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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

#073 The Bull, Aston, Birmingham : 2002 to 2011

Considering that I've lived in Birmingham since 1979 it is quite surprising that the first time I set foot inside The Bull in Aston was in 2002; Thursday 19th September 2002 (at lunchtime) to be precise! That would be just the 200 years since it opened!
We'd been on a canal trip that had taken us to Leek on the Caldon Canal and had moored at Aston Junction. Normally we would have gone to the Sacks of Potatoes, but The Bull was a pub I'd previously noticed from the flyover and thought it was worth a visit...and what a good decision that was. It was a cosy, proper pub with friendly staff and very good food. (and it still is!)

Next visit was on Wednesday 1st September 2004 (lunchtime again) near the end of a trip back from Oxford.
No change, inside or out.

Our next visit was on Thursday 7th September 2006 (luchtime unsurprisingly) on our way back from a trip that took us to the Anderton Boat lift.
Still no change...which is good!

Our final visit, to date was on Saturday 27th August 2011, this time at the start of our journey to the Caldon Canal. Yet another lunchtime stop!
Finally! Some changes! OK, they've only painted the outside AND put some bench seats outside, but at least that's progress. Inside it was the same as before which was good news (Well, there might have been a few more jugs hanging up, but its impossible to be sure as there are soooo many!). For more details and historical information you can visit their website here.

Monday, 18 June 2012

#072 Newbold Crown, Newbold-on-Avon, Warks : 2005 to 2011

Believe it or not, we've visited Newbold-on-Avon many times on our canal trips (including my first ever trip in 1980!), but it wasn't until 2005 that we ventured beyond the Boat and Barley Mow (#053) and discovered the Newbold Crown!

It is a fairly standard estate/village pub that was quite welcoming on our visits. This first encounter was at lunchtime on Tuesday 31st May 2005 on a trip to take our boat to Nuneaton for repairs.

Our next visit was on the evening of Monday 30th May 2011. As we'd stopped quite early, we decided to have a bit of a pub crawl around Newbold-on-Avon. This meant revisiting the Newbold Crown for the first time in 6 years - and it had hardly changed. It is still a friendly local, but as we were there early in the evening it was fairly quiet (and it was a Monday!)

There's not much more to add, except that it is listed on the local CAMRA website.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

UPDATE : #058 Spotted Dog, Digbeth : 1998 to 2012

Back in March I reported that I'd been on a Digbeth Photo Walk past this pub and nothing had changed. What a difference a few weeks make. The closed Spotted Dog/TJ's looked as though it was never going to reopen, but it has resurrected itself as Suki 10c - a music venue/night club and had a complete external paint job.

This is how it looked when I last took a picture.

Sadly, the news is not all good. The venue has been subjected to a complaint about the noise and is now fighting to stay open. I'm grateful to the Digbeth is Good blog for getting this news out and hopefully the new venue will be able to continue.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

#071 Blue Bell Cider House, Hockley Heath, Warks : 1996 to 2011

The Blue Bell Cider House has long been well known around these parts as a good place to visit in the summer for a trip out into the countryside, just a short drive outside of Birmingham. I'm convinced that I'd been there before 1996, but it must have been by car as our first canal visit was on Saturday 25th May 1996.
We actually visited again on Friday 6th September 1996 on our way back from Llangollen and Chester, but I didn't take a picture! We'd moved our boat back to the Midlands in 1995 and so this became a more regular potential stop for us, especially as it has canalside moorings and does good pub food.
Our next visit was a on Saturday 24th May 1997.
The doors are now blue and the wall surrounding the large Blue Bell sign is white...and it was a much sunnier day!
Our next visit was on Saturday 10th August 2002 when we took a short break around the Midlands to do some much needed painting on Emma Jane.
It looks as though there's been a bit more painting done, but otherwise unchanged.
Saturday 26th August 2006 was our next visit at the start of a trip that took us to Northwich via the Anderton Boat Lift.
Again, largely unchanged, but the England flags were out, presumably left over following the World Cup. I also took a shot from the canal as you wouldn't know it was actually a canalside pub from the photos so far!
Next time it was Saturday 24th May 2008 at the start of a trip around the Midlands.
The doors are now Dark Blue and the large sign is on a Yellow background.
Our last visit to the Blue Bell was on Friday 26th August 2011 again at the start of a canal trip, this time to the Caldon Canal.
The pub itself was unchanged, inside or out, but the front had been tarmac-ed for car parking and the table had gone.
In all our years of visiting the Blue Bell it has hardly changed and is a good pub that does straightforward English food. There is now a website for the Blue Bell and it is well known for it's offerings of cider, which is a drink I've not drunk much of since I left school!
We only seem to visit the Blue Bell at the start of our trips because it is just the right distance away from our moorings, taking just under 3 hours to get there if things go well. If we get delayed, The Wharf at Hockley Heath offers an earlier stop off point for lunch.