I know I might seem a little spoiled by all the pub crawls I go on. Or maybe threatened with imminent physical decline and slow, trembly, yellow death. Either way, the surfeit of ale yomps could perhaps make me a little jaded. You can, after all, have too much of a good thing, as people who've never had a good thing tend to say. Well that's their look out. I proved them, whoever they are, wrong on Friday night.
I had accrued some flexi credit for the first time in years and after a couple of stalled attempts an evening out with my dear friend Middlemarch was overdue. She was also owed a couple of years credit so we opted to leave work at 3PM and make an effort. To sit in the sun and sup beer. Albeit, we didn't actually escape til half past but it didn't matter. We were soon sat in the beer garden of the Closed Shop drinking Marstons EPA for the lady, and Blue Bee Nectar Pale for big lad.
Despite having visited the pub before, I admit I'm an infrequent visitor to the Closed Shop beer garden. Because I'm never there early enough, or if I am, its cold. Or wet. Or windy. Or all three. On Friday it was lovely and warm, and by fluke we picked the one remaining corner of sun dappled seating that the sun then deigned to shine on as the hours, and pints, went by.
Another round of the same followed, with a pork pie for me, and crisps for us both, then round three, when I'm fairly sure Middlemarch "upskilled" her palate to the Blue Bee. No better an education. This time my trip to the bar included fetching a brownie for her to enjoy in a very lady like fashion. By this time others had followed our lead, but, remembering it isn't a game, we were easily winning at sitting in the sun.
The next round saw Middlemarch on Nectar and me rather unwisely supping a pint of Blue Bee Tangled Up IPA. Soon the sun hid behind the gable end again and we sat in the table room (I haven't named them all yet) to finish, after another half of the Tangled Up for me.
After which we went for a long walk, down Commonside, and made a fairly well guessed travail diagonally to the Wellington. It was really busy arriving at around seven, and we sat outside studiously supping halves, of Harley's Galaxy Special from the on site brewery, before walking slowly to the Ship to make sure we didn't suffer the ignominy of arriving to find it closed.
"It usually opens about half seven" I announced with an air of authority as we arrived to find it absolutely rammed at precisely that time, with a near empty table of food near the entrance.There was a retirement do on, and it had clearly been in full swing for a while. Here Middlemarch had a pint of Moonshine (or maybe a half) and I a pint of the fantastic Btadfield Pale Ale, at 5.0%. Sitting down on one of the few free tables we were chatting away when Stuart from (amongst other places) DAda fame came and sat down next to us - it was his wife who was having the do....
This was a surprising co-incidence but it didn't seem out of place in the carefree flow of the day (although we'll paper over the fact that the pub had opened at 19.00 anyway, with the do having started at 16.00). However, before long Stuart had to "do the rounds" and we had to head off for a final pint at Shakespeares.
Here a minor kerfuffle with my attempting to spend money in small increments to pay by card meant Middlemarch graciously picked up the tab, and we repaired to the clock room to enjoy a pint of Welbeck Elis Dark Mild for me and a quite frankly I haven't the foggiest for Middlemarch. Afterwards, I even had time to walk her into town, grab supplies (pizza, two bottles of olive oil, and, um, sausages?) from the supermarket and have a glass of wine before bed. Well, I say bed. The settee was very comfy....
Sometimes a plan just comes together. And as a black belt in mis-haps, miscalculation and misanthropic moaning about changes and compromises, this excellent session was the perfect way to start the month, and the weekend. Thanks to Middlemarch for keeping me company, and sharing in an evening of faultless beers and fantastic pubs.