It’s an important day in history today although I’m not referring to the General Election. No, the real breaking news is that I have finally clocked up 500 boozers in the Midlands.
It’s been a long, long road (as the song by Birmingham City goes…for any new readers outside of England they are one of the top five clubs in British football) but I finally cracked it in style on a sopping wet Thursday in Swadlincote.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone and a bit like a cold wet Tuesday night at Stoke used to be the barometer for any wannabee Premier League champions, so this is the acid test for any pub blogger.
It would be remiss of me not to send festive greetings from Swad – as the locals like to call it – and the town centre was looking as festive as it could given the torrential downpour.
This is a place for proper pubs such that I’ve blogged about previously such as The Springfield, The Railway and The Foresters Arms. Good gritty working class stock, a Coalville of Derbyshire if you like.
And bearing in mind the majority of pubs thus far on this blog have been of ‘the proper pub’ variety then a trip to Wetherspoons was order of the day.
Whether it was Election day, or the fact they were selling top notch Golden Thread (Salopian) at £2.15 a pint, but 500 – The Sir Nigel Gresley DE11 9DA was buzzing.
A little bit of background about this place in the Market Square is that it used to be a Bass House pub called The Granville Arms that was almost derelict before being restored by Timbo in 2001. Gresley was a famous railway engineer from nearby Netherseal, so fits in perfectly with recognising local people.
Talking of which, I reckon there was around 60 people in, which, for 2:30 on a Tuesday, is likely to be more than most pubs in Britain, and it was a fantastic mix of all local life.
A couple of orange Hi-Viz jackets, lads from early twenties through to late seventies and couples all either drinking or eating and drinking.
(Punk IPA t-shirt – the new Carling)
After a chat with a friendly barmaid who even stopped pouring to let me take a picture of the handpump, I perched by an eclectic group of blokes of various ages who were having a fairly brutal conservation about blokes not buying a round!
An older Geordie bloke, who was drinking Newcy Brown admitted defeat as he left some of his bottle but the rest of the boys weren’t shifting anytime soon and it was just usual funny pub chat from decent blokes enjoying a pint.
If you could picture a perfect Wetherspoons lunchtime scene it would have been this and the perfect way to celebrate Life After Football.
(hug a hoodie)
Drinking in Swadlincote on a Thursday afternoon with a huge spectrum of society and not a political broadcast in sight…bliss.
A wander through town saw this little gem on offer at B&M, the true meaning of Christmas…
Here’s to the next 500 Cheers!