Or: Visions of a sporting future?
While Ronnie was away these mice decided to play. He was off to ski in Colorado so not available. Bob and I decided to meet in his local. The morning had involved a trip to pick up a repaired car for Rose and a sit is the park, reading the papers while the pub opening hour arrived.
The Volunteer Tavern
This is close to being my favourite Bristol Pub. It is often our default setting when we want somewhere comfortable and guaranteed to satisfy. We settled to a window seat and adjusted slightly when informed a lunch party would arrive for 1. First up was a Wiper and True Milk Stout. This was rather quickly chased by a Plain Innocent. Both were of the usual high quality and all seemed pretty good with the world. Only one thing niggled me. When getting to the bar for the second pint I had to negotiate a customer eating his full meal, burger and side order of chips at the bar. Not at the end of the bar but full square in the middle of the small bar. Space was not limited and this is not the first time this has happened here. I can cope with bar flies sitting at the bar if pubs are full to bursting but food being spread around at the bar when at least five tables were empty for use just shouts of selfishness. I resisted the temptation to spill my beer on his ample burger. I stretched over His Wideness to gather and pay for the beers and returned tutting to my table. Luckily Rose had left us to do Rose things for the afternoon and she missed the opportunity for amusement in my mini tantrum. We moved on to the nearby pub.
It was Bob’s round and I must apologise to him. The Cotswold Aviator was my choice. It was undrinkable. I would normally have sent it back but to be honest I didn’t fancy the hassle. They had already asked if we were paying individually rather than in a round and directed us from an empty bar through a fish aroma infested back room and to the garden. The photo here should give you a clue as to its readiness to drink. I think Breweries should take note when this happens because I am sure it is a perfectly good beer being served badly.
We intended to try the re-opened Surrey Vaults but had forgotten it doesn’t open till 4. So we walked on to:-
I like this pub / bar. Bob and Ronnie do not. I don’t like the £4.60 a pint price tag for a pink (?) Porter but Bob thought I was regressing to my student days by wanting to sit in the street side patio and watch the world go by. We had a brief discussion re the Banksy art work and graffiti in general. In my not so humble opinion, most of Bristol’s so called street art is pretty lacking in talent. Bob obligingly posed for this photo and we left for a 2 o’clock bus up the Gloucester Road. Forty minutes later our ten minute journey was complete.
Bristol Rovers 1 Plymouth Argyle 1 Attendance: 10,190 (1,285 Janners)
A full away terrace at 10 to 3
And a full home end.
The queues determined that my food would have to wait until half time. I just about found my place for the 10 to 3 record. Theme tunes blasted out, there was a real football buzz and we sat to watch a feast of flowing football. I had predicted we would draw 1-1. We went one up and Damien jinxed it by reminding me of my prediction. Stupid boy! The dreaded 88th minute away goal struck against us this week. In a tight match such as this every opportunity is vital and at one nil we had several chances to finish the game off. It was a fair result that wouldn’t have been unfair should we have edged it one nil. I know that reads as nonsense but over the years we all watch games like this and praise the performance of a one nil win when in reality both sides deserved something. I think we had watched the best two sides in the league this afternoon and the gap can be made up over the rest of the season.
Back to the bar after the game. City lost again. Oxford had beaten Pompey. Martin was in long term planning mode. Carlisle away? Would I want to share a room with the lads? Really? You ask me that question? I have company whose room sharing would be infinitely more preferable to one of the boys thank you Lord Powell. As for a weekend away, I think the Cumbrian Hills offer better options than a Travelodge on the Warwick Road.
Entertainment Value 4
Man of the Match: Tom Lockyer
The Drapers Arms
Five of us found seating space as the post-match groups came and went. We were joined by Geoff, The Silver Fox and Mumbling Andy. A RCH Slug Porter was good, so too was the Celt Otherworld that followed. One attraction of this pub is common to many a real ale pub. Because of the ticking nature of their customers people come and go at regular and short timely intervals. Being close to the ground we could refresh conversations as friends went their various ways. I left them to it at 6.30. No doubt my place was quickly taken by another fan of the real stuff and Rovers.
This is where we now entered a twilight zone. I was going to a skittles evening. Rose picked me up and we were transformed into village social mode. I owed Rose big time for this. She has put up with my beer hunting so it was only fair that I should give up a bit of my regular beer sessions to this event.
The Fox Easter Compton
They had one beer rebadged from Exmoor Ale as Fox Ale. After one sample it became a Gin and Tonic evening. This once proud CAMRA recommended pub didn’t convince me that this could once again be a pub of local choice. It was busy. We of course filled the skittle alley.
We were the partners and members of the Pilning Festival Choir. Our 50s something attendance brought the average age down significantly. Many had never thrown a skittle ball in anger. My last chuck was on this very alley back in 1984 when Pilning Cricket Club hosted my then touring team from Milton Keynes. I have often wanted to join one of the many local teams but invariably their memberships are shrouded in distant history, made up from friendships that have lasted since their inception in the 50s or 60s. Go to a local pub and the matches will be played with barely any contact between alley and bar. The teams come and go with only the rattle of wood to shatter the sounds of micro wave warmed meals being served in the bars.
So how did we get on then? It was a fun event o.k. so it didn’t matter. So Rose won the Ladies best score with 17. All that really mattered is that I beat Rose, with a score of 25. No it wasn’t front pin first and Andy won with a 27. We chatted for the most time with Derek and Yvonne, school friends from Patchway High and Pilning. It was a very pleasant evening. Our table cleaned up the quiz but unfortunately we couldn’t muster a decent swizzle stick between the four of us. By 10.30 we were ready for home.
Best Pub: Volunteer Tavern
Best Beer: RCH Slug Porter in the Drapers Arms
Next up: Accrington Away 30.1.16