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)
[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]
Sides: chips and mushy peas
Evaluation: Very good for a pub, especially good for a pub with so many mouthy youths around. Spectacular landlord here, though. You should go there.
I had originally planned on the Butcher’s Arms for the lunch at the mid-point of a 7 mile or so run but this was actually closer to my G-Had/hash prelay inspection. Just as well, in the long run.
Days since last: 4 (South Cerney Fish and Chips, South Cerney)
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.
New pubs to the blog count, all on two day trip to IoW
At first glance, October seemed a month of two halves — the first healthy and spry, the last stinking of death and decay. Yet, closer examination reminds me that I’ve been ill more or less constantly since the 10th of the month despite making the Isle of Wight Marathon trip, another cancer surgery (and spillage from the same), and having a busier than usual month at work. The weather has been spectacular, I’m told.
I added 11 pubs to the count entirely on the two-day trip to the Isle of Wight Marathon. Two new ones appeared in Oxford (old ones but with major refurbishments and name changes) but they will have to wait until November. The best of the new additions has to be the Red Lion in Southampton, but you could do a lot worse than The Crab and Lobster Tap (Ventnor), The Traveller’s Joy (Northwood), or most-up-my-alley The Painter’s Arms (Cowes).
The Daily Tipple list accurately represents the beer consumption for the month with a little more than half favouring darker varieties like stout, porter, and mild. Choosing one per day was really the hard part as almost every new pub mentioned above supplied local brews that I have never tried before and the Swindon Beer Fest introduced 7 beers and 3 ciders new to me (and scores more I didn’t get around to):
The Fish and Chips Challenge was in a lull partly due to the ongoing medical problems and partly due to the remoteness of new venues and my ability to reach them. My spreadsheet updates my days-per-fish rate and the minimum number for the year (based on one every 7 days until year-end) after each fish. The average of these two appears to be converging on 124.9 for the year (let’s say 125). I’m going for a pub fish and chip lunch when I finish this post, so this looks like a fairly good prediction.
The G-Had has started to make an impact. In October, the site had more hits than in all months prior combined. It also led to paranoid behaviour by North Wilts HHH when they tried to pretend a run wasn’t going to happen and then came up with a clever (but easy to defeat) trail marking plan to foil the IntifadHHHa. With local attention piqued and health poor, the war became one more of propaganda than contact but a fresh scalp was added courtesy the Isle of Wight HHH.
Also, the subtleties of the Intifad-HHH-a versus a Calip-hhh-ate became a matter of record, over on the G-Had HHH site.
Do not deny the True Path.
G-Had is patient.
Name: Inycon Pinot Grigio Grecanico
Type: white wine
Review/notes: Rushing from the bus to “Rodbourne” which I found as the location of the Moonrakers Hash House Harriers trail by using the cached version of their page (thanks, Google), I easily found powder but wanted to know which way they were going to run. I made a nice little loop past the most likely suspects (the Manor and the Southbrook) but it would have been rude not to stop in for a quick one. It also gave me the opportunity to plan where my additional run might go (GPS on pause). On arrival back at the G-Had Madrasa, I found that Jackie had prepped a stunning supper with a reasonably good line-up of wines, starting here. On-on.
[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
Another month and the fish continues to pile up. Of the three pubs, the Who’d A Thought It was the best with the Bear almost surprisingly stingy (but it has become a tourist venue). The winner as a chippy, this month, would be either the fish stand at the St Giles Fair or the J&J Fish Bar (both exceeding expectations enormously). The Shanghai Fish Bar should be closed down despite getting their cleanliness problems in order–they’re just very bad.
||St Giles Fair Fish and Chips Stand
||Red House Plaice
||Who’d A Thought It
||Shanghai Fish Bar
||Robinson’s Fish and Chips
||J&J Fish Bar
This month’s Daily Tipples were weighted a little heavier on the beer and the haiku’s and descriptions a little more surreal. More than half the DT’s were in pub visits (some new ones).
The G-Had rolled on to trail #48 and enhanced (and was enhanced by) my enforced two week vacation at the end of the holiday calendar. Bicester HHH was marked due to the irresistability of a Bollard trail, K&A HHH notched a second attack, and my first Churn Valley HHH effort appeared. Ease of access and choices of venues were the main attractions for the Moonrakers HHH (twice) and the North Wilts HHH (three times), and with the North Wilts 1500th next weekend in my favourite corner of Shropshire maybe the G-Had will get a chance to branch out a little (it would be nice to make the 50th GH4 coincide with another hash’s milestone).
The Blue pins are the September G-Had strikes
A modern Marston’s pub looks like any other modern Marston’s pub, but the help at the Red Admiral were attentive, intelligent, and funny. You can’t ask for much more than that. I was in the Hilperton shops to grab a cod snack but with my bus stop only a quarter mile away thought it worthwhile to pop in. As it is more restaurant than anything else, I stashed the fish in my backpack until I left.
Not nearly as charming as the Lion and Fiddle a half mile away, I have seen worse by far.