2009: Settling back into a Bristolian life

Monday 23rd March 2009

A quiet Monday at home at last. I bought a paper from the beach shop and took a short walk along the sea wall. Gave the lawns a first cut and managed to sit outside for the first time this year. Wrote a bit on the beer of the year for my website. Will be going up to the Rodney next week as Dan and Dave want a holiday and I am happy to step in for them. These visits are fewer and less welcome but I can keep an eye on the building and check my stuff isn’t being abused. Rovers’ season seems to be over, no late run for promotion this time. Been writing up pages for the new smaller versions of the guide for friends and other users of the old guides. They are more like update sheets than the real guide.

2009 was quite a transitional year. I was maintaining my website, now long gone. It involved writing pages, much like a blog, on my travels and writing updates of pubs visited. I had a four side pamphlet for each town that were given away to those who asked for them. In an attempt to improve my mobility, post ankle injury, I persuaded my sister Val and her friends Carol and Sue to walk some of the Severn Way with me. We split it into sections starting north of Gloucester and ending up with a walk from Pill to Bristol, They were much more seasoned walkers but for me it was good exercise and easy walking. More importantly, over the time I was able to walk longer stages and with better comfort. My social life was split between home, Risborough, Painswick and Colne.

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Val and Molly waiting for me to catch up at the start of a walk along the Severn at Wainlode

In February I was able to combine a visit to update Manchester pubs with taking Tom out for as beer. He is Fiona’s nephew and was in the middle of his Manchester University Medical degree. It was good to meet up with him and keep some contact. Mileage on my car was pretty horrendous. That week I went via Manchester to Milton Keynes and then up to Scunthorpe.

Home Saturdays had a rather set routine when Rovers were playing. Meet with Ronnie, Bob and John in either the White Lion or more usually, the Three Sugar Loaves in Bristol. Walk to a nearby pub for a second choice and then get a taxi to the ground. John (our Dad) would sort a taxi to the game. After the match it was a few beers in the Welly than a couple down in town before getting a train home via Severn beach and then a cold and dark walk along the lane to Pilning and home.

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The Three Sugar Loaves at the bottom of Christmas Steps in Bristol

For away games; often I had gone up the day earlier to get in some updating research. I would then join the chaps at an arranged place Occasionally I caught the train with them, usually when one of Martin’s (Lord Powell’s) army couldn’t go and he needed someone to take the ticket.

I had several visitors down from Colne. Foggy, a Blackpool fan and regular customer fancied watching his team at Bristol City away. Very reluctantly I went to the game with him. It was predictably rubbish and a 0-0 draw. We had a good weekend that wouldn’t be repeated out of football choice.

RS social media feed recorded it thus:-.

Saturday, 28 February 2009 at 09:23 UTC

Is unbelievably going to watch Blackpool at Trashton today. Cheers Foggy

Sunday, 1 March 2009 at 13:09 UTC

Has survived the City experience. What a boring lot they are, and how sad they have to goad each other to jump up and down.

In April Aussie Gordon drove down to spend a day or so. Later in the year, good mate and blues musician Graham Robinson came to stay, combining it with some gigs in the local area. We did a few impromptu sessions in local pubs and clubs as well as me acting as roadie in pre-arranged pubs.

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Graham being given the Bristol tour.

Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 01:39 UTC+01

Has been enjoying a good night out watching Graham Robinson play at cafe Rene in Gloucester.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 10:59 UTC

A good night last evening at the White Lion and Nova Scotia while Graham Robinson did open mic. Good stuff

I also started to get back in to Gloucestershire cricket. I became something of a regular in the Jessop Stand at Gloucestershire. I took out a membership of the club but preferred to watch away from the Hammond Roof members area.

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Life in the Jessop Stand, now no longer there of course.

Rose was very much part of my life and part of our fun involved getting in touch with old friends from our University days.

Saturday, 4 July 2009 at 15:46 UTC+01

Is sat on the South Bank with Dorrington and the Seaweed, missing z already

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Jo, Rose and Dorrington on the South Bank street furniture

Z is Jo Seddon who had just left to go home. Jane Dorrington was always referred to as Dorrington, Rose is obviously the Seaweed.


Saturday, 20 June 2009 at 10:00 UTC+01

Is off to see Paul Weller at Westonbirt

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The view of people like us waiting for Paul Weller to do his bit.

2009 also had the last stag weekend of my life. From the Risborough folk Helen and Mark persuaded me to join the weekend of West Midlands man revelry in Newquay and even more surprisingly, convinced me to give up a Rovers game to attend their wedding in August. Rose and I went straight from the wedding to take in the Sunday at the Blues in Colne.

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The old bloke among the stag party at the wedding.

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Revisiting my media history I found some other odd behaviours and comments in this year.

Monday, 14 September 2009 at 12:28 UTC+01

Really wants to get writing reviews again but needs to fix the roof outside

Friday, 25 September 2009 at 20:59 UTC+01

Is in the thunderbolt to see Atilla the Stockbroker

Wednesday, 4 November 2009 at 19:27 UTC

At my first ever CAMRA meeting at the Anchor in Thornburg. Help!!!!

Thursday, 12 November 2009 at 09:01 UTC

Had a really good day in Burton on Trent yesterday. Now for the reckoning and write up.

This is what was written around that day in Burton

Burton Albion

Real Ale rating for town 4*

It scores highly because it is the home of British brewing and the pubs are excellent. Of course there are few microbreweries but there is certainly plenty of choice.

Peter Pearce Tourist Interest rating 2*

Brewery tours, the National Museum and a walk along the Trent. The tourist thing is the pubs themselves. The town has everything from long established street boozers to multi – brew emporia based around a new brewery. Beer dominates the skyline, the street architecture and to be honest, any sane thinking.

My Day

From the station walk to the DEVONSHIRE ARMS then the COOPERS TAVERN and BURTON BRIDGE BREWERY. Taxi to the game. It is a walk along the Derby Road via DERBY INN, ALFRED and OLD COTTAGE before a train home. 10

Local Breweries Black Hole Blythe Burton Old Cottage Burton Bridge Leatherbritches Marston’s Quartz Tower Worthington.

Devonshire Arms

The Devonshire Arms is a large and rather splendid town pub in the shadow of the big old breweries of the town. This is a perfect first pint pub. From station to the door takes two downslope minutes and immediately we were welcomed by the delightfully chatty staff. The pub is a picture both inside and out. The garden tubs appear to have come inside to the newly decorated, or should I say cultivated lounge. While the front bar was our choice, the other room all had something a bit special. The pub attracts a good mix of young and old, with team sports being to the fore through darts, cribbage and Sunday morning football. We settled to filled hot rolls and adventurous choice of a fruit beer. Others were engaged in the fortnightly catch up with pals from all over the country. The locals tend to gravitate to the more spacious rear and garden. The Devonshire oozes a calm welcome, good friends do come back to visit and it knows it is part of something special being in the route to the beer museum. We returned later that day for the final pint and all was still as comfortable as before.

Coopers Tavern

The pub has two entrances from parallel side roads. The bar is almost hidden away to the rear and what a gem of disguise this proves to be. Mary will welcome you into her trap and leaving again will be very very difficult. This fly stepped into the tiny parlour and found a sweetshop of beers and cider, where, ranged along the bar, are handpumps opposite racks of jacketed ales and ciders. This is a “”must do pub”” for the beer tourist.

We parked ourselves at a barrel in the Bar and soon Dave and Colston joined us for the rest of the day. In a new town you need some inside info’ and they were to prove great company both on the choice but the local snippets that give you the fuller picture. The conversation inevitably spread as first Mary joined us, then Frank Wood, he of local cider brewing notoriety. His ciders are served here when available. Mary was proud to show off her Cider Pub of the year awards and talked with some deserved pride of the history and traditions of the quirky back street local. You feel she has put much back to the pub, i.e. restored the heart of the place by picking out the individual differences that make one pub so special in comparison to its neighbours. It was once part of the Castle Rock stable but now is in the arms of Joules Brewery.

Burton Bridge Brewery

The Brewery certainly lived up to expectation on our lunchtime visit. Being Armistice day it was full of those who had come on from their morning remembrance and a jolly good time appeared to be in order for the occasion and pub. Carl was obviously busy at this time but the care for this famous hostelry shone through via excellent pints and the simple comfort of the roadside snug. There are two such front rooms and a larger lounge to the rear, all being in the simple old style rather than tarted up as might be the temptation when a pub has such a showcase reputation. The brewery is directly behind the pub and those of us who like to see others working can delight in such from the side smoking area. One might argue that pubs such as this cemented the success of the real ale revolution of the 80’s. It is an unmissable pub and worth the walk to town to do so. Nearly 30 years on, Burton Bridge is more than just a microbrewery but the Bridge Brewery remains a comfortable, traditional local. It’s a touch out of the way for the football visitor, unless you have plenty of time or perhaps you are visiting the nearby beer museum. But this is where they started and it’s worth making the effort. Our last two visits have been excellent and comfortable times. The pub has an excellent back alley for those who appreciate the full brewers’ yard feel. We settled among the book club and Saturday night dressed up pub goers for a chat with beer loves from all over the country. The only food to interrupt was the famous pork pies, the small version being ample to supplement the pint.

Derby Inn

Colston did us a very big favour in convincing Dave to stay open for our visit. He promised the best Pedigree one  might find and true to his word it was sublimely special. Tony is the stuff or pub legend. The pub is truly his home and the quirkiness of what we have lost in the modern pub is brought home by just a short stay here. The pub has two small rooms and a back yard with outside loo’s of the “”60’s Primary school”” style. Indeed, one needs a key from behind the bar to venture forth. Sitting on a stool near the bar is something to be treasured because the footie conversation is informed and amusing. Moreover, finding a seat without either a pile of programmes, newspapers, shopping or racing memorabilia is a bit of a success in itself. The pub has been repainted inside, I deliberately do not use the word refurbished because to do so would be a travesty. The Derby is a must find pub, it will not be busy but will, I guarantee, be popular and very friendly. Cheers Crawford and, of course, Tony,


The Alfred will probably be the busiest pub on the walk from town to ground. Another pub in the Burton Bridge stable, it is a traditional drinkers pub with staff who understand the needs of quality in the pint. It has wooden floors that mark out their refurbishment but also retains some of the house style of the street terrace local. It is split level with deceptively large rooms , two to one side of the bar with screens to separate them off.  It is a comfortable place, lit by a roaring fire to welcome you on long winters nights and only five minutes from the station. We parted from here vowing to meet again soon and the Alfred was perfect for the final pints. Two “hand-crafted” English lagers are sometimes available.  Don’t make our schoolboy error and rely on the bus to take you to the ground. The service is very unreliable and infrequent. It is a good 25 minute walk. What the heck, book a taxi and get another beer in.

Old Cottage Tavern

This was quite a find, it still operates as the brewery tap for the Old Cottage Brewery. Three rooms are served from a central bar, fairly modern, but panelled wood makes for pleasant surroundings for some excellent ale, cider & perry. A restaurant in the back serves up reasonably priced steak etc. There is a Folk Club every other Friday if that sort of thing floats your boat, and you can even stay over if you fancy. Accommodation consists of 3 twin rooms and 2 singles. Certainly walking distance to the ground, albeit you will have to try and pass both the Derby Inn and the Alfred, so doing it in one go is highly unlikely.


1974       Walsall H 0-2

1985       2nds Royston H W 15-0 1t

1988       England V Holland WEMBLEY

1991       Sheffield W A 1-2

1996       Chesterfield A 1-2

1997       Preston H 1-0

1999       Wycombe H 0-2

2002       Exeter H 0-0

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