Archive for the ‘running’ Tag

The blog in the rear view mirror   Leave a comment

New-Belgium-Slow-Ride-Session-IPA

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.

EBPC1 hits 2015-01-03

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.

delivery-at-stretham-local-shop

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.

pigeons

Most frequent pub names so far (and how many of each):

43 Red Lions
24 Crowns
22 Ploughs
19 (tie) Bells, White Harts
15 Greyhounds
14 (tie) Black Horses, King’s Arms, Queen’s Heads
13 (tie) Rose and Crowns, Swans, White Horses

in-free-press-4

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

London Marathon last mile

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.

dog and duck puzzle

 

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)

wernham hogg slough office

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)

closer magazine leech orgasm story

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

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:

2010
2013
2014

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.

beatholes poster from sunday

Tourism ideas:

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.

shark house oxford

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:
Lupini
Cassoulet (one of several versions blogged herein)
Rabbit

chinese menu 1

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)

 

 

DT #354, 20 December 2014 (Pecker Wrecker)   2 comments

Pecker Wrecker

“Is this for Christmas?”
“No, Love, this is the Solstice.
“It’s something for REAL.”

Name: Pecker Wrecker
Type: bitter
Venue: Green Dragon, Market Lavington

Review/notes: I got on the bus to Devizes and sat near the front hoping one of the large-window seats would become free in a few stops only to immediately recognize the couple in the left-most seat were trapped in a moronic conversation with the Tardette to their right. The bus pulled up to the very next stop and a middle-aged dude in biking leathers toting a very large backpack and reeking of campfire smoke (he must have kipped the night on the rail trail below) found his way upstairs.  We met as I was moving back a row or two for leg room and he seemed to be thinking the same thing as me: “who let this old freak on the bus?”

The old couple escaped at Wroughton and Mr Natural pounced on the seat only to face the Tardette’s interrogation, which he suffered with great humour (the haiku is made from direct quotes of their conversation). He was heading to Avebury for the celebrations along with countless old hippies and New Age tossers you could see milling about with their billowy garments and self-satisfied countenances.

I like the Solstice well enough but I don’t get any sort of spiritual kick from it.  I hadn’t even clocked that it was tonight until this moment on the bus, but during the run through muddy trails to Market Lavington with the Sun blinding me, hung as low as it gets all year this time of day, I kept thinking about how nice it is that the days will now extend a little every day for 6 months.  Well, that and the fact that I could get a beer soon.

Pecker Wrecker pump clip

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Holiday Running Streak Day 29   2 comments

 

There have been days when meeting the 3 mile minimum for the Holiday Run Streak have been daunting (hangovers, bone idleness, actual injuries).  Today was a joy, though.

I caught the 9 o’clock to Devizes and headed south into the slimy mud, down one steep ridge and up another and emerging, eventually, in Market Lavington.  The timing was actually rubbish, though, as the only pub open before noon is the Green Dragon (no complaints, mind; it was a self-inflicted wound I would have avoided by taking the 10 o’clock bus instead).

2014-12-20 Devizes - Market Lavington - Great Cheverell

9.4 miles out, with a beer break in Market Lavington

2014-12-20 Great Cheverell to Devizes flat out no GPS

5.8 miles back after beer break in Great Cheverell

 

I thought I could kill a little time by inspecting the pubs on offer for another day and the Churchill in Littleton Panell looked worthy.  The Owl in Little Cheverell was turned into a private residence a year or so ago to the dismay of the old fellow I spoke with there and the Bridge downhill from the Churchill got a recommendation from a kind gentleman I met at the Bell in Great Cheverell which I wandered up to just as it opened.

To be honest, the 9.4 miles run up to then had been like forced labour but the longer than planned (and greater fluid volume than planned) stop at the Bell recharged me.  Although I thought I had restarted the GPS I arrived back in Devizes with no additional miles.  This was easy enough to manually map (5.8 miles) and the voice recorder — which I failed to turn off, as well, upon leaving — showed this last leg to be 40 minutes long.  There was a bit of sunshine and mostly good surfaces to run and I made the most of the opportunity…plus, I was afraid the chippy in Devizes would close at 2 and I really hankered for a bit of cod.

Good run, pleasant company, fine ales, and a treat at the end.  Not a bad way to start the longest night of the year.

Leo Fish and Chips, Wootton, Oxfordshire, Chippy Challenge #122   2 comments

Leo Fish and Chips Wootton Oxon cod

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: none
Evaluation: Too much batter but otherwise flawless.  This assessment may be due to running 6½ miles in the cold on an empty stomach just beforehand.
Days since last: 1 (Bell and Compass, Oxford)
Map link.

Leo Fish and Chips Wootton Oxon

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Royal Standard, Oxford, Chippy Challenge #119   1 comment

Cod and Chips Royal Standard

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
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)

Map link.

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The Crown, Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire   1 comment

crown cerney wick sign

“Boot and Bonnet and Everything On It,” was how the regular described the classic MG body, never mounted on a frame, that a garage nearby has in its yard for sale.  He had initiated a conversation with the older couple who drove up in a classic Jag E-type and before long they were discussing where to find spare parts and when the next rally trip was going to be.

Copacetic, but they were hogging the fireplace, too, although the bar was a good second choice to sit. Soon, I was joined by a newcomer in Wellies. “Where’s your car, then?” asked Mr Spare Parts. “I didn’t bring it, did I,” replied Mr Muddy Boots but in his West Country accent that came out, “Oi dinta bringih, did oi?”  “How’d you come, then?” Spare Parts continued. Muddy answered, “Arn me shanks,” and slapped one of his own thighs for emphasis.

crown cerney wick lounge

Two-thirds of the fine, old house was dedicated to the dining area through some abbey-styled windows and heavy doors.  The lounge was fairly atmospheric and the carpet was another version of the red-pub-rug that we put into our dining room or the one in the Alma I spotted last week.  But, if I was going to linger I would need to get out of the rapidly cooling sweaty kit and into something dry, so I drank up and headed back out to the trails.

crown cerney wick

 

DT #340, 6 December 2014 (Butty Bach)   2 comments

butty bach

 

A Carol re-write:
In the brilliant mid-Winter,
Frosty wind, blue skies.

Name: Butty Bach
Type: golden ale
Venue: The Crown, Cerney Wick

butty bach pump

Review/notes: Out for the daily run (14 in a row) on a crisp and clear day with the temperature hovering around freezing and only a light breeze to threaten a real chill, I popped into the Crown as it was the only pub in the area not yet ticked off my list.  There were only two pumps to choose from but they were both great beers.  Since I was certain Doom Bar had already been a Daily Tipple, I took a punt on Butty Bach knowing that if it was already DT’ed it was only noon and I had plenty of time to find another drink for the day’s write-up.  Floral, fruity, dry and refreshing it was just what I needed before continuing on through the lakes of the Cotswold Water Parks.

south cerney bin

I headed on to South Cerney for another Chippy Challenge entry and had to pause for a moment by a rubbish bin because I spotted the seal of the City of Atlanta on the side — or close enough as seen on this Atlanta bin:

resurgens atlanta

Regardless, the run was grand and punctuated with a mid-run stop, a late run Proustian moment, and a snack at the end.
2014-12-06 Cricklade to South Cerney via Cerney Wick

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #337, 3 December 2014 (Comtesse Saint-Hilaire Montagne Saint-Émilion)   Leave a comment

Comtesse Saint-Hilaire Montagne Saint-Emilion

 

Really shouldn’t care
But, artifice amuses
And piques interest.

Name: Comtesse Saint-Hilaire Montagne Saint-Émilion
Type: red wine
Recipe: burrito night — chicken boiled to shreds in tomato juice, shredded and wrapped with black beans and extra mature white cheddar
Venue: house

Review/notes: Great wine but felt a bit stuffy after the bottle so switched to the Atomic Firewater for The Walking Dead mid-season finale (our copy had Danish subtitles).

Still harvesting amusement from the Brooks/MapMyRun Holiday Challenge, this time because MMR responded to one of my tweets:

2014-12-03 MapMyRun takes notice

Two great things about this…first, and most importantly, they’ve completely missed the point that there is no winner of the challenge based on mileage (nor speed, nor duration, nor number of workouts — participation alone gets residents of the USA entered into a random draw).

Second, and the one I liked the most when I first read the MMR response about an hour after it was sent, the cheaters are all reinstated — the most believable of the Top Five, Shervin S, is doing about 19 miles per day at a pace a little below 4 miles per hour while I checked out Tony M yesterday to find he had turned in a run of over 3 miles averaging about 3m46s per mile.  Then there is my personal favourite:

2014-12-03 MapMyRun takes notice does fuck all

 

Our Dick Mask (Richard M in at #2) has tried the hardest to live up to the spirit and bile of my original sub-challenge by racking up over 10 THOUSAND miles on Sunday (average pace: under 19 seconds per mile).  He’s not a runner, he’s Santa Claus:

2014-12-03 Dick Mask shows us how it is done

 

My own mileage for today, a puny 6½, was at a snails pace of 9½ minutes per mile as I worked on a G-Had trail (map of the route at the GH4 entry for trail #53).

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #334, 30 November 2014 (Bishop’s Finger)   Leave a comment

Bishop's Finger

 

The Bishop’s Finger:
A.K.A. “The Nun’s Delight.”
No, really…it is.

Name: Bishop’s Finger
Type: bitter
Venue: house

Review/notes: There’s a pub in Canterbury called the Bishop’s Finger and is known locally as the Nun’s Delight, so the haiku for the day is accurate enough.  Shepherd’s Neame makes good beer, and this is some of it…I poured the glass to get through the write-ups for yesterday’s adventures and to prep me for the daily run, a simple loop through the Okus and Wichelstowe:

2014-11-30 okus wichelstowe 3 miles

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Pig and Drum, Worcester   1 comment

Pig and Drum Worcester sign

I felt like I was finished with my run and there wasn’t enough time to do any ‘normal’ tourism so I turned off the run tracker and popped in the first pub that attracted me.  The Pig and Drum threatened SKA and reggae on a window poster and had Pink Floyd blaring Comfortably Numb out the doors.. sold.

Pig and Drum Worcester Orchard Pig Philosopher

Inside I found a staggering array of cider pumps and ales in the sparse, warehouse-like room.  The bar lady was friendly and efficient and the guys hanging out were a laugh.  The music was what you might call classic rock but very good choices of it in my opinion (some Stones but from Let It Bleed, and unusual choices with regard to Van Morrison and the Clash, as well); the sound system was crisp and quite loud. It is the pub I wanted to have when I was 18 years old, and now at 52 it taunts me with the banner that I could have it if I really wanted:

Pig and Drum Worcester

Posted 2014/11/30 by Drunken Bunny in pubs, running

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Mug House, Claines, Worcestershire   Leave a comment

Mug House Claines

After the E-VIII-R postbox, the Mug House was the other target of my day out in Worcester.  700 years ago, it was the alehouse for the Church of St John Baptist and the church cemetery has, in the interim, expanded around the joint.  Today, it was rammed with customers dining and drinking and steaming up the place but I really could have spent weeks in the low ceilinged rooms I explored before escaping to the tables by the graveyard.

The landlady has the letters FBII after her name above the door, an honorary that may not be as prestigious as, say, Fellow of the Royal Society or Fellow of (insert science or engineering society of your choice, here), still serves to endorse the high standards of this busy house.  Oh, and if you’re lucky the winner of the 2014 Grand National may join you for a drink (but may not get his round in, with those unwieldy hooves).

St John Baptist Claines

 

 

Crispy Cod, Worcester, Chippy Challenge #116   1 comment

Crispy Cod Worcester cod

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: none
Evaluation: Stunning.  Sure, I was hungry mid-run and the damp weather enhances the flavours but I think this is one of the finer pieces of fish I’ve shoved down my gullet this year.  Just around the corner from a rare Edward VIII postbox and a short journey to the Alma (a very friendly pub), this qualifies northern Worcester as an ideal tourist destination.
Days since last: 1 (Pinehurst Fisheries, Swindon)

Crispy Cod Worcester
Map link.

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Edward VIII Postbox — The Holy Grail   12 comments

Edward VIII postbox Worcester and me s

Right.  So, this was the thing I came to Worcester for, the Holy Grail to post box enthusiasts — an Edward VIII postbox, one of only 161 left nationwide.  I was deathly ill the day before the Isle of Wight Marathon so the run I did to loosen up ruined me with regard to seeking out the one in Sandown a few miles from my hotel.

So, that’s the last one.  Sigh.  I’ve really enjoyed the postbox search; what next…what next?

 

Alma Tavern, Worcester   3 comments

Alma Tavern Worcester sign

I looked at my maps on the train and reckoned I would find where I was going easily enough without help of GPS or a compass or even the position of the sun (obscured as it was behind the clouds that rolled in as the train rolled north to Worcester).  This is the sort of running I tend to do: fearless of getting lost or, more to the point, so prepared to get lost and find something new or unexpected that getting lost has become the norm, a welcome companion as the countryside and towns are explored.

So it was that I found the Alma which I knew from planning this trip last week was out of the planned way.  However, I had already used my willpower running past a seemingly endless linear array of fine looking boozers and the stop to refer to the map  forced my capitulation.

Alma Tavern Worcester Banks Mild pump

Several pumps called me as I reached the bar but I’ve been on a jag for porters, stouts, and milds lately and the Banks’ (apostrophe catastrophe notwithstanding) Mild got the call.  The half dozen old guys (that had gone silent at the American accent emanating from this sweaty bloke) at the bar seemed to approve and went back to their conversation about jackasses that spend too much on fine wines.  I wandered about for a minute or two admiring the Christmas décor and the pub carpet pattern similar to our dining room, then settled in with the ancients…the other, even more ancient ancients if I am being perfectly honest.

Alma Tavern Worcester lounge

An almost endless stream of dudes with their young sons (in football kit) came through for pints and then disappeared off to my right (I was in the front window facing the bar).  Perhaps to the garden, perhaps another room.  Everyone there was on friendly terms and even I felt at home before my glass was half done.  Everyone wished me well on the day without ever asking once about what the day entailed.  Spectacular.

Alma Tavern Worcester

Bell Inn, Seend, Wiltshire   1 comment

Bell Inn Seend sign

For years, I have seen the Bell as I rode the bus route between Devizes and Trowbridge and have long meant to take some time to tick it off the list.  It turns out to be one of the places I’m most eager to come back to for another visit (perhaps regularly).

 

Bell Inn Seend Corvus Stout

 

I got here quickly in a mad dash from the Brewery Inn to make sure I had time to catch the bus; the pubs were nearer each other than I had estimated so once I topped the hills it was only a couple of minutes total (rather than ten or more).  This was good, though, as it allowed me a relaxed walk around the premises and a visit to the garden to take in the view of the valley while changing into some dry clothing in the light, misty rain.

Bell Inn Seend view

They have a sign outside that they do fish and chips takeaways on Wednesday and Friday evenings, which is attractive to me in the Year of Fish and Chips. Much more so was the lovely kitchen I spied on my snooping around and the note on the sign board about everything being fresh and local.  Moreover, for £2 more, you can turn any main into a 2-course meal by adding a starter or dessert.  I see a spring roadtrip this way for some dry weather hiking and a pub lunch.

Bell Inn Seend kitchen suppliers

It’s a Wadworth house so I had a Corvus stout (always an exceptional choice especially kept as well as it is here).  The only issue I had was the sign of the Bell: Wadworth has their own signage shop at the brewery and mostly makes unique signs for each of their pubs but this one is frightfully similar to the one you pass on your way through Devizes (although close inspection reveals the loving details in that one that this one is missing).  Yes, I am a petty prick.

Bell Inn Seend

 

Brewery Inn, Seend Cleve, Wiltshire   2 comments

Brewery Inn Seend Cleve sign

While the Brewery Inn was relatively empty, the bar itself was rammed largely due to the charming and agreeable landlady running the show but also, to some degree, because everyone at the bar was a friendly sort to begin with.  Unable to push close enough to read without my glasses (too fogged, smeared and dripping with rainwater and mud from the mucky trail I took from Bowerhill to use), I pointed at the last pump handle and asked, “is that a cider, madam?” “It is, indeed,” she answered instinctively louder than the guy sitting in front of the tap who volunteered, “ooo, aye, a fine cider that one, young man.”  I think that’s what he said, as it all came out as a single word.  It turned out to be Cheddar Valley Traditional cider, which Mr NoSpaceBetweenNotes pointed out used to be made by a small brewery but is now part of the Thatcher’s collection but is still the same formula as always and in some ways the quality control is better although ’tis sad to see the small ‘uns sell up [spewed in 3 seconds flat in his otherwise delightful West Country drawl].

Brewery Inn Seend Cleve cider

With my legs caked in mud and cow shit and my shirt soaked in rain from without and sweat from within, I moved to a table to check out my route and cause less offence.  Encroaching on others was not seen as a problem by the parents of the two little boys who kept tossing a cushion around and then crashing into my table with increasing ferocity.  I drank up faster than I had planned (this otherwise would have been a good house in which to linger) and as I was returning my glass heard the erstwhile father character say to one of the boys, “calm down, now, you might hurt yourself.”  Muttering my thanks to the lady of the house I added, “yeah, they’re definitely on the road to injury;” a two count and the guys at the bar started laughing and wishing me well for the day and to return soon.

Brewery Inn Seend Cleve

Bear, Melksham, Wiltshire   2 comments

Bear Melksham sign

 

I didn’t make any notes (well, there were mental notes that I forgot before leaving the house) regarding the opening times of pubs in Melksham except that I knew at least one opened at 10:30 and another at 11.  I soon found that none of the ones I spotted on the trot in from Semington were these.

Arriving at the King’s Arms, which was signposted as opening at 11, I found the doors locked (of course…it was 10 minutes till) and was confronted by a thin, middle-aged bloke with the needy smile of a Christian zealot.  Obviously, he must have thought, this underdressed man sweating in the rain needs my help and to be saved from eternal damnation; “are you alright, there, sir?” he asked and offered in the same breath.  “Atheist, here,” I corrected more politely than I am usually capable; “not in the market for fairy tales.”  Taken aback, he quickly asked, “how…how did you know?”  Pointing with a wiggly forefinger at his face with its needy eyes and practised rictus and his tidy and casual but unmistakeable suburban missionary’s garb, “what else would cause, you know, this?”  I thought a quick trot around the town would be in order and I could stop back by when the God-botherer found more fertile ground to plow.

Five minutes and half a mile passed and I was ready to head back when I spotted the Bear with a key bit of information: it is a Wetherspoon so the bar had been serving since 8 or 9 am.  Ideal.

Inside, I chatted with the very pleasant bar manager about the run I was on and the beer that I ordered.  I could easily have leaned on the bar and talked to her for a couple of rounds but thought it prudent to stick to just one and found a table in the busy and very modern interior of this mock Tudor inn.  The sun emerged as I was considering a second and I decided to go find a fish and chip shop that might be open (although the first I got to didn’t open until 11:30, and the second at 11:45…ten minutes early for each of them, a theme that I only realised on the bus ride home).

Bear Melksham

Posted 2014/11/23 by Drunken Bunny in pubs, Run Across Britain

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DT #309, 5 November 2014 (Villa Verde Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)   Leave a comment

Villa Verde Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

The fireworks commence.
Kitty hides under the bed.
Inflammable skies.

Name: Villa Verde Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Type: red wine
Recipe: slow roast pork shoulder
Venue: house

Review/notes: Bonfire night saw my own gunpowder plot in the form of going out for my first — albeit brief — run in 3½ weeks (because of surgery, bleeding like the last of the Romanovs, and the worst case of lurgy I’ve had since 1983 which lingers on, and on, and on). The fireworks and the nearly full moon were all that lit my way on a lot of the trail which overlapped an awful lot of both the G-Had HHH and the Moonrakers HHH trails for the evening.

The dinner was lovely and needed no tending so I headed into town after the jog and walked home beneath the fireworks with Jackie (who had a late day, today).  “Fancy a glass of wine with dinner?” I asked as we passed the supermarket. After a long pause with her mouth ajar she whispered, “who ARE you and what have you done with Bun?”

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October

 

October Recap: Pubs, Daily Tipples, Chippies, and the G-Had   81 comments

 

New pubs to the blog count, all on two day trip to IoW

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):

BEER

DT #

Date

Name

Type

Venue

274 01-Oct Thwaites Wainwright bitter Wheatsheaf
277 04-Oct Yates 130 Birthday Ale bitter Yates
296 23-Oct John Willie’s 100 bitter Four Candles
278 05-Oct Andwell Gold Muddler blonde ale Steam Railway
284 11-Oct Ale of Wight blonde ale Crab and Lobster Tap
287 14-Oct Old Growler dark beer Far From the Madding Crowd
291 18-Oct Trojan Horse dark IPA (IDA) The Savoy
297 24-Oct Edinburgh Pale Ale IPA The William Morris
285 12-Oct Theakston’s Mild mild Isle of Wight Community Club
292 19-Oct Colonel’s Whiskers mild The Savoy
293 20-Oct Moorhouse’s Black Cat Reserve mild Four Candles
298 25-Oct Plain Ales Inncognito stout 2014 Swindon Beer Festival
299 26-Oct Belhaven Black stout Beehive
302 29-Oct Marston’s Oyster Stout stout Four Candles

WINE

DT #

Date

Name

Type

Venue

301 28-Oct Taylor’s Select Reserve port house
275 02-Oct Anciano Reserva Tempranillo red wine house
276 03-Oct Simo Crianza red wine house
279 06-Oct Trapiche Pinot Noir red wine house
280 07-Oct La Rabatte Chianti red wine house
282 09-Oct Banrock Station Shiraz Mataro red wine house
283 10-Oct Arpeggio Nerello Mascalese red wine Rustico, Swindon
286 13-Oct Desconocido red wine house
288 15-Oct Villa Garducci Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red wine house
289 16-Oct Morrison’s Claret red wine house
290 17-Oct Rosemount Reserve Shiraz Grenache red wine house
295 22-Oct Featherstone Ruby Cabernet Shiraz red wine house
303 30-Oct Bin 99 Cabernet Franc red wine house
304 31-Oct Navarra Old Vines Garnacha red wine house
294 21-Oct Luis Felipe Edwards Rose rose wine house
281 08-Oct Inycon Pinot Grigio Grecanico white wine house

BOOZE

DT #

Date

Name

Type

Venue

300 27-Oct John Lee Bourbon booze house

 

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.

103 Yates’ Swindon, Wiltshire 04-Oct-14 Pub
104 Stotesbury’s Fish and Chips Newport, Isle of Wight 11-Oct-14 Chippy
105 Tottie’s Fish and Chips Cowes, Isle of Wight 12-Oct-14 Chippy
106 Morrison’s Battered Cod Fillets Swindon, Wiltshire 17-Oct-14 House
107 The William Morris Cowley, Oxfordshire 24-Oct-14 Pub
108 Swindon Beer Fest Food Tent Swindon, Wiltshire 25-Oct-14 other

 

Chippy Challenge 2014-10-31 prediction chart

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.

 

GHadHHH Hits

 

DT #290, 17 October 2014 (Rosemount Reserve Shiraz Grenache)   3 comments

Rosemount Reserve Shiraz Grenache

 

Don’t tell your surgeon,
“I’m just glad to be back from
Sierra Leone.”

Name: Rosemount Reserve Shiraz Grenache
Type: red wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: In the hospital again, getting my boobs lifted or, at least, the left one were the superficial BCC was cut out.  The conversation led around to the Isle of Wight Marathon at which point she said that it seemed excessive to run that far.  “I  just did it to celebrate returning from Sierra Leone.”  We laughed and laughed.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September

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