Archive for the ‘Isle of Wight’ Tag
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.
[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]
Evaluation: I just missed the ferry to Southampton so had a bit of time to burn and was absolutely famished having had no solid food since breakfast (a couple of Wheatabix and some prunes). The marathon had nearly killed me, I was beginning to realise, and I really needed some solid carbs and protein.
I found Totties in the rain a hundred meters from the Red Funnel dock and they loaded me up with some spectacular dining. As I write this, hours later on the train, I am still full and fond of the meal.
Days since last: 1 (Stotesbury’s Fish and Chips, Newport, IOW)
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
During World War Two, a bunch of Free French sailors regularly wreaking havoc on German U-Boats sailed from the port at Cowes and frequented the Painter’s Arms when not at sea. (The Painter’s was a rough pub then as it is now or as the Editor of On the Wight put it “I missed some forking action Friday night“). They approached the landlord and asked if he could come up with some garlic as the English food was dreadful (in their humble opinions). The landlord arranged for a flight dropping off some covert agents on the mainland to return with a couple of bags of garlic which were the basis of what is now, arguably, the Isle of Wight’s most famous crop (they have a huge festival dedicated to the bulbs every summer).
It was this story of garlic that I put the Painter’s on my shortlist of pubs for this trip. I was not disappointed in what I found.
I needed some sugar for my leg cramps from the marathon and got a pint of Strongbow then settled in to listen to the guitarist playing for me and the bartender and a couple of guys shooting pool. He wasn’t half bad, either, but his set was soon finished and I went out to the smokers’ area and found about twenty locals discussing the legal merits of entrapping paedophiles.
I think this is one of my new favourite pubs.
After the Off the Rails, there was a long drought in the pub crawl / marathon that lasted the next 13 miles or so. Near the top of the dreaded long hill into Cowes the Traveller’s Joy emerged on my right and I zipped in for some nourishment finding a large line-up of ales on tap to choose from.
There were a bunch of jokers at the bar who kept me entertained while I polished off a pint of Squirrel (my pronunciation of which amused the landlady no end…which is to say my CORRECT pronunciation of it as ‘skwerl’ like they do it in the Deep South and not ‘skweer-ehr-rel’ like the local protagonists of the Queen’s English would have it).
Anyway, the race was nearly done and a glance at my watch showed me I shouldn’t linger lest I blow my planned four-hour and 26 mile pub crawl finishing time.
At the Horse and Groom, a couple at the bar suggested that I might hit the Off The Rails but I just thought they were insane (for loads of reasons, and fair enough they had loads of reasons to reciprocate). But, down the old rail path near Yarmouth and along the marathon route there it was: an old station converted to a restaurant or, at least, a snack bar.
“Is this place licensed?” I yelled up to some diners on the platform who laughed riotously (as did the race marshalls at the end of the platform). then, to drown out their laughter, I repeated, “no, really, do they serve adult beverages?” and one guy at a table near the entrance said yes. I hopped up on the platform and came in to find the staff unable to comprehend my request for beer until I pointed at the cooler full of lager and said, slowly, “Staropraman.” “You really want a beer, mate?” “Oh, yes please. That would be lovely.”
They were awful nice after that, as I went out, draped my legs off the platform and started to boo runners I had chatted to before and calling others “freaks” and “losers” before returning my bottle and heading out to overtake them, again.
Almost too soon after the New Inn, the race cruised up on the Horse and Groom, a huge house that I made the mistake of entering form the first entrance I could find and then walking half the length of a football pitch to get to the bar. It was hot and humid and my glasses fogged over but I was greeted by a very friendly bartender who, while much busier than the one at the Sportsman’s was actually able to serve the crowd ahead of me and chat with us all while doing it. Soon, I was out front, heckling the passing marathoners.
And, the beer was good (Scrum, from the photo I snapped).
A few miles up from the Sportsman’s, I had made up a lot of my lost ground when the New Inn appeared on the right and the race route continued on leaving me with a choice. It would have been rude not to stop, though.
The two guys at the bar were efficiency incarnate and completely nonplussed by an American showing up from the island marathon demanding drink. I soon had a Ramsbury Best Bitter and crowds of other customers wishing me well on the rest of the run. Nice house.