus and sweet potato pie
Review/notes: Wine was absolutely spectacular but we should have decanted (a bit of sediment). Writing up the meal a bit later which will include the run, the rum, the slow gin, the other bottles of wine, the pie, the Peking duck (2 days worth of prep), some bubbly and the rest of Christmas too-much. Sleepy, now, and Eastenders is on.
The Haiku: This wasn’t as big an event to folks in the States as it was to folks here (and, I would imagine, Germany). Like most Americans, I came to know of the Christmas Truce from the song Christmas In The Trenches. It would be churlish of me to try to explain it here. If you’re familiar with it, the link takes you to a recording: Christmas In The Trenches. If you’re clueless why I’m banging on about it, give it a listen. Or, for a more upbeat tune, try Santa’s Out of Rehab by Christmas (an Athens GA cut); and, to go with the Chinese duck meal there’s Christmastime For The Jews. Merry Christmas.
Stolen from Flying Booger’s hashing blog
[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
Thirteen of the Daily Tipples were in the beer category with 12 pub visits (6 of which were Wetherspoons, 5 of those were the Four Candles). The highlight of the month had to be tasting the finished batch of Two Cures, though, with the worst experience of the bunch the very disappointing trip to The Lighthouse:
The Chippy Challenge dragged until the last week of the month but there were some spectacular examples (Crispy Cod and Robinson’s Traditional Fish and Chips) and some crimes against cuisine (Marmaris and WingLoon House):
The GHadHHH had two minor trails this month, one each versus the Oxford and Moonrakers hashes, both night efforts. More importantly was the treatise on IntifadHHHa and CalipHHHate differences in this confusing era of global Hashlam and its various pretenders.
Pub count: this month only added 8 more pubs to the total and all of them came on runs. Started the calendar year with 1197 and the blog year (19 January) with 1201 so it is shaping up to the weakest effort of the 6 years so far but at 1280 I hope to hit 1300 before the end of 2014.
I use Map My Run because it works with the GPS chip in the smart phone I bought off a junkie in Amsterdam. Others do as well, but I’ve become accustomed to MMR. I came up with my own personal challenge to run 3 or more miles every day in the holiday season two days before the start of their Holiday Marathon Challenge. You get credit for your logged runs toward the distance of a full marathon and there are random draws for prizes for participants…none for farthest or fastest or largest number of runs, just participants (although to get in the grand prize draw you have to complete the virtual marathon).
One caveat: you must live within the 50 United States or Puerto Rico or a sovereign territory or the USA, which leaves me out of the prizes. Still, I’m rather enjoying the wee game so it might come as a surprise that I am calling on my brethren jackasses to crash the system while I continue –completely out of character — to play by the rules.
Why? Take a look at Day 5 as screen-captured at 4 pm GMT:
There I am with my puny 5 runs, one per day, averaging 4.4 miles per run at about 8 minutes per mile. Nothing to be proud of nor, indeed, to be ashamed of considering these have all been done on a broken toe and several whilst dead drunk. But, I have to hang my head beneath the “achievements” of the Top 3. Let’s parse their numbers, all self reported as can be your own:
“Lukas J” has run 195.8 miles in 26h 56m, or 39.16 miles per day averaging 8:15/mile throughout although, granted, this is spread out over 4 or 5 runs per day. Who can compete with this?
Perhaps “Tony M,” who is similarly impressive, fitting in 8 runs per day averaging 32 minutes per run of about 3.2 miles. That’s 8 runs over a ½ hour each every 24 hour day for the last 5…let’s hope he picks up the pace a bit.
The top female in this Cavalcade of Gods is “stacie g” who may be the most impressive, yet, with 2 runs per day averaging over 11.7 miles per run at an 8:04/mile pace. Marvellous.
So, I would ask that you lot register with Map My Run (if there is a ‘Tell Us How You Heard About Us’ part to the registration, mention this post) and submit similarly bogus efforts. Maybe record a run whilst driving 80 mph down the motorway, or a 24 hour long run every two days keeping a 6 minutes per mile pace…be creative. I’ll be slogging along, stopping at pubs every hour or so (maybe more frequently), and watching your efforts with earnest interest.
UPDATE: 20 minutes after the above screen capture, “Lukas J” logged 2 more runs adding another 10.4 miles. Awesome, or more accurately unbelievable. You all have a lot of bogus mileage to log if you are going to catch up:
UPDATE: At the end of 5 days, “stacie g” has gotten lazy and was displaced but I find myself most impressed by “Charles C” who is averaging 8 hours 49 minutes per day running, in 4h 52m chunks (obviously he has to take a break every now and then to charge his Garmin battery):
UPDATE: Well into day 6 (30th of November), our winner for most ludicrous entry of the day goes to ‘Brad L’ with 105.5 miles at a 4m 35s pace. I hope he’s one of my saboteurs:
My rubbish preaches.
Hippies fuck up everything.
Lord, give me some peace.
Name: Vinsobres Cru de Côtes du Rhône
Type: red wine
Review/notes: Why is my bin liner telling me how to live my life? I’m never buying this brand again.
Spectacular wine. Had first bottle as part of the feast, yesterday, and the second bottle was just as good with the leftovers for breakfast.
[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January