Or: A claim for top day out of the season.
We met for breakfast at B.T.M.. I had plenty of time for a full English, “The Ultimate” as they liked to call it. Sufficient is what I thought of it. On ARRIVAL a role call was held. Present and mostly correct were myself, Ron, Bob, Peter de Meteor, Geoff DTHYN Pike, Random Tim, Paul and Phil the Lion and of course The Real Lord Powell.The route took in an 8.30 DEPARTURE with a change at Birmingham and swimmingly we ARRIVED in Nottingham comfortably before 12.
Our train arriving at Temple Meads
We had arranged to meet with the Northern contingent so we ambled through the side gates of Nottingham. I led from the rear as usual as they went their merry way in the wrong direction and to the first pub.
Fellow, Morton and Clayton
The last sighting of Phil the Noli with Geoff and the map.
Or, as Tim calls it, “The Solicitors Pub.” Clive and Roger Right Hand had already ARRIVED and Paul and Craig were soon to join us. More than that the pub appeared to be full of family party Gasheads in contented clumps at most tables. The Welbeck Portland Black was a perfectly good beer to start the day and set the theme for our choices. Unknowingly we had discovered a City holding its Porter and Stout Stroll. Nottingham pubs were promoting the darker stuff by the dray full. Geoff had been his usual thorough self and had a list of over 20 pubs. Even taking a pub or two each we would have struggled to tick off that list so a subversive decision was made to concentrate on a few new ones that we had not visited before. As the F.M.C. is well known we were soon to move on, the pace was set and woe betide those who couldn’t keep up with a less than taxing pint every 40 minutes pace. We had a large group and Ronnie’s five minute warnings would be crucial. Keep up Phil, time to move on old bean.
A walk via the Castle to:-
The Crafty Crow.
A new ARRIVAL on the pub scene, it was truly impressive. The Magpie Brewery have found a good mix, showcasing their own beers with guest ales and at realistic city centre prices. There was ample room for us all to gather around a large table. There was space for The Good Lord to get out his legend. We are now well in to Cricket fixtures but I was able to convey a lack of interest in Kent away on what might be a rain soaked Friday Evening in July. Their Porter offering was an Oatmeal Stout. The design has clean open spaces with room for those who want to congregate in groups and views out to the nearby busy tourist filled streets. It is better looking inside than out. The staff were helpful and good humoured. This pub will be a definite for a revisit next time.
Lord Powell noticed that there was something called Pork Lion on the menu. Lion? Surely you mean Loin? Phil the Loin? Phil the Lino? Pork Lino? Where was Phil? Phil was not here? The Lion was missing, loose in Nottingham. There would be consequences. Nothing to do but have a beer and hope he caught up. He didn’t.
The Malt Cross is truly impressive and caused quite a stir in our newbies. I had visited last year with good friend Athers but now it was a Saturday lunch time and fully busy. We found a space for our gang upstairs, overlooking the bar below. The Conversation moved from trivial to serious, from Lord Powell’s spreadsheet to Adam Johnson’s Contract. Several tucked into the pub pies and scotch eggs. The Castle Rock Sherwood Reserve Porter made a credible bid for beer of the day. Drinking upstairs made for a pleasant DEPARTURE from the norm.
The Barrel Drop
Tucked away, up a small side alley is this new micro pub. It is not so micro, it has room enough for three distinct but small spaces. All beers are straight from the cask and most were in the style of the day. A Kew Green and Black Chocolate Milk Stout would win awards for the longest and most descriptive beer. The size of the pub meant that we inadvertently became split into two but it couldn’t be helped as standing in a group at the bar would have been worse.
The pub was an excellent addition to our ever increasing list of good pubs. That is the thing with good pub cities. They breed even better pubs. Some struggle to maintain the standard over time but most ARRIVE and thrive, thus raising the real ale bar.
It is a short stroll back to the central square and a £6 taxi DEPARTURE to the ground.
Notts County 0 Bristol Rovers 2; Attendance 5,052 (1,108 Gasheads)
About forty minutes in I won the game for the Rovers. In my smart Alec way I stated that we were playing well but the team appeared to be ignoring Cristian Montano who had acres of space and appeared to be waving like an unloved Under 13 schoolboy in a park game looking for someone to pass him the ball. He looked desperate enough to perhaps come inside, take the ball, stick it up his jumper, and take it home with him at half time thus ending everyone else’s game. On the 43rd minute he did just that. He twisted and turned on a short pass and fired it home. Suddenly he had loads of friends. Friends, who throughout the second half couldn’t give him enough of the damn thing. Rovers strolled into a two goal lead when he shared the ball with the lurking and somewhat estranged Lee Brown who drilled it into the far corner then turned to hug whosoever might want a cuddle in the cold away fan stand. Briefly we decided to allow them to have a play but secretly we knew that at any time we could score again and it would be best not to lose mates by handing out a tonking away from home.
The 10 to 3 photo
Man of the Match: Lee Mansell
Continuing the theme we walked to the newly recommended Embankment. It is too convenient for the ground and we were refused entry at the door. I think we looked a bit too happy and it is not uncommon for this to happen in Nottingham pubs near the ground. This one will have to wait for another day.
Bus to town and:-
Cock and Hoop
The last of the Plum Porter pump clip and replacement Harvest Pale Ale
We ARRIVED to find Titanic Plum Porter on hand pump. Straight in we thought but in the enthusiastic pulling the beer engine did its barrel empty splutter and we had to miss out. The barman kindly offered to pull some from the barrel in the cellar but I could already feel beer queue pressure and we opted for alternatives. A DEPARTURE from the Porter stroll found us drinking the excellent Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale. The team voted for respective man of the match. Chris Lines gained a few shouts. We all agreed the Gas should play this way every week.
Just around the corner was a regular haunt of ours over the years. It was good to get something familiar and this included my Thornbridge Lord Marples. It is of the old school Castle Rock pubs with tiles and simple decoration. We could finish our wonderment at the missing Lion and hope he would get back to the station on time. In all seriousness, the thoughts lasted just a few minutes. Caring is not top of our good attribute list.
We left and went downhill for the final choice of the day.
The Train would ARRIVE from Birmingham at 7.31 at platform 5. Our DEPARTURE would be at 7.41 from Platform 7. Time enough for a leisurely final beer. Caythorpe Dark Gem was a good if unexciting final beer. This pub always gets plenty of good comments and sets a decent standard for others in Castle Rock chain to match. The wall posters were holding our team’s attention or at least keeping Ronnie awake.
We left on time to gather on Platform 7. At 7.25 Ronnie had a minor panic and rushed off the platform with Bob in hot pursuit. “Come on” he shouted “the train will be leaving at 7.31 from Platform 5” Andy and I were most content to look at the two boards next to each other on our platform and smiled at his schoolboy error. At 7.30 the chaps appeared back at our platform. They had to receive a well-deserved round of applause for reading the ARRIVAL board as the DEPARTURE board. Sheepishly they had hoped no one would have noticed. Of course we didn’t and no way would we let them know of their mistake again and again and again.
As days go this was a top day out. No doubt helped by a great performance and result, Nottingham is a difficult place not to enjoy.
Pub of the day: Malt Cross
Beer of the day: Magpie Oatmeal Stout in the Crafty Crow
Next up: Wimbledon H Tuesday 8th March 5th 2016