Stormin’ Norman And The Lazy ‘M’

“What an absolute pile of f****** s****”  “That’s f****** hopeless,” gives you some idea of just how serious the game of cribbage was, as an old boy described his cards in 491 – The Norman Arms DE23 8DF on Saturday afternoon.

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Unfortunately, I’d arrived just too late to watch the groundhopping,  minor league fixture between Cyprus and Scotland on Sky, I’m sure Duncan will fill in the blanks, but the atmosphere was still top notch in an inner city suburb pub kind of way.

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Credit for this title goes to Matthew, who came up with the Lazy M idea on Twitter, and I’m more than happy to nick any good ideas as Martin will testify whilst he’s off drinking in earnest Micro pubs in the North West.

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This map gives you some idea of just how many chimney pots there are near The Norman Arms, whilst this one…

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…highlights Normanton in relation to the rest of Derby.

Having dropped my lad at Alter Rock (former church converted to a climbing centre) for a party it seemed the right thing to do to check out one of only five Derby Heritage pubs left.

Ye Olde Dolphin Inne, which you can read about here, is the city centre gem whilst the rest are in the suburbs and Normanton is an unlikely candidate to host such a boozer.

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As one of the friendliest boozers I’ve been into for a while, one old boy was telling me about how there used to be three pubs in close proximity, The Greyhound and The Mafeking Hotel, which was a favourite of Derby’s top beer columnist, Colston Crawford

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The old boy (not Colston) was lamenting how there was only one left and also said the Norman Arms had been shut/open/shut/open but he still travelled across town to visit his favourite boozer.

It’s a cracking building, with a Mock Tudor frontage I reckon, and my newly acquired pal told me that in the summer, when the beer garden was open, it was absolutely buzzing.

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No such joy on this occasion as, whilst the rain relented, it was still Baltic, but the entertainment inside the boozer was too good to miss.

The Crib game was funny and  even though it was piping, one of the punters wore an Arthur Daley style coat that he kept on throughout and the banter was acerbic.

 

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More f***** than a boozer in Coalville and the gaffer of the pub was laughing along as was everyone else as the game continued apace.

I half expected Mark Shirley to turn up and show everyone how it was done but he was conspicuous by his absence.

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The only non-Guinness/lager option at the bar was the new craft beer sweeping the nation, John Smith’s Smooth.  To be fair, the old boys have embraced it as this appeared to be outselling the Carling and clearly this is the way forward at just £3:20 a pint.

Bar blockers moved aside, plenty of people asked me how I was, and this was a really friendly, welcoming place.

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There were around 20 people in the bar and there was a fair bit of thoroughfare with people coming and going; the only feller who didn’t acknowledge me was one of the darts players.

However, extenuating circumstances meant he couldn’t see me due to the fact he was necking Newcy Brown and totally wasted warming up for their advertised Sunday darts match against The Crescent.

To be fair, he was beating his pal, who was laughing and in good form but Newcy Brown man was definitely of the Leighton Rees/Jocky Wilson School and played better with a few sherbets inside him.

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It was top class Saturday afternoon fare with outburst from the Cribbage game interspersed with outbursts from the oche but it was all in good nature and normal everyday pub life.

How long this place will last in Normanton who knows as I was definitely one of the youngest in here but it is providing a service to the local community and the punters playing their pub games along with those watching and having the craic all seemed perfectly happy to me.

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Oh yes, just for Dave, no one mentioned beer once hence the reason it had more than five punters in!

 

15 thoughts on “Stormin’ Norman And The Lazy ‘M’

  1. I had similarly f****** hopeless tiles in the Doms this week, it’s why Cribbage and Dominoes is declining, too many family dining pubs where you can’t swear freely 😂

    I seriously considered walking out to this pub last time I was in the Falstaff. The walk looked a bit dull and just a little too far, and I had a sneaking suspicion it wouldn’t have been open when I got there, such is the midweek pub lottery. Next time…

    What did you find that justified the heritage status?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good question…in the Derby Drinker a couple of months ago it is flagged up due to its (original) urinals and back room (not open) but it is clearly one of the great survivors. The Falstaff is also one of the heritage boozers…
      I’ve not seen a game in full flow before and terrific to watch

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      1. Cribbage is unfortunately dying on its arse in many places. Partly it’s because it’s not that attractive to younger pub-goers (has it ever been though?), but crucially also because it’s a game that only thrives where there’s a ‘school’ system for those of us that want to play, because Crib is a game you have to spend time learning how to play well.

        The fact is, experienced players don’t really want to spend time playing with beginners, and league teams certainly don’t want novices screwing their game up, so the old system of (usually Sunday) friendly games, the ‘school’, gave people like me the chance to learn the game before stepping up to league play. With the decline in interest that’s largely gone now, it’s an old persons game that’s both unnatractive ‘and’ unwelcoming to potential younger players.

        Cribbage will probably never entirely disappear from pubs and clubs, but its status as a league pub game is definitely under threat, and may effectively disappear within my lifetime.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s really interesting and i noted that all the players were well into their sixties (at a rough guess).
        I spent many years on football coaches playing hearts which is a magnificent cards game. That should be played in pubs but it only allows four people to play….

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      3. A few years ago I picked up an old scoreboard for the card game of Crash (13 card Brag) which was the start of a minor obsession. We play occasionally as an alternative to Doms, it’s a very easy game to learn but I’m absolutely terrible at it…

        Liked by 1 person

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