I have to say my enthusiasm for this bicycle ride to Alrewas from Willington was waning by the minute but I was prepared to give it one last go…
Anyone just joining me will have missed the edge of seat excitement as a cycling trip on a towpath from Derbyshire to Staffordshire has gone very Pete Tong.
(we reached Horninglow!)
With pedals falling off and punctures galore, allied to stopping in a couple of boozers, then my initial gusto was fading faster than Martin’s enthusiasm for Brunning & Price pubs.
But, my cycling/drinking buddy was waxing lyrical about Cycling 2000 and as the shop honed into view, tucked away in Burton backstreets, then a glimmer of hope flashed up as I thought we could crack this Trent & Mersey towpath malarkey after all.
(Half a welcome to Burton…other half was in the bike repair shop)
However, this trip was doomed to failure (only from a bike perspective of course, not from a beer angle) and once Rod had tried every option known to man he finally gave up and left the rogue bike in for a full service.
(goodbye to the towpath)
A quick phone call to his better half, as she was in the area, meant option two was suddenly very feasible.
Ostensibly, this meant meeting her at Burton station, dropping the bike off and then ‘perusing’ a few more Burton boozers on foot.
Not the initial plan but, as backups go, it certainly met with my approval!
En route to the station there was a backstreet boozer that we thought we should probably console ourselves in called 366 – Loaf & Cheese DE14 2NF.
Not only has this got a unique moniker but it also has a lot of Bass memorabilia that I thought I’d take a piccy of as we were parking up the workable bike.
This was a major error, as this photo
meant I was met by a hostile landlady who made me feel about as welcome as Diego Maradona in Peter Shilton’s house.
“Yes what do you want?” was the initial greeting and before I’d had a chance to say “A pint of your finest BBB landlady” we were hit with “Can I ask why you were taking pictures?”
Now it might be that she was a member of the Bass Marketing department, a movement so secretive that they confront anyone daring to take visual proof of its existence.
Or she could of course think I was part of the Marston’s/Punch/Heineken/Greene King finance dept. who are looking to complete a full set of shut down pubs in the Waterloo Street region of Burton.
Anyway, once I explained my name was Rich Coldwell and I gave her his home address and blog details she seemed satisfied and made her way back upstairs and left us with a non too chatty barman.
He mentioned that she’d been ‘watching me park the bike and take a picture of the outside of the pub on CCTV before tearing down the stairs to ‘greet’ us.
He looked like he had been told to watch us like hawks and we sat there drinking a very good pint of Hobgoblin Gold (Wychwood) whilst trying to make stilted conversation with a barman who was friendly enough, but not in line for the 2019 raconteur of the year award.
As we were the only two punters in this boozer it made for an awkward atmosphere and whilst we ambled around the boozer, we weren’t going to stay for too long.
I understand that a photograph might catch you off guard but I didn’t expect the Spanish inquisition as the Python boys once said and it certainly made for an ‘interesting’ stop off in what was clearly once a Bass boozer.
Rod did reveal that one of his relatives was once a high flyer in the Bass empire and he lamented how the empire has now ended up.
(don’t park your bike here or take this picture)
The beer was good and once that had gone we made our excuses and left, heading toward Burton train station safe in the knowledge that the Road to Nowhere has been completed in style!