First, my thanks go out to the organisers and volunteers for allowing me to participate in their little pub crawl. The venue was great and the small field lent itself to social interaction throughout.
I arrived early from my hotel in Shanklin due to a scheduling anomaly and once I registered I walked back to Cowes quayside to find a pre-race pint. But, no one had a license to serve before 11 am so I walked back up to the Sport Club grounds and waited out their opening time. They were serving tea, coffee and snacks but I decided to leave it till 11 to ask for a beer. And, with that purchase, my esteem was either raised or dashed depending on the co-participant’s attitude. Strange: it was like I had gone much farther from England than the 20 minute ferry ride.
At the starting gate, I stripped off my disposable old clothes (sweats that have become threadbare) and cranked up the GPS in my phone a few minutes before the start, taking my place in the crowd. I didn’t do the excessive pre-scouting of pubs that I have in the past; rather, I planned on stopping at every licensed facility I came across, bar none.
The first was the Sportsman’s Rest, a nice little pub with a rude and completely incompetent bartender (hence my long layover–more than ten minutes here). Next up, we passed (or, THEY passed) the New Inn which was much more efficient and completely nonplussed by my stop. Not much farther along the way the Horse and Groom loomed and after service I stepped out to heckle my compatriots for the first time.
We turned onto an old rail bed and soon we came up on the old station for Yarmouth, or part of Yarmouth, which is now the Off The Rails bar and restaurant. I yelled up to some diners on the platform, “is this place licensed?” then, to drown out their laughter, I repeated, “no, really, do they serve adult beverages?” Served by bemused staff, once again, I went back out and heckled the other runners while I enjoyed my bottle on the platform.
There was a long stretch after that along the riverside and through quiet lanes back almost all the way to Cowes (with no new pubs, although we passed the Sportsman’s and the New Inn again) then the path split off and we started up a long and (at that stage in the game) steep incline that housed, off to the right and nearly at the top, the Traveler’s Joy. It was a truly welcome respite, indeed.
With something less than 2 miles left, I eschewed further interaction with my compatriots (for the most part) and focused on finishing in under four hours. Which I did (just barely). It was then I realised how nackered I actually was. I’ve had worse leg cramps, mind, but these came all at once despite my aforementioned carb, nutrient and fluid regimen.
Spectacular organisation in this race, really, and the small and friendly field and the lovely refreshments I found along the way were just a bonus. If I were going to repeat a marathon, this would be one of my top choices. But, now I am qualified for the Ultramarathons I have planned for next year.
Heh -heh…special drinks, indeed
[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]
Fish: kabeljauw (cod)
Evaluation: My train from Swindon to Bristol was an hour late, then the bus was 15 minutes late. My plane was delayed, so I was fairly pleased to find that I had some time to grab a bite to eat.
I really miss kibbeling and the kabeljauw at Happy Fish in Schiphol was primo if a bit expensive (in the airport, so what else would it be?). This was generous, despite that, and chunky and juicy and lovely. I hurried off to my train, which turned out to be five minutes late…of course.
Days since last: 2 (Poseidon, Oxford)
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
With 45 minutes to kill before the train (the second time this dilemma struck today) I ducked into the Railway Inn for a pint. Loud and boisterous punters were gathered in clumps in the dark interior but I eventually negotiated the gauntlet to the bar where I found the only candidate for the Daily Tipple to be San Miguel lager (and it didn’t make the cut).
I went to the tables outside and watched some youths yob it up and some folks that appeared to be having an affair come out for a smoke. The bar seems a bit rough-and-ready, but that’s much better than the alternative I expected (see the Three Horseshoes from this morning). Party!
The train to Stroud was delayed and I eavesdropped on my coachmates. I used the window reflections to see just what kind of doofus was sitting two seats away. It seems I was right…he even labeled his child as such.
It had already been a grand day out in London but our tour of Kensal Green left us starving and we decided to take the Overground to the next useful tube station up from Kensal Rise and scout lunch there. It turned out to be West Hampstead and the Railway Inn beckoned. Inside we found a lively bar with some friendly (no shit…in LONDON, but they were foreign) staff and I had easily the best burger I didn’t make myself since moving to this culinarily challenged island.
Not in a giant hurry and enjoying the breeze on the warmest day we have ever spent in the big city, we ran a tab and watched the street action.
Just plain awesome. Walking into the bar of the Three Horseshoes a half hour after opening time there is already a couple being served lunch, another two couples in the garden with drinks, more in the lounge and a friendly and helpful bartender. All bodes well for the cross-country jog and pub crawl I have planned ahead of the Great Bustard 5 Mile Race over in Pewsey later in the afternoon.
Also a good sign (no pun intended), is the abundance of railroad memorabilia. Walking around with my Corvus Stout (the Wadworth Breweries fine chocolate of beer), I soon realised the theme was everywhere:
There are some awesome artifacts around the garden area like these obsolete signs:
and this old station lamp:
The one minor deference to the middle class influx of the area seemed to be the potpourri in the loo (noted whilst changing into my running gear).
The earlier chat with the landlord was pretty useful in that he approved of the route I took and loves the “Brucie’s” where I planned to stop midway; he grimaced when I said I was going to try out the Moonrakers in Pewsey before the race and gave me a couple of options he preferred (a “tad more civilised”) but all this did was ensure my planned path. Next up was the run to the Bruce Arms….
Spotted this Great Western Railway emblem on the benches at Charlbury Station during an earned rest out of the rain (though drenched).