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Monday, 20 May 2019

School Trip to Rugby

Another Proper Pub Day Out, this time to the home of 'egg-chasing' and Flashman - a place that I've visited several times via the canal, but obviously failed to find most of the good pubs (as usual!).

Arriving by train, this time, gives a shorter walk to the town centre, but still a bit of an uphill slog for someone as unfit as I am these days! But lo! There was a pub in sight just to keep me going...but it isn't on our list...aaagh!

The magnificent looking Wheeltapper serves as a beacon for those weary walkers from the station...but I resisted and strode on up the road to the right. Onwards to the Seven Stars...and it was well worth it! (and I wasn't the last one to arrive!)
Proudly proclaiming to be the Rugby CAMRA Pub of the Year 2018 and I wouldn't argue against that description. Whilst you will get better internal descriptions from Retired Martin and Beer Leeds and an in depth blow-by-blow account of the beers (and some of my pictures) from Pub Curmudgeon, you'll just get the external shots and whether I liked the place for each pub...Yes in most cases!

As commented elsewhere, I could have stayed here for much longer, but we had a lot of ground to cover (pubwise, if not in terms of distance!). Next was a very short walk away.
I took my photo on departure as the Coors van had moved on by then, but the weather had turned into a re-run of Huddersfield...almost! This was another good pub that, on another occasion, we'd have stayed for more than just one pint.

Our next destination was one of the pubs I'd visited before, but I doubt I could find it again from Martin's 'meandering' route there!
The Merchant's Inn is an interesting place with more pub memorabilia and breweriana than the average ten pubs combined and I've never seen so many pump clips in one place! This was our lunch stop as well. The food was good, so, it's another "Yes" from me!

Then it was the longest walk of the day (almost 10 minutes) away from the town centre to this place.
The Victoria was well worth the walk. We turned left and entered the bar at the pointy end of this classic street corner boozer. My second pint of an Atomic Ales beer - both very pleasant.

It didn't seem long before we were on our feet again and heading for the best pub I'd previously visited in Rugby.
The Squirrel is a very compact pub and, whilst still a very good pub, it wasn't quite as wonderful as I'd remembered it. Possibly because previous visits had been in the dark and The Squirrel was the best pub of the evening, but on this trip we'd already been in three pubs that I'd now rate higher! It's still a "Yes" from me, though!

Now we were headed for micropub territory!
A relatively new addition to the watering holes of Rugby, The Crafty Banker was somewhat better than some other micros I've been in. There seemed to be more space than in many, but with modern d├ęcor. As a pub I'd rate it as OK.

Then it was another micro, which had grown out of the bottle shop next door.
The Rugby Tap Room felt more like a pub than the previous micro, but was also more cramped. Again, I'd rate it as OK, but I expect that it gets quite a lot of trade from tourists come to marvel at Rugby School which was just over the road and the Rugby Museum which is next door.

Then it was another stroll to the final pub that we all made it to.
As I'd had a pint in all the previous seven pubs, I have no recollection of how to find the Half Moon. (But Rugby isn't such a big place that it will remain lost to me!) This was quite a lively little boozer (well, it was about 6pm on a Friday!) and it gets the thumbs up from me!

Our final stop was right in the centre of town, but only me and the assorted 'Mudgies' ventured inside.
The Bull (not sure if I've been there before!) was the place which broke my resistance and I had a half of Carling Punk IPA (as I've been reliably informed!). After confirming England's victory in the cricket, me and the Mudgies headed for the station. (What is the collective noun for a group of Mudgies? A Snug of Mudgies?)

It was quite a trudge back to the station...but at least it was downhill. We walked past the Wheeltapper again, which looked even more magnificent through the haze of 8½ pints!
If we'd known then about the train delays that we were about to experience, we may well have popped in for a swift half...but we didn't and had a longer wait on the platform than anticipated. We all got home at a reasonable hour.

It was an excellent day out and, next time we're passing Rugby on the canal I'll know where to go for the best pubs!

Monday, 13 May 2019

#259 Carlsberg Brewery, Northampton : 1982 to 2019

Have you ever had one of those occasions when a memory that you are convinced is true, turns out to be completely mistaken?

In my defence, it was 37 years ago, but on our recent trip to Northampton, via the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal, I was 100% convinced that my 1982 picture of the Carlsberg Brewery had been taken from this viewpoint.

This was taken on the morning of Sunday 21st April 2019 (Easter Sunday) as we headed away from Northampton back up to the main line of the Grand Union Canal.

However, when I returned home and dug out my earlier picture, this was the viewpoint from the evening of Saturday 28th August 1982.
In reality, that view is probably no longer available with the growth of so many trees and bushes in the decades that have passed. The main building hasn't changed over the years, but there were signs of expansion when we got onto the river.

The view from the centre of the River Nene in Northampton is, superficially, little changed, but how I wished that I'd taken photos of the decaying industrial landscape in 1982 to contrast wth all the residential building that has taken its place. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

#258 Cock & Greyhound, Whitchurch, Shropshire : 1996 to 2018 (RIP?)

My first ever canal visit to Whitchurch was back in 1981, long before I started taking pictures of the pubs we visit. I have no memories of which pubs we visited.

My next visit to Whitchurch, via the Llangollen Canal, was on the evening of Wednesday 28th August 1996 and The Greyhound was the first pub we came across as it is quite a walk from the canal to the town centre.
Aside from it being outside the town centre, I have no other recollection of it.

It was quite a few years before we were back in Whitchurch, this time on the evening of Wednesday 29th August 2007.
In the intervening 11 years, the signage had been replaced and it was now a Pubmaster pub.

It was another 11 years before we returned on the lunchtime of Thursday 30th August 2018...and this is the scene we discovered.
formerly The Greyhound
No only was it closed, but the name had changed to the Cock & Greyhound. At the time, it looked pretty terminal, but according to WhatPub it reopened in April 2019. It had been owned by AtWill Pubs, who appear to have gone out of business and it is difficult to work out what the future is (or the present, even!)