View Full Version : The Guinness and Gold Cup Blog

11-03-2010, 22:49
I thought Iíd set up a thread to cover the events of an upcoming trip. Some of you may be familiar with previous ones covering trips to Bath and to Folkestone. The title of this one is more about the timing than the destination as it will cover both St Patrickís Day next Wednesday and Cheltenham Gold Cup day on the Friday. On St Paddyís Day Iíll be in Edinburgh and by the time Gold Cup day comes around I should, trains permitting, be in Manchester. Gold Cup day in Manchester is a regular trip for me when I meet up with a few work colleagues who take a half day and trawl around the pubs watch the racing and have a few beers on the way.

At various stages during the tour I will be accompanied by mates Graham (fellow PG member Grailhunter) and also Chris. You may recall Chris as FP (Fizzy Piss) from the Bath Blog. We may possibly also encounter the Happy Frenchman of Folkestone Blog fame. Who knows what the week will hold but provided I can get my netbook to work Iíll let you know.

The pubs of both cities are well known to Graham and I so I expect we will be visiting a few old friends and maybe discovering some new ones. The Oxford Bar in Edinburgh will no doubt be on the agenda plus the Halfway House Ė although all those bleeding steps always put me off. In Manchester it will be the old favourites, Marble Arch, Smithfield, City Arms etc., plus I also want to visit the Ďrefurbishedí Castle Hotel. On the Sunday weíll probably be looking to get out of the City Centre, given that itís the day of the Man U v Liverpool game at Old Trafford, so if anyone has any ideas for a day trip with some decent real ale pubs let me know.

14-03-2010, 07:01
Up early for a Sunday to watch a bit of the cricket, which seems to be going well. Also going well are my carefully designed preparations for the Guinness & Gold Cup Tour. From a mental perspective I am slowly getting all thoughts of work out of my mind. I managed to get enough done in the last couple of days so that I could go on holiday with a reasonably clear conscience, whilst still leaving enough work so that they might actually realise I’m not there (Sorry about that new deal from GR that I left T, it really didn‘t look like the sort of thing I should have attempted on Friday afternoon).

On Saturday I assuaged another conscience with a first visit to my parents since Christmas, armed with chocolates and flowers, not only for Mothers Day today but also for Mum’s birthday tomorrow. This was despite work colleagues C & J pouring shed loads of beer down my throat on Friday evening :cheers:

So not having had a drink yesterday, and wishing to follow my Great Escape methodology of having a dry day the day before embarking on a big tour, the logical consequence is that I must have a load of beer today. I mean back-to-back dry days I can cope with but three days off and I’m afraid that I might get out of the habit (or even worse properly sober up). So not wishing to let Grailhunter down on the first leg of the tour I shall be visiting St Albans this afternoon for a few beers and probably watch the Man Utd v Fulham game. For the sake of my Fantasy Football team, United thumping them 4 - 0 with a couple each from Rooney and Evra would be good.

We could really do with getting these Bangladeshis out, 271-7 now and these two are closing in on a century partnership. We’ve gambled on four frontline bowlers for this game, one of whom has just come back from injury and another, local Watford boy Steven Finn, on debut :confused:

14-03-2010, 07:30
Hi Millay, if you are going to the Castle, you could also try The City Pub (133 Oldham St) which is a recent real ale 'gain' (tho I can't personally vouch for it yet). I've also still to do the Black Lion & Kings Arms which, in addition to New Oxford & Crescent, make Salford worth a visit, though it would be heading further toward the belly of the beast so not on for Sunday.
Have you previously done Stockport justice? 8mins train from Piccadilly; Crown (Heaton La. - my national #1), Swan with Two necks, Queens Head, Arden Arms, Railway (Porters Railway, Avenue St), & Olde Vic (not open til 19:00 weekends). I'd add the Magnet, Wellington Rd North, which should be great with 14 handpumps, but I've had quality issues on both my visits. If you did walk up there, then you could add The Railway, further along same road, recent award winner. That should do you for the day, especially as you'll want jokers in the Crown, Olde Vic & Porters Railway.

Now I've just seen that ludicrous emoticon in your last post, I'm not sure I should divulge this information. Oh, go on then, since it's you.


14-03-2010, 08:03
Thanks Trainman, hadn’t heard about The City Pub so will definitely seek that one out and report back. Salford looks good, I’ve stayed there once but didn’t drink there much. It may be a good option for the Saturday as Grailhunter is staying out that way somewhere. I’ve only paid a fleeting visit to Stockport and stayed close to the station with the Armoury, the Florist and an awful place called the Jolly Crofter. Thanks for the recommendations it’s looks promising, I’ll do a bit of research and we may do that on the Sunday.

Sorry about the emoticon, I should probably get rid of it. It doesn’t represent my actual allegiances (I’m a Spurs man like RogerB - although not as obsessed) but I have to think of my FF team. I certainly won’t be waving any red flags around in Manchester, I seem to remember Bar Fringe on Swan St being popular with City fans on match days.

14-03-2010, 08:53
We had a couple of good Acorn beers in the City Inn in Manchester in January when we did a crawl round. Also did Smithfield, Bar Fringe and Crown and Kettle as they are all within about 5 minutes from each other. If you go up to the Marble Arch call into the Angel on the way as they are getting a good reputation for real ale again and you have to pass it anyway. Salford Crescent and New Oxford are still first Class.


14-03-2010, 09:12
Thanks gill, another vote for this new City Inn then, will have to try it. Normally get to the Smithfield and if we make the Marble Arch will drop into the Angel. Salford looking good as well.

15-03-2010, 05:42
The cricket is going well this morning and even though itís the day to ĎBeware the Ides of Marchí itís difficult to see any soothsayer forecasting that even with our depleted attack we wonít be able to bowl the Bangladeshis out within the remaining five sessions (score at lunch on day four 45-2 chasing 513) . Itís actually an historic day for cricket as on this day in 1877 the first ever England v Australia Test Match started, the Aussies won.

Iíve headed this post up as Day 1 of the Guinness & Gold Cup Tour despite the fact that Iím going nowhere. Grailhunter is though, as he is due to be flying up to Edinburgh on this very day. This does probably depend on him having successfully completed last weeks work assignment though. He told me he was working in Tash, Kent last week and although I googled it I couldnít find anywhere called Tash. It turned out to be Tashkent in Uzbekistan :eek: an ex-Soviet country ruled since independence by mad President Karimov who grows madder and ever more ruthless as he clings on to power.

Grailhunter must have really pissed someone off to be sent there. Iím told that inflation is such that although the exchange rate is about 2,500 Som to the Pound the highest value note available is 100 Som, so even if he was able to find a decent beer heíd probably have needed to take a suitcase of cash to pay for it.

Hopefully a decent beer will be a bit more accessible in Edinburgh.

15-03-2010, 14:30
Hi there. Well here I am sat at Birmingham airport in the departure lounge psyching myself up for the week. No beer yet today but I can see a bar behind me with three handpumps so it would be rude not to imbibe I think. Must admit I'm a bit concerned to read that Millay is having a dry day today because that means he's likely to be a bit 'perky' when he gets to Edinburgh tomorrow. So maybe I should go a bit careful today, on the other hand.........
Just to report I survived Uzbekistan although I'm walking with a limp where I had to walk around with pocketfuls of notes. The largest note was actually 1000 Som,but as that was only equivalent to 40p and practically nowhere took credit cards it meant walking around with about 100 notes in your pocket just for a normal evening of a few beers and a meal. What a crazy way to carry on. Mind you it did make me feel rich every time I came to pay and pulled out one of my pocketfuls of wedges.
The local beer was called Sarbast (or was it Starburst ?) and came in three varieties, original at 4.2%, Special at 5% and Extra at 5.6%, all in bottles. It was surprisingly good actually although I was a little disappointed to see on the label that it was brewed by Carlsberg, Uzbekistan branch. These multinationals are taking over the world.
Anyway I'm off to the bar now to see what's on those handpumps. If it's only Greene King IPA I'll be back in a minute !!

15-03-2010, 14:37
Hi mate, I was going to send you a text to ensure that Uzbek Airlines had delivered you safely home.

BMI permitting, I will be arriving Edinburgh around 2pm tomorrow afternoon. I'm aiming to check in and make my way to the City Centre before the rush hour traffic picks up. I'll give you a call late afternoon to see what you're up to.

Looks like Salford on Saturday and Stockport on Sunday might be a plan for the weekend. Trainman's Stockport crawl looks a good one.

15-03-2010, 15:25
Well, I'm back from the bar. Turns out it was a Wetherspoons. No IPA thankfully but the only choice was Ruddles Best, Pedigree or Abbott ! So had a Pedigree which came in at £2.19 with a CAMRA voucherand decided to keep the thirst until I get to Edinburgh where hopefully I'll be able to find somewhere with a little better choice.
Salford and Stockport sound good. Never been to either so look forward to trying some pastures new. Heard quite a bit about the Crescent in Salford but never made it there before.

Well I'll have to board the old Tiger Moth in a minute so have to go. Must admit I'm not sure about flying in a plane with propellers. They always look a bit fragile to me so fingers crossed I'll get there in one piece. Mind you, can't be any worse than Uzbek airlines I suppose ! Might just have to have a 'recovery' pint at the Wetherspoons at Edinburgh airport and use another voucher.

Adios for now.

15-03-2010, 22:05
Have just returned to the hotel after a fairly sedate first evening in Edinburgh city centre.
First port of call was the Abbotsford which is one of my favourite Edinburgh pubs. Had a stonking pint of Dark Island which is one of my favourite beers. Wanted to stay for more than one but thought I ought to move on. Definitely want to go back there though during the week. Moved on to the Kenilworth. Another of my favorite pubs here. I really like the decor in here. A decent pint of Caledonian 80 Shillings. Moved on to the Rose & Crown where Dark Island was on again and I couldn't resist a couple here whilst watching Liverpool take Portsmouth to the cleaners.
Decided to head back to the hotel after this to conserve my strength for tomorrow.
So, am now about to have a nightcap of Carlsberg Export - I know but it's the best you can get in a Travelodge. Hope it doesn't upset the constitution for tomorrow.

15-03-2010, 22:10
I know but it's the best you can get in a Travelodge.
It's not one of the Travelodge sites that were committing to stock the champion bottled beer then? (Titanic Stout).

15-03-2010, 22:14
Nope not that lucky. Had a good look at the fridge and it's full of the usual fizzy rubbish.

15-03-2010, 23:13
Nope not that lucky. Had a good look at the fridge and it's full of the usual fizzy rubbish.

Not as bad as the awful Travelodge in Brighton then. There was no bar to speak of, nothing on draught and I ended up with a warm can of Guinness.

Just finished packing, time for a few hours kip before getting up for the cricket tomorrow and heading for the airport.

16-03-2010, 06:41
Got up to see the afternoon session of the cricket thinking that it might be all over, only to find that we haven’t managed to shift even one of those stubborn Bangladeshi batsmen in the morning session. Better news just after the break though as Swann gets centurion Siddique to edge one to Colly. The new batsman comes in and smacks Swann back over his head for a 4 and a 6, does this young man know nothing of his country’s proud tradition of losing Test Matches.

Commentators are currently Bob Willis and Mike Atherton who has just trolled out the line “Captains are born not made”, it’s enough to send me back to sleep. Hang on though, here we go, Swann with another wicket as he spots Rahim coming down the pitch and slips in a quicker one that bowls him. Now Broad gets in on the action and traps the new batsman in front. It's 301-8 and the Fat Lady is warming up.

16-03-2010, 08:08
Thanks gill, another vote for this new City Inn then, will have to try it. Normally get to the Smithfield and if we make the Marble Arch will drop into the Angel. Salford looking good as well.

We're in Salford on Saturday, trains permitting.

We'll be crawling from The Crescent to the New Oxford, Kings Arms, then a small detour to The Mark Addy to see what it's like now it's been refurbed and is selling cask again and finishing up at the Black Lion. :drinkup:

We'll then be getting the mere 20 minute train ride home to the dale, the home of The Baum. :love:

Does Rochdale have a chance for the Sunday trip out?

Cask & Feather, Flying Horse, Regal Moon, Baum had 23 different beers on between them last weekend. :cheers:

16-03-2010, 08:28
Cricket won, last bit of packing done and I'm ready to go.

Iím leaving myself plenty of time this morning and aim to get to the airport around two hours before my 12:15 flight and take advantage of the BMI lounge. Iím also remembering my previous chaotic flight up to Edinburgh last year. Not being able to afford a chauffeur driven limo to the airport I decided to get a Greenline bus, which would take just over one hour. Having seen one go sailing by 10 minutes early as I exited my front door the next one was predictably 10 minutes late but I still thought Iíd get there in good time. Then a combination of a lack of information and my own stupidity took over and things went a bit wrong. We reached Heathrow Bus Station where a few people got off and I assumed we would then head off around the terminals. Once we had passed the sixth sign for T 1,2 & 3 I started to feel a bit uneasy but not as much as I did as we pulled up outside T5. On enquiring of the driver if he was going to T1 he told me I should have got off at the Bus Station.

It was now just 20 minutes before check-in was due to close so in blind panic I jumped into a cab and asked the driver to get me to T1 as quickly as possible. Now if you give that sort of challenge to most London taxi drivers theyíll set off like a bat out of hell and do a passing impression of Charlton Hestonís chariot driving in Ben Hur. Unfortunately I think the only movie this bloke had seen was Driving Miss Daisy. Consequently I arrived hot and sweaty at the check-in desk two minutes late, and it had cost me a £15 cab fare. I clearly hadnít realised that theyíd built T5 in Birmingham.

So Iím taking no chances and will be leaving soon so this is the final post before we, hopefully, go mobile.

PS - ROBCamra - I'll PM you later re the weekend

16-03-2010, 09:31
I surprised Millay, living in Watford, that you're not making the rather shorter trip to Luton for an Easyjet flight?

16-03-2010, 10:30
Hmmm. Good point Trainman. Millay mentions spending time in the BMI lounge so I wonder whether that means he's forked out to go Business Class ! Surely not. That extra money could be put to much better use in the pubs of Edinburgh and Manchester (or even on the nag in the Gold Cup on friday).

Having had a lie in this morning I'm feeling fresh and alert for whatever the day throws at me (or for whatever ales I throw down my neck later). The Carlsberg Export appears to have had no lasting effects thankfully.

Off to get some food now to line the stomach. Must try and remain sober until Millay gets here !

16-03-2010, 10:37
Hmmm. Good point Trainman. Millay mentions spending time in the BMI lounge so I wonder whether that means he's forked out to go Business Class ! Surely not. That extra money could be put to much better use in the pubs of Edinburgh and Manchester (or even on the nag in the Gold Cup on friday).

Yes Business Class but spending air miles so only paying £23 taxes. However before I hit the BC lounge I've popped into the Skylark (JDW) for a pint of Skinners Figgy's Brew. So don't worry about staying sober Grailhunter, seems I've started before you.

16-03-2010, 11:33
The BMI Business Lounge is pretty good and has had a bit of a refurb since I was here last year. Once you've found it, it really is a haven of calm amongst the maelstrom that is today's modern airport. All very civilised there's free newspapers snacks, fruit etc. and I am currently breakfasting on a very pleasant cheeseboard with grapes and an apple, will probably be the most healthy thing I eat this week. All accompanied by a bottle of London Pride, oh didn't I mention there was a free bar, not such a silly idea now eh guys ;)

There's another website whose forums I use occasionally called FlyerTalk, it's full of American businessmen flying around the world and staying in the best hotels on expenses and racking up the loyalty points. Some of them go to extraordinary lengths to maximise points. Did you know that Mileage Runs and Mattress Runs are popular with these guys, they take trips just for the hell of it to earn enough points to keep their Gold or Diamond status. Some of them do very detailed trip reports and go into all the technical stuff about the plane and the seating configerations. When I realised that they would often list the entire contents of the menu and post photos of the in-flight meal from half a dozen different angles it scared me rather. Not that we'd get that obsessed about anything on here, surely not :D

16-03-2010, 11:46
Flight has just been called but that should not worry us Business Class lot, we'll stroll on at the last minute in the sure knowledge that our bags will be first out at the other end. To be honest you don't get much from BMI once on the plane, the seating is the same but they do keep the middle seat free. You also get a free boxed meal. On the short LHR - EDI trip you tend to spend more time taxiing around the airport than you do in the air. There's just enough time for a demonstartion of the lifejackets (in case we land in the Trent presumably) to hand out the food boxes and collect them in before Captain Biggles is giving the old 'flight attendants prepare for landing call' .

16-03-2010, 14:34
The flight arrived a bit early and was largely uneventful. Got a bulkhead seat 1A, no doubt a benefit of an early check in. Aircraft was an Airbus 319-100 for anyone interested, or in case anyone from FlyerTalk is looking in. Called up the Hilton and within minutes a courtesy bus was there to pick me up. What? Well I'm not going to stay at a bleeding Travelodge like Grailhunter am I, plus I got a nice half price deal through BMI.

Just going to freshen up, check out the bar for later and find which pub Grailhunter is in, as he surely must.

Posts will now start to get a little fewer and further between as the bias moves quite rightly from blogging to drinking :drinkup:

16-03-2010, 14:38
they take trips just for the hell of it to earn enough points to keep their Gold or Diamond status. Some of them do very detailed trip reports and go into all the technical stuff about the plane and the seating configerations. When I realised that they would often list the entire contents of the menu and post photos of the in-flight meal from half a dozen different angles it scared me rather. Not that we'd get that obsessed about anything on here, surely not
Defrauding their companies, as far as I'm concerned and, having run a dept which paid such clowns' expenses, it very much stuck in the throat when you got the annual 'no money left in the pot' (for pay comp) bollox.
Our obsession is done under our own steam - their reportage of flight menus is, presumably, on company time?

Cheltenham is on-thread and, despite Paddy Power's much vaunted 'money-back-on-your-losing-bet-if-Dunguib-wins-Supreme-Novices' promotion, the slightly better offer was from Betfred (wrong affiliation, I know) who offered money back as free bet simply if your horse lost. Easy, I thought, a quick pony on Dunguib and, if things go wrong, another bet of same value to come. They won't go wrong though will they? Of course they will! Bookies laughing, Paddies (&me) crying, just 26 torments to go...

Posts will now start to get a little fewer and further between as the bias moves quite rightly from blogging to drinking :drinkup:

Quite right. Prioritisation...

16-03-2010, 23:33
Well, the journey to the City Centre was a long one. There's a bus stop outside the hotel and as I was told "hold oot your hand dearie or they'll gie whizzing by". Just as I arrived a no 35 arrived so I hopped on. 30 minutes later and we've been through more Business Parks, Shopping Centres and Park & Rides than I knew existed. We even went through RBS headquarters Gogarburn which was a bit disconcerting, I can't say too much as they deign to pay my salary. We had a conference once near Wembley just as they were pulling down the famous towers, an historic tradition raised to the ground by philistinistic greed and self interest, and then there's Wembley ;)

Eventually met up with Grailhunter at the Blue Blazer, which is as good as ever. Dark Island and a Craigmill Brewery Avondale at a London price-like £3.20.

Next a walk down then up to the Bow Bar, a little known fact is that Caledonian Deuchars IPA was first brewed as a house beer for this pub. As we were in one of Scotland's historic pubs I had an Oakham Pompey Royal and GH had a Skinners Keel Over. Then GH spotted a bottle of Orkney Porter from the Swannay Brewery and his eyes lit up, when I informed him that it was 9% and £4.25 for a 275ml bottle he was even more determined so we had to have one each.

Next after a bit of a detour was the Halfway House, down the steps on fleshmarket close. I can confirm that despite the rumours this has not been taken over by JDW, it's about 20 times too small for them anyway. They have also stopped the CAMRA discount, some rubbish about local regulations. We both had the Caley Three Monkeys.

A walk down to Princes St and a 48 bus towards our respective hotels and an interim stop at the Oak Inn. All keg a Belhaven Best for me and a Tennents for Grailhunter.

Off next for a curry, I had made it very clear that with a three and a half hour train journey on Thursday I wasn't going to have a curry Wednesday night so we had one tonight. A little cafe type place called St John's Curry Club, just a shame the prices were so high, this is an expensive City. The food was good though.

Back to our respective hotels, me having an anxious 10 minute wait at a deserted Park & Ride hoping that my connecting bus would turn up. Grabbed a quick bottle of Budvar from the bar to help with updating the blog.

Also discovered that my only Cheltenham bet so far, Punjani, came nowhere :(

So that's it, Tuesday has gone long live Wednesday.

17-03-2010, 08:45
Well that was an unwelcome diversion from my slumbers. No sooner had I pressed the snooze button on my ill-advised 7am alarm than a hideous caterwailing, the like of which had not been heard since last half-term, filled the air - it's a bleeding fire alarm, frankly I don't expect this in a hotel chain of Hilton's standing. Not that I am a stranger to fire alarms in Edinburgh hotels, I recall a number of years ago when staying on Grassmarket with the man latterly known as the Happy Frenchman (you may meet him later in the tour) and the fire alarm went off about 2.30am. On looking out the door I saw my mate weaving along the corridor bouncing off the walls after an exploration of Edinburgh's night life. To this day I'm still convinced he set off the alarm.

Anyway back to today and it was damn cold outside at 7am and starting to rain. But I have to say the good people at the Hilton looked after us, even bringing around those foil blankets to the less hardy guests (i.e. the girlies). At one stage it resembled the finishing line of a marathon - not that I'd know what that's like of course. Once we were allowed back in I employed all those time management skills I have learnt at work (I can hear Rob laughing now) and went straight to breakfast. Hilton breakfasts really are top notch.

Back in the room now to update the blog and I've also been exchanging text messages with a certain Mr Leonard Lonsdale who has threatened to make a cameo appearance on Friday evening, whether any of us will be sober enough to recognise him by that stage I'm not sure.

After my harrowing journey to the City Centre on the No. 35 bus yesterday Grailhunter has worked out that the number 48 route is more direct (I am actually quite impressed with his knowledge of the local buses, as I texted him yesterday to say I was on the bus journey from hell he came straight back with "you must be on the 35 then"). The 48 has the added advantage of going right past his hotel - but unfortunately not mine. I must have a word with the good people at Hilton about that, frankly I expect more from a hotel chain of their standing. So I have to make my way to the nearby Park & Ride to pick up the No. 48, exactly how nearby it is I'll find out when I try walking there - I wonder if the Hilton's courtesy bus would do the honours.

Have arranged to meet Grailhunter on the 10:58 bus so have a little time on my hands this morning. I do need to formulate a plan for today, we want to get to Leslies bar at some stage and also take a trip out to Leith, the Oxford Bar in the centre is also on the wish list. Plus I also need to work out an abridged version of Trainman's Stockport crawl, I really don't think that by Sunday we'll be in any fit state to get round all those pubs.

17-03-2010, 09:22
I also need to work out an abridged version of Trainman's Stockport crawl, I really don't think that by Sunday we'll be in any fit state to get round all those pubs.

Then drop the Magnet & the nearby Railway, also, if need be, Swan with Two Necks as the Arden is the more impressive Robinsons house on the list (though the quality is excellent at both). Do NOT drop the Crown, Porters Railway, or Olde Vic (tho this latter would mean you sticking around until after the 19:00 opening time, but is nr back entrance to station if heading back to town).

Enjoyable blog reading, as usual, thanks.

17-03-2010, 09:50
Then drop the Magnet & the nearby Railway, also, if need be, Swan with Two Necks as the Arden is the more impressive Robinsons house on the list (though the quality is excellent at both). Do NOT drop the Crown, Porters Railway, or Olde Vic (tho this latter would mean you sticking around until after the 19:00 opening time, but is nr back entrance to station if heading back to town).

Enjoyable blog reading, as usual, thanks.

Having looked at the pubs that's exactly what I was planning, great minds etc. The Swan is one that we'll probably make a late decision on. Thinking about a cab from the station to the Porters Railway then make our way back.

17-03-2010, 10:11
Tried out a new shaving gel this morning, Gillette Satin Care with an Avocado Twist...nice! Brand new toothbrush as well, I'm really treating myself. Look it's my Blog, I can't post whatever rubbish I want :twigs::twigs:

Off out now to meet Grailhunter and will hopefully have something more interesting to report on my return, if I can find that Park & Ride place anyway.

17-03-2010, 13:06
Millay - there's a limit to what we'll accept and Avocado Twist has, needless to say, been a step too far!

I've just suggested to A that I meet up with you on Saturday - this was as you can imagine a painful conversation - however the good news is that she's agreed to Friday. So all things going to plan I'll be seeing you in Salford around 6'ish.

Keep up the excellent blog - I keep on telling you that you should do this as a job!

17-03-2010, 13:28
Hi Lons,

Welcome to Pubs Galore. Myself and Dave M are the admins, so if you ever have any problems, queries or suggestions for the site do let us know.

Hope you enjoy your stay


PS, Millay - thanks for the ongoing blog, I am enjoying it, just can't think of anything to add other than to tease you about your choice of shaving gel, real men use swarfega (preferably the one with added sand) ;)

17-03-2010, 13:39
Cheers Conrad

I've known Millay for more years than I care to remember and it's the first time he's talked cosmetics - hopefully it's not a sign of things to come or we could be spending more time in Boots than we do in Boozers.

Keep up the good work.



17-03-2010, 16:02
At somewhere called the Meadows Bar & Kitchen - well we have to eat. Been to the Guildford, Leslies Bar and the Dagda bar all GBG entries.

Now sitting with pints of Caledonian Flying Dutchman waiting for 3/4lb burgers with brie and jalapenos and taking advantage of this free internet connection.

Until later

17-03-2010, 21:18
Well, have just left Millay at the Park and Ride waiting for a No.35. Hope he gets back to the Hilton ok. Of course, had he stayed at the 'bleeding Travelodge' the bus would have delivered him to the front door with no need to change and wait in a deserted windy car park !
We had a good day with more beers than I have fingers, although a couple were of questionable quality. But then that's par for the course anywhere I suppose. Millay made the notes so I'm sure he'll post details shortly but, I would just say at this point that my best beer of the day was the first. A lovely pint of Bitter and Twisted in the Guildford Arms.
Am off to Glasgow for the day tomorrow. A first ever visit there for me and as long as I make it to the Horseshoe bar at least (CAMRA national inventory pub) then I'll be happy. Millay is forming an advance party to Manchester and we'll be linking up again on saturday when FP will be joining our fun and games.
Must try and avoid spicy food tomorrow. Chicken Madras yesterday and a burger with jalapeno peppers today are taking their toll. Think a cheese sandwich is called for.

17-03-2010, 21:38
I can recommend the Horseshoe - I believe it once had the longest continual bar in Scotland although I guess they may have lost that title given the number of cinema's being converted in to bars with 'so called long bars'.
Sadly I wasn't buying the drinks when I had the experience of the Horseshoe and therefore I've only sampled fizzy lager :sick:- that being said I understand that it's the alround experience you're buying in to - not too sure that even I believe that!:cheers:
All the best Lons.

17-03-2010, 23:09
My Internet connection is less reliable than Rio Ferdinand's fitness this evening. I'll try to post about today's activities but you might have to wait for some of it until tomorrow.

17-03-2010, 23:16
I have to admit to having been let down badly this morning. Before going out I thought I should check the time of tomorrow's train to Manchester. 12:08 said the ticket, fine I thought, then I did a double take on the date, 19th March. Well today is St Paddys day so it must be the 17th, so why have I got a train ticket for Friday instead of Thursday. I regretted trusting my travel arrangements to Thompsons Travel Services, frankly I expect more from an outfit with a proud history of arranging trips on the piss. So the first stop today in the City Centre was at Waverley Station to change tickets from Friday to Thursday at a cost of some £20, I wonder if I can claim on the travel policy I took out with Thompsons Insurance Services.

17-03-2010, 23:35
After sorting out my train tickets we headed for Waverley Bridge to catch a No. 42 bus to find Leslies Bar. On arrival at the bus stop we noted that buses were every half hour and the next was at 12:02. It was now 11:45 and an unspoken agreement seemed to pass between Grailhunter and I, we couldn't possibly wait here for 15 minutes, we'd go for a beer and get the 12:32 . And so it was that two bitter and twisted blokes had the first beer of the new day in the Guildford Arms which coincidentally was Harvieston's Bitter & Twisted. The 12:32 bus then transported us back to an era when pubs were proper pubs and to the wonderfully decorative Leslies Bar, loads of wood panelling, etched glass and brass inlaid tables. There are also the interesting serving hatches in the left hand side of the bar that look a bit like ticket office windows. We both had the Golden Amber Ale from Atlas here.

On leaving the pub we noticed a bus coming up the hill and decided to run for it, well I say run it was more of a slow jog really, OK maybe a quick walk but it was uphill. As the bus came nearer I spotted the 'Private Hire' sign, all our efforts had been in vain, Grailhunter and I both agreed that we would never again put our lives in danger with such a frivolous endeavour, right where's the next pub.

The next pub was the Dagda Bar, I'd been here before bt it was full of whining-voiced American students, one of whom shrilled her way through every word in a way that would only be audible to dogs three streets away. Different this time though, we found a welcoming laid back bar with four handpumps and a few Czech, German and Belgian bottles. We pumped a few quid into the quiz machine with only fleeting sucess until our last 50p was lost on the question "Who was the Greek Godess of Wisdom?" neither of us believed that it was Aphrodite but the quiz machine thought otherwise. What could we expect though from a quiz machine so loaded in favour of the Scottish community that it asked questions about the year that an ex-Celtic manager was born and who won the first Scottish championship (we actually got that one right with Hibs). the jukebox provided a little entertainment but was nowhere near as good at the one at the Lifeboat in Folkestone - no Russ Abbot and no Zig & Zag.

After three pints at the Dagda Bar our thoughts turn to food, whilst I may have feasted on a Hilton breafast Grailhunter had only managed a cup of tea and a couple of chocolate biscuits. Near to the Dagda was the Meadow bar which advertised food so we had a couple of Caledonian Flying Dutchmen and a couple of big burgers. Bit of a student feel to this place, not surprising given its proximity to the university. Free Internet.

A couple of buses now and we get to the Malt & Hops on the Shore at Leith, a first visit to this great real ale pub for Grailhunter. We had a couple of Scapa Specials from the Highland Brewing Co. and entertained ourselves by looking through an old 1993 edition of the Good Beer Guide. Had a call from AT from Manchester who informed me that midday was far too late to start the drinking on Friday and that my presence was required at 11:00am at the latest. No peace for the wicked as they say.

17-03-2010, 23:48
Grailhunter wanted to go to the Foot of the walk (JDW) to see the queuing system in action and to revisit the Central Bar, so off we set. As we got to the Foot of the Walk we prepared to queue up at the right hand side of the bar as is local tradition only to be told by some self-appointed queuing steward to line up behind a bloke in the centre of the bar. Maybe the rules have changed we though but later on things were back to normal as a queue formed at the right hand side whilst the entire bar was empty. A magnificent spectacle that vies with the migration of wilderbeest in the realms of behavioural conditioning. Being St Paddys Day we plumped for something called Gael Rua (?) from the Hilden Brewery, it was bloody awful and we both left half and headed for the Central Bar.

Just one handpump in here, the ubiquitous Deuchars. Give me a minute to pull it through he said, which seemed positive. What he meant was that he needed to pull the cleaning fluid through, at 7PM !! We finally got a couple of pints and I sent mine back, Grailhunter said that it was OKish but clearly irt wasn't and neither was my replacement. So once again we left without having a full pint. Bit of a shame as this is a really nice looking pub but not the sort of place where you take a pint back - twice.

Sanity was restored with a visit to the Cafe Royal which, whilst being very busy, served up a couple of good pints of Kelburn Pivo Estivo. Buses then back to our respective hotels and we resisted the temptation to stop off again at the St John's Curry club, which was probably just as well in view of Grailhunters current fragile constitution and my three hour train journey tomorrow.

See you Thursday

18-03-2010, 07:41
Not sure what the weather's like.

Didn't get around to having a bet yesterday and looking at the Cheltenham results that's probably a good thing. I may have backed Kalahari King each-way but that wouldn't have returned much. Bit of a shock that Master Minded got beaten so badly. It's difficult to see beyond Big Buck's in today's big race but I'll probably have an each-way bet on Sentry Duty as Geraghty seems to be in good form (Please note there is a subscription only 0845 number should you wish to take full advantage of the lucky pin used by Thompsons Tipping Services).

I intend having a lazy morning today in preparation for the secong leg of this tour, particularly tomorrow which I suspect will get a little messy. I think a late breakfast is on the cards then a bus down to the centre to get my hastily re-booked train :o . I'm definitely not going to get that bleeding no 35 bus this time, there an Airport Express that goes right to Waverley so I'll be on that.

As Grailhunter has mentioned he's off to Glasgow today, so that week acclimatising in Tashkent should stand him in good stead. I believe he got a £1 eack way coach deal so I hope for the sake of his fellow passengers he lays off the black pudding and kedgeree for breakfast this morning.

18-03-2010, 09:18
I've just suggested to A that I meet up with you on Saturday - this was as you can imagine a painful conversation - however the good news is that she's agreed to Friday. So all things going to plan I'll be seeing you in Salford around 6'ish.

Good news mate, we can compare shaving gels.

I'm sure A understood that the chance to see the lesser-spotted Morgan was not one that should be passed up.

18-03-2010, 09:53
As Grailhunter has mentioned he's off to Glasgow today, so that week acclimatising in Tashkent should stand him in good stead. I believe he got a £1 eack way coach deal so I hope for the sake of his fellow passengers he lays off the black pudding and kedgeree for breakfast this morning.

Not been a good start to the day so far. Was just preparing today's breakfast of tea and choccy biscuits when I decided it would be a good idea to chuck the mugful of hot water down my leg (minus trousers) ! This certainly woke me up but i'm not sure it will help me walk around Glasgow today. Ah well, will have to just take it easy and rest in a few more pubs than usual !!

18-03-2010, 10:01
Time for some Bottom humour.

At least you didn't miss both your legs.

18-03-2010, 12:57
Or the Train to Manchester, which is much the same thing.

Well after a hearty breakfast I said a fond farewell to those nice folks at Hilton and caught the fast bus to the centre. Thought about a quick pint in the Halfway House but all those steps put me off, especially with a suitcase with dodgy wheels.Having booked rthrough Virgin Trains I was expecting a nice comfortable Pendolino or something, instead I'm on an old three coach Trans Pennine Express train with a screaming kid in the next carriage. At least here in First Class (well what did you expect) I've got a bit of room and free snacks, no beer though :(. Frankly I expect more of a national railway, even a Scottish one.

The Internet connection is slower than a lazy sloath but I've managed to do my each way bet on Sentry Duty and also put it into an each way Canadian which will return £113k if they all win, or bugger all if they don't, which is more likely.

I've had a text from Grailhunter, he made it to Glasgow and has found the Horseshoe Bar where he's enjoying a £1.69 pint of Deuchars, I hope it's better than the one we had in the Central Bar last night.

If that kid doesn't stop effing screaming :mad::mad:, Oh it has, someone must have strangled it, I think there was a queue.

18-03-2010, 13:16
. Being St Paddys Day we plumped for something called Gael Rua (?) from the Hilden Brewery, it was bloody awful.

I had a pint of Hildens Gael Rua in the Regal Moon in Rochdale last night. It was bloody awful as well. :moremad:

18-03-2010, 13:18
Time for some Bottom humour.

At least you didn't miss both your legs.

I think he's been watching too many of those Naked Chef TV programmes :D

18-03-2010, 13:25
I had a pint of Hildens Gael Rua in the Regal Moon in Rochdale last night. It was bloody awful as well. :moremad:

I'm glad it wasn't just me then. It didn't taste off just bloody awful, a sort of astringent herby ethanol taste, difficult to describe really.

18-03-2010, 13:32
That effing kid has started screaming again :moremad::moremad: and we've got another two hours to go yet.

Just seen a sign for a baby changing facility, might suggest to it's mother that she uses it, and changes it for a quieter one

18-03-2010, 14:52
Just seen Albertas Run romp home in the 2:40 at 14/1, now need Sentry Duty to do the same in the next and I might actually be in credit with Messrs Ladbrokes.

18-03-2010, 16:14
No further success at Cheltenham so it looks like I won't be collecting.

Checked in to the Britannia Hotel on Portland Street, a bit too close to Yates's for my liking but it will do. Nice old building but a bit of a comedown from the Hilton. I'm going to have to rough it from here on in, three star hotel and cattle class home on Monday. I've stayed here before and hoped I wouldn't get one of the 'turret rooms', right at the top as the lift doesn't go to the top floor. No such luck though, you'd think they'd take pity on a fat bloke turning up with a heavy suitcase and do him a favour. Never mind I have a nice view of the planes circling ready to land at Manchester Airport. With my luck that screaming kid and its family from the train will be staying in the next room.

Now the sensible thing would be to have a stroll around Manchester, get something to eat and maybe get an early night ready for tomorrow's excesses. Nah, this is Manchester, far too many pubs to be explored for all that tosh. As this is Manchester it's raining (I think it's the law) but I'm going to pop up to Oldham Street and check out the Castle and this new City Inn place, maybe the Smithfield, and there's a place on the way to Piccadilly that I saw once before but it was closed, may try to find that. Right everything ready, camera, notebook, Scottish notes to piss off the Mancs, yes got everything. See you later.

18-03-2010, 18:18
Have a look in Bar Fringe between the Crown and Kettle and the Smithfield (right hand side as you walk down). Usually 5 beers and they have a motorcycle mounted on one of the walls.

18-03-2010, 20:21
Well nothing from Millay since this afternoon so assume he must still be out and about in Manchester. He's going to regret it tomorrow as he has the early start for the big day.
I've made it back from Glasgow and am having a lazy evening in the hotel - sorry Travelodge - nursing my burns from this morning's incident. Thought about pouring some ice cold Carlsberg Export over my leg but think it probably needs more than mere fizzy water to do any good.
I managed to find the three national invetory pubs in Glasgow I was looking for. The Horseshoe bar which I liked although it wasn't as grand as I had imagined, and i must admit the A board outside advertising the 'legendary Karaoke 7 nights a week' was pretty horrifying. Still Deuchars at £1.69 was a welcome change from Edinburgh prices.
Next stop was Sloan's in Argyll Street. Quite liked it in here as well but the pint of Wychwood Paddy's Tout at £3.30 was a tad sobering !
On to the Steps Bar where I was horrified to find no real ale. It just seems so wrong that a historic pub on the national inventory offers only fizzy P***. Liked it in here too, but the 7 regulars all staring at the TV and not saying a word made it a little uncomfortable.
Talking of uncomfortable, by this time my leg was demanding some rest so I ambled off to the bus station for the £1 coach journey back to Edinburgh.

Moving on to Manchester tomorrow where I'll be meeting up with FP (Chris) while Millay does his thing with his Gold Cup friends. Then saturday we combine forces for a concerted attack on the hostelries of Salford and Manchester. Could be a long weekend but the stamina is holding up at the moment.

18-03-2010, 22:20
A little warm up tonight for tomorrow's activities.

First off was the Crown & Anchor on Hilton St, the pub that I had found closed on a previous visit. Decent place clean and tidy with comfy seating, a pool table and large screen TV. Three ales that were not that inspiring, had a Deuchars and on the basis they were serving me a Scottish beer I felt justified in paying with a Scottish note - which was accepted with good grace.

Next on to Oldham Street and the Castle. All the knick knacks and the macabre mosaic have gone so for those that knew it before it's lost a bit of character. Had a pint of Robinsons Dragon Fire (?).

Over the road to the allegedly up and coming City Pub. Reminded me a bit of the Smithfield in layout and atmosphere, if not in beer selection. Three ales on, one of which was a 6% Imperial Stout that I imagine will attract Grailhunter's eye when he arrives. Had the Atlas City Pride which was far from good but not so much that you'd send it back, well not in this place anyway. Most of the punters were drinking keg Boddies, lager or Guinness. I wouldn't want to judge the pub on one visit and one pint but it does look to have some way to go yet to become one of Manchester's real ale crawl pubs.

Off to the Crown & Kettle and a pint of their own ale brewed by the Greenfield Brewery. Seems they've given up on doing anything with the ceiling and just have a net to stop any falling masonery.

Couldn't really see the pumps at Bar Fringe and went for a half of Boggarts ESP. So many good and dangerous beers though including an 8% La Chouffe and that bright orange cider stuff.

Dropped in at the Burton Arms Hotel out of curiosity and had a pint of Holts Bitter. Pool table, TV, more staff than customers.

In the Smithfield I saw something called Father Jack with the eponymous gentleman on the pump clip (the bloke from the TV show not a_e_m) so had to have a pint of that. It seemed to be badged as their own brew but they told me it was an Anglo Dutch thing. Since I was last here they've moved the pool table from the front of the bar to a side area.

Not sure why I went to the Wheatsheaf other than I was passing and it was a pub that I'd not been in before. Not a great place, no real ale, had a JD & Coke which singled me out as a prat with the locals. Got chatting to an Irish guy about St Paddys day. Never understood a word he was saying and I suspect he was the same.

Apart from a bottle of Peroni in the hotel restaurant (and I use the word loosely) whilst waiting for some food (loosely again), that was it for the night. I'll add some proper reviews and maybe a crawl when I'm a little more sober.

19-03-2010, 07:10
Well that's a phrase I never thought I'd use. Not that I can see much of it stuck up here with the Gods. It does however mean I'm closer to the sun and can see it raising it's weary head for the inevitable start of another day, rather like myself really. Just had a quick look at what I posted last night and it's surprisingly intelligible. I have added a couple of bit though and corrected some typos and grammatical errors.

Not really sure why I'm up this early, force of habit I suppose, plus a desire to provide you good people with your morning dose of stunning prose. Give me half an hour and I'll let you know what the day ahead might hold. I should probably do it now as I may not remember by the end.

19-03-2010, 07:46
Well I've just checked the return on yesterday's bets and they hold not one single solitary penny, not even a Matabele Barter Bead. But am I downhearted, no I'm not. I've decided to follow the same long odds policy today with the main bet being an each-way Yankee on Tawaag, Quel Esprit, Tricky Trickster and Baltahzar KIng. If that lot all come in I'll be £15k richer :pray:. Also had some other silly bets including one that will potentially return £56k for a £2.20 stake, I have a feeling that's £2.20 I won't be seeing again. :rolleyes:

19-03-2010, 07:50
Have a look in Bar Fringe between the Crown and Kettle and the Smithfield (right hand side as you walk down). Usually 5 beers and they have a motorcycle mounted on one of the walls.

I called into Bar Fringe last night and had a half but it's really the sort of place you want to stay awhile and explore what's on offer. Maybe when Grailhunter arrives we'll go back.

19-03-2010, 08:20
Well, what might today hold. If it's anything like usual we'll meet up in the Wetherspoons on Deansgate (not as bad as the one on Piccadilly) and from there we'll trawl around Manchesters pubs trying to find the cheapest pint of John Smiths Smooth. Having said that, last year we spent most of the day in the Egerton Arms by Salford Central Station which is a Holts pub so had some real ale. I find that it does become a bit bland after a while and apparently last year I switched to large JD & cokes fairly early. I shall try not to make that same mistake again.

The Guinness & Gold Cup Tour is a regular one for me and I've been coming up to Manchester to meet this same group of drunkards for a number of years now. The exception was 2008 when we broke with tradition and went to Hamburg for a 50th Birthday. The players in todays action are all blokes I've known for a few years, mainly from these events and some from a business perspective. I was going to introduce them all to you but then realised that I've done all this before for the Hamburg trip. OK it was a couple of years ago and whilst they may be redder of face and larger of waist I'm sure they're much the same. So being lazy I'm going to direct you to this link to my report of 15 Blokes in Hamburg (http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/9f24c/#TL) which was written for a travel website I use, so I couldn't be too rude about the Germans :p

This is quite a long report but if you have 20 minutes of your life that you don't really need then it might be worth a read. You'll also meet the mysterious Lons who a few posts ago seemed to be having an issue with my morning beauty regime.

One man not on the Hamburg tour who is likely to be arriving this afternoon is The Happy Frenchman. Named after a pub in Folkestone when he made a surprise appearance on that tour having got the St Malo to Portsmouth ferry and driven half way around the South coast to announce himself in the pub with the immortal words "Avez vous un decent beer around here sil vous plait". The Happy Frenchman is actually Dave M from Bristol, although he assures me he has nothing to do with this website, plus he's a Gashead and now living somewhere in the middle of rural France.

Right, that's my morning duty done for you lot, and will probably be it for the day. A shower and a bit of breakfast then off to meet the chaps :cheers:

19-03-2010, 10:39
Well it seems Millay has done some good reconisance, reconesance, looking around work in Manchester. That 6% Imperial Stout in the City Inn definitely sounds attractive. No doubt with my luck it will have just gone by the time I get there.
The leg is feeling much better today I'm happy to report, the sun is shining, the stomach is settled and the throat is thirsty so I'm raring to go.
Off to the airport now for the short flight to Manchester (I know carbon footprint and all that but it's not like I do this every day, and it was as cheap as the train).
Spoke with FP Chris last night and he has told me he will meet me in Yates in Portland Street. This is the infamous establishment that Millay is so fond of (check out his review of it). Think I will be gesticulating a few signs through the window when I get there rather than crossing the threshold. Better still, maybe I'll just text him and tell him to meet me in the City Inn.
Have a good day all. Good luck if you're backing a horse or two.

19-03-2010, 11:03
he has told me he will meet me in Yates in Portland Street.
Whaaaat??? Unless you are checking out the veracity of Millay's masterpeice just don't do it! You're in sight of the Circus Tavern, Grey Horse & Old Monkey over the road, & short walk from the City Arms (Kennedy St) and Waterhouse next door (a good spoons I discovered last week). Good luck whichever direction you take.

19-03-2010, 11:19
By the way, well done to Big Buck's on an excellent performance in the Stayers' yesterday and the first fav to win one of the principle races (tho the whole meeting has been a blood-bath for punters), but I was almost hoping he'd fail. Why? Well, what the hell is that apostrophe doing in his name???

20-03-2010, 06:39
I'm not particularly good this morning, but nothing that a double shot of Resolve Extra shouldn't sort out. The remnants of a fish supper are in evidence which I have vague memories of picking up on the long walk back to the hotel around 11pm last night. The day started at 10:15am with a Breakfast Bloomer at JDW on Deansgate and from then on consisted of a large number of beers, Thwaits Wainwright in JDW then Holts Bitter at the Egerton Arms until the inevitable decline towards Mr Jack Daniels and Karaoke. I did manage to sneak out with the Happy Frenchman for a chat and we visited the nearby New Oxford and Kings Arms. Grailhunter will I am sure like both pubs, I'm sure I recall seeing a chocolate stout, and I think we'll go back today.

GH should have arrived in Manchester yesterday as should have Chris, or Fizzy Piss (FP) as he should be known after the Bath Tour, who I think is checked into this hotel. The Happy Frenchman is also possibly staying somewhere in the City Centre and we made vague plans to meet up today before he gets a train to Ipswich. But that's all in the future, what I need now is another couple of hours kip and to let that Resolve Extra kick in.

20-03-2010, 09:06
Jack Daniels and Karaoke.

Goodness, that 'K' word simply jumped off the page!!! I'm not sure your sensitive readers are going to be able to cope with the gruesome details of such a slippery slope Millay...

20-03-2010, 09:55
Goodness, that 'K' word simply jumped off the page!!! I'm not sure your sensitive readers are going to be able to cope with the gruesome details of such a slippery slope Millay...

I'm pleased to say that I did not succumb, but as for our resident Karaoke King Andy, well we couldn't get the mike away from him. Thankfully Martin didn't turn up, his rendition of Benny Hill's Ernie last year is one that is not easily forgotten.

20-03-2010, 10:06
How it pours, pours, pours, in a never ending sheet
How it drives beneath the doors, how it soaks the passer's feet
How it rattles on the shutter, how it rumples up the lawn
How 'twill sigh and moan and mutter, from darkness until dawn.

Well dawn has come and gone and it's still bleeding raining. Not ideal crawling weather but the forecast for tomorrow looks more promising. I'm not sure if we made any definite plans for today, although it's loosley based on Manchester around midday then into Salford later to maybe meet up with ROBCamra. I need to round up the troops and see who is around. The Happy Frenchman either stayed with Andy or checked into the Britannia Sachas, maybe Andy stayed there as well. Chris should be in this hotel somewhere or out walking in the rain. Grailhunter fell for one of those Lenny Henry adverts and has booked a cheap Premier Inn somewhere on the Scottish border. Actually it's somewhere out near Swinton.

Just had a call from him, he's on his way to Manchester and we're meeting in the Piccadilly Wetherspoons for breakfast at 10:30. Let's see if the Happy Frenchman is around.

20-03-2010, 11:00
I'm not sure if we made any definite plans for today, although it's loosley based on Manchester around midday then into Salford later to maybe meet up with ROBCamra.

Left you a PM Millay.

We're off to The Crescent at Salford Crescent this afternoon. Hope to meet up with the merry bloggers later around Salford Central.

I think I'll start drinking now to be at the same level by the time we meet up. :D

21-03-2010, 07:56
When you've had a long day drinking, as we did on Friday, it's usually half way through the next day when you start remembering what happened and people bring up events in conversation that you either hadn't remembered or had missed. Well yesterday there were two events that came to light falling into the second category. On the basis of 'what happens on tour stays on tour', there will be no names mentioned here :cool:

Firstly there is the tale of one of our party wrestling on the floor of a pub with a big bird in a pink dress who at one stage was attempting to wrap her legs around his head (this apparently constitutes foreplay in Manchester). On extricating himself from this precarious situation he was found to have lost his glasses, which were later found in a mangled mess on the floor. Somehow he managed to find his way home though.

Another tale is of a gentleman propositioned by a lady of dubious virtue outside a fish & chip shop. You know what it's like, you're innocently tucking into a late night supper and someone wants to talk about 'business'. You don't know whether to hold onto your virtue, your wallet or your chips. Thankfully our nameless tourist held onto all three. Apparently there was some confusion in that he enquired about getting hold of some tartar sauce and ended up with a saucy tart - well at least that's what the court will be told anyway :whistle:

21-03-2010, 08:44
My apologies for not providing your nightly entertainment yesterday, I didn't even fire up the magic box last night, you can blame ROBCamra for that. After four days on tour I had rather 'hit the wall', I was feeling a little jaded and looking forward to a quiet day, well that's how it started but it wasn't how it finished.

The day started exactly as the previous one had, with breakfast and a pint of Thwaits Wainwright in a Wetherspoons, this time the one on Piccadilly. A truely awful place that warranted a police presence even at 10:30 in the morning. Along with it always having to rain, I discovered another law in Manchester, on a Saturday morning everyone is required to dig out their best tracksuit and have breakfast in a Wetherspoons. The Happy Frenchman joined us and I was the last to arrive finding that Chris' influence had worn off on them and they were all sitting there drinking FP :(

After that experience we then went walking in the rain to the Crown & Kettle where we eased ourselves a little further into the day with a couple of pints watching the first half of the Villa v Wolves game. Beers were Longboat from somewhere and Titanic's White Star. As the rain eased we headed towards the station and said our farewells to The Happy Frenchman who was heading back home, via Ipswich, via London. So just the three of us now, me Grailhunter and Chris. We had a pint in the Crown & Anchor (Deuchars, Landlord and Fosters) then walked to Piccadilly to pick up a bus to Salford.

Eschewing the scene of the previous day's activities (the Egerton Arms) I took the guys to the New Oxford, a fantastic pub with somewhere around 15 handpumps and about a dozen proper lagers for FP to choose from. Beers that spring to mind are Simply Stout from local Rochdale brewery Greenmile, Run of the Mill from Arkwrights, Boggarts ESP and Reverend Day (?). We pumped a small fortune into the quiz machine and I was starting to get over my jaded feeling and finding my drinking head again. This was just as well as we were about to encounter Mr & Mrs ROBCamra who, after a couple more in the New Oxford, took us in a tour of the local area.

(Hang on a sec, just going to put the kettle on and make myself a cup of tea - mustn't make the same mistake as Grailhunter though, he's still walking funny)

First stop was the Kings Head where I'd called into briefly the previous day. A good pub this with a fair bit of history. Beer of choice was a Walk on the Mild Side but they seemed to have had a busy afternoon and many of the clips were turned around. Off next to what appeared to be the entrance to a subway but turned out to be a decent little cellar bar, the Mark Addy. Had a nice Leprechaun Stout from the Banktop Brewery. We said farewell to Grailhunter now who, to be fair, did have a long journey ahead of him back to his hotel. Final stop was the Black Lion where conversation flowed as effortlessly as the beer. ROBC went for a Full Malty and my eye was caught by the range of bottled bers from the St Bernardus brewery. These range from around 5.5% up to the blue labelled one that comes in at around 10%, can you guess which one I went for? :rolleyes:

That just about finished my 'quiet' day. It was good to meet up with Mr & Mrs ROBCamra (and I got to know where the name was derived from). It also gave them a chanced to tick off another couple of PG members as I believe they have met a few of you over recent months. Chris and I headed back to the Centre and I graciously let him 'dump the old boy' and go off clubbing somewhere. As for myself I returned to the hotel and considered ordering room service but fell asleep before I could do so. Well at least I think I did, let me check outside the door for a cold pizza. No it's OK nothing there.

21-03-2010, 10:36
Today is the day of the Stockport pub crawl. I'm still not sure what route we'll be taking but I think trainman's suggestion of doing the Crown first is a good one, then we'll try to get to as many of the Swan with Two Necks, Queens Head, Arden Arms, Railway and Ye Olde Vic as we can.

Grailhunter should be on the 5:40am Cross-Country Express arriving Manchester Piccaddilly around 11am and Chris and I will take the short stroll to meet him there. It's possible that Andy might meet up with us at some stage if he has recovered from Friday.

21-03-2010, 12:03
My apologies for not providing your nightly entertainment yesterday, I didn't even fire up the magic box last night, you can blame ROBCamra for that.

I'm not sure how much blame I should be taking when after a long days drinking someone's final two beers of choice are a pint of 6% stout followed by a 10% bottle of Belgian loopy juice. :D

We arrived at Salford Crescent station at about 3:40 and set off on the wet walk to The Crescent. This is a fine old pub that is in desperate need of some TLC. Itís recently had a paint job on the outside, so hereís hoping for something on the inside.

There were the usual fine array of cask ales on the bar along with a couple of real ciders, although how exactly Saxonís Cherry & Pear cider can be called a cider I donít know. :confused: A couple of pints here Summer Wine Strata & Coastal May Bee for me and two halves of Mallinsons Crescent for Ms CAMRA.

We then set off for the New Oxford. We entered the pub, had a look at the many beers and I chose Rapscallion from Northern brewery and Ms CAMRA chose red wine. There were 3 guys at the end of the bar near the quiz machine and as we sat down I said ďIíll bet those guys are Millay and crewĒ. I phoned Millay and sure enough one of the guys pulled out his phone. Contact made. We then joined Millay, Grailhunter and Chris at the end of the bar.

Another pint followed, Northumberlandís John Beresford for me and we then took the short walk down to the Kings Head where as Millay has already mentioned Allgates Walk on the Mild Side was the beer of choice.

Another short walk around the corner to the newly refurbished Mark Addy. This has been a pub on the slide for some time now but it was bought by the chef Robert Owen Brown last October and has been transformed. Itís a bit gastro but not overly so and has 4 handpumps on the bar. TT Landlord + 3 changing guests. A pint of Wyre Piddle Piddle On The Pump for me.

After that we retraced our steps a bit and headed off to The Black Lion. This is another recently reopened and transformed pub under the same Management as the New Oxford. Grailhunter had departed along the way to find transport to his distant hotel. Chris was in his element drinking Stroparama (aka Staropramen), Ms CAMRA was still on the red wine, I had a pint of Wentworth Full Malty & a Funny Bunny from Northern, Millay had loopy juice.

Once again as is usual on these days out a wormhole opened and after discussing everything from beer to holidays to beer to pubs etc (I donít think we got around to Finnish Scrabble (see the Rogerb blog) but given time we would have) it was time to leave.

Millay & Chris headed back to Piccadilly, we caught the train home and then ordered a Lamb Jalfrezi & a Lamb Kharai to be delivered.

A fine day out. Plenty of good beer, good company and a curry to finish it off. What more could you want? Thanks guys, letís do it again next time youíre around town. :cheers:

22-03-2010, 04:55
A fine day out. Plenty of good beer, good company and a curry to finish it off. What more could you want? Thanks guys, let’s do it again next time you’re around town. :cheers:

I'll second that, a very enjoyable afternoon, thanks for showing us around.

22-03-2010, 05:28
Are we really in danger of losing this Test Match to cricketing minnows Bangladesh. We seemed to be determined to play for the draw from the first ball and the run rate is something akin to an apathetic sloath.

Right, how did Sunday start, well the first thing to report is that for the second time on this tour we had a fire alarm at the hotel. According to a couple I was chatting to in the lift it was about 2:30am and most of the guests were herded out onto the streets. I on the other hand was oblivious to the whole thing, I suspect we have no alarms up in the turret rooms, they just let us burn. Chris said he did hear it but it only went on for about 5 seconds and as he thought it was the phone he went back to sleep.

It was therefore with some good fortune that we were alive and well to meet Grailhunter from the Cross-Country Express. A quick breakfast we thought, and there's a cafe just outside Piccadilly Station called Antonios which, despite hundreds of Southerners pouring out of the station for the Man Utd game, was surprisingly empty. We found out why when we went in, the service wasa best described as comedic. Once they'd managed to throw the tramp out we went to the counter and ordered three breakfasts and found a table. Just as we were sitting down we were hollered at to come and get our mugs of tea, two minutes later a similar holler and the fastest full breakfast I've seen was ready for collection, then the toast. When we got round to actually eating it I think we all agreed that this was one of the worst breakfasts we'd had, and we decided that the tramp may well have been a mystery shopper from Egon Ronay.

A call from Andy told us that he'd got an hours pass from the other half and we arranged to meet him in the Crown and set off on the 11:35 train for the Stockport Pub Crawl.

22-03-2010, 05:57
We initially got off to a bad start following trainman's instructions to leave the station via the exit by Platform 6, we could only find 4 :confused: But we got it right in the end and headed down to The Crown. Got a little lost and ended up circumnavigating the bus station then asked a driver if he knew where the pub was. He said he wasn't good on pubs but thought there was one up the road just past a Kwik Fit place and a shop that sold clothes for big men. Why he felt the need to impart that last bit of advice I know not but it was sufficient for us to find the Crown, and Andy was already there. Fantastic pub 12 + handpumps with beers displayed on a chalkboard. Two parts to the bar and three nice looking snug rooms. I went for the Pictish Sonnet then a Ninkasi Bitter from the Vale Brewery. A pork pie supplemented the disappointing breakfast. Grailhunter took a walk on the dark side with the award-winning Rudgate Ruby Mild (not to be confused with the award-winning Maxtrad) and a Tar Barl stout from Allendale.Chris was predictably on the FP. Andy necked a few of the Sonnets before his other half very wisely came to pick him up.

The barman gave us directions to the Swan with Two Necks which we found fairly easily. A Robbies House which appeared at first to only have the Unicorn on. This prompted Grailhunter to have a momentary aberration and order a lager :eek: Nice little pub with a small front bar, a drinking corridor and two attractive snugs at the rear. CAMRA newsletters available and we read up on some of the local pubs. Next was a walk though the shopping centre and we managed to tempt Grailhunter away from the kids merry-go-round. He'd bought one of these go anywhere all modes of transport ticket things and wanted to get his monies worth. Found the Queens Head, a tiny Sam Smiths pub that looks like it hasn't changed in 50 years. It was quite busy and we did have to keep Chris under control when a bunch of permatan Northern chavesses on a beano from Blackpool turned up but it was an enjoyable visit.

A bit less enjoyable was the walk up the steps to Market Place. We lost our bearings a little but eventually found the Arden Arms with the help of, or perhaps in spite of, the map that GH had picked up from the Tourist Information Centre. I mean it didn't even have any pubs marked, what use is that. The pub confusingly has it's pumps behind the bar instead of on the bar and on first look we could only see Unicorn and Hatters Mild. It was only when we were about to leave that we saw three other pumps. They did seem a bit obsessed with food in here and much of the pub was set up for diners. We sat out on the decking in the beer 'garden' and Grailhunter entertained us with his amazing ability to identify aircraft as they flew overhead - sad fokker ;)

22-03-2010, 06:47
The next pub was actually off the map but we found it quite easily. The guys were convinced I'd got it wrong and that the pub must be called the Railway Porter but on arrival we found that it was indeed the Porters Railway. Very scruffy from the outside but proving that you should never judge a pub by it's exterior we found an absolute gem inside. Eleven handpumps, draught continental beers and a fridge full of Belgian, German and various other bottled beers, all shown along with their ABV's and prices on chalboards. Beer really is the star in this place and everyone seemed to be drinking something special, not a Boddies or a John Smiths Smooth in sight.

We started on the Pennine Pitch Porter which was very good. Chris had an Amstel but then on the second round he had some sort of epiphany and agreed to join Grailhunter with a Boon Geuze - perhaps this pub has magical powers as well :notworthy: I went for a cheeky little Duchess de Bourgogne for which they even found the correct glass. Chris surprised us again by saying he'd have another Geuze but they'd run out. He was offered a Boon Kriek instead which he was convinced tasted just like a Cherry Ski Yoghurt. I went for a Chimay Red but Grailhunter went for the trophy beer, the 10% Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, which poured from the bottle slower than a Geoff Boycott run rate.

We now needed to address our strategy, it was still too early for the Olde Vic but if we walked back that way we could stop off somewhere on the way. The idea of walking didn't find much favour and the barman helpfully suggested that the Magnet was a good pub and not too far away (another on trainman's list) and called us a cab. Another pub that takes it's beer seriously, indeed when someone mention the F word the barmaid replied "Fosters? I wouldn't wash my dog in it". I went for the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale whilst GH had the Cottage Gold Rush. Chris was well into his stride by now and ordered a Timmermans Peche Lambic, which he said tasted like a Peach Ski Yoghurt. A couple of games of pool ensued where I was very unlucky to go down 2-0 to Chris. Next beers were Duvel Green for Grailhunter and I, which we'd seen on draught in a few places, and a Fruli for Chris, which of course he thought tasted like a Strawberry Ski Yoghurt.

It was by now around 7:15 so we got another cab to the Olde Vic. Grailhunter and I went for the Allgates Caskablanca and Chris reverted to type by ordering a Harp lager, which he thought tasted of, well nothing really. Interesting quirky little pub this with crap & tat all over the place. A string of onions vied for wallspace space with a stuffed otter, a number of captain's hats, an old gas mask and an October 2008 calendar. We got a warm welcome including from the pub dog who didn't stray too far from a roaring log fire.

22-03-2010, 07:06
The Olde Vic was the last pub of the crawl, and they'd all been good ones thanks mainly to Trainman's recommendations. We took the short walk back to the station and caught the 8:20 back to Mancheswter where Grailhunter continued on his journey to see how many different modes of transport he could use in getting back to his hotel. Chris and I found one of those dodgy kebab/pizza/chinese/curry/chip shops that will cook you almost anything provided they can deep fry it, and ordered fish and chips which we took back to the hotel.

I don't know if we had another fire alarm last night but I was woken from my slumbers early with a nagging guilt about not having updated the blog last night. So here I've been for the last two hours, fortified by cups of tea and a packet of digestive biscuits, doing my duty and suffering for my art, all to provide you good people a little something that might just cheer you up on a miserable Monday morning back at work.

So as the Guinness & Gold Cup Tour draws to a close thoughts turn to where the next trip might be. There is talk of Belfast in October and if it does happen you can be sure there will be a Belfast Blog - whether you want one or not.

22-03-2010, 12:57
Well I know I want to see the next blog. Been a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Thanks for that.

22-03-2010, 15:52
One of the questions asked on our Salford crawl was "Who was Mark Addy?"

I didn't know. I do now. :p

Mark Addy was a Victorian local hero who died in 1890 at the age of 51. He was famous for rescuing no fewer than 50 people from the then dangerous waters of the River Irwell and was the only civilian to have received the Albert Medal (Victoria Cross) from Queen Victoria. The pub named after him was originally a boat passenger’s waiting room for the new Bailey landing stage from where a regular packet boat service was in operation from 1807.

Cheers to a local hero :notworthy:

22-03-2010, 18:14
We initially got off to a bad start following trainman's instructions to leave the station via the exit by Platform 6, we could only find 4 :confused:
Sorry about that, I did follow the platform suggestion with a question mark (I couldn't recall how many platforms at Stockport but was trying to guide you out the 'rear' exit).

we got it right in the end and headed down to The Crown. Got a little lost and ended up circumnavigating the bus station
Now, if you ended up in the bus station, you missed the instruction to keep the viaduct on your right. I know, I know, you probably lost faith in me already!

Anyway Millay, I think, especially after a hard-drinking week, that you all put in a sterling effort around Stockport to not only complete the course, but also slip in several jokers along the way. Bravo.

And bravo, too, for another entertaining blog - a pleasure to read. Cheers!