Strawberry Fields Forever

You left me in the Saracens Head on the A34 in Solihull’s premier drinking suburb AKA Shirley amidst men in blue vests, men in sunglasses and men with lots of tattoos on their calves.

Two of the aforementioned trio were in my drinking party, as we performed the well-known Shirley Decathlon, which takes in ten boozers at a pace Daley Thompson would have approved of.

The Drawbridge, The Colebrook, The Shaking Hand, The Red Lion, The Pump House, Craft Inn Shirley and Saracens Head had taken us up to a tally of seven with just three left to get ourselves on the podium

The comments section have uncovered not one but TWO of the Midlands finest pub quizmasters in Pete Allen (Ember Inns guru) and Planetearthisblue who was the Bob Holness of The Lodge – Solihull Lodge’s only remaining pub – back in the nineties.

And their starter for ten? Which floppy fringed baggy band from the early nineties had a top three hit with a cover version of the Beatles classic tune Strawberry Fields Forever?

All musical gurus such as Mark Shirley and Mudgie will know that it is Candy Flip whilst Duncan and Martin will of course remember the original version.

So, why I am wittering on about a song covered by a duo from Stoke on Trent? In true LifeAfterFootball fashion, the tenuous link is because our last port of the call on the night was 635 – Strawberry Fields B90 3DN

The last time I was in here for a pint was way back in 1993 celebrating Blues stopping up (nothing ever changes) with a last gasp win over Charlton and Karen Brady was in there learning all the words to Keep Right On in her pre Apprentice days.

Anyway, I digress and earlier in the evening we hit pub number 8 and it was a visit to the last newbie on the Parkgate development 636 – Desco Lounge B90 3GG.

The craic was good,

the beer was flowing and BrewDog (Dead Pony) was in fine form

in an era where they were front page news for their beer.

Next port of call was a revisit for me to the Plume of Feathers where we caught up with some more old faces and this boozer is still a locals pub that happens to be situated on the main drag through Shirley.

Strawberry Fields was where we settled down to watch England’s Birmingham AFA League Division Six international friendly against the might of Austria.

I think this was once classed as a wine bar back in the day but has long since given up on that pretence and this is definitely a pub where you can have a laugh, play darts and watch live sport.

The conversation quickly turned to cricket and tales of largesse as England and Austria played out a rerun of the infamous Germany 1-0 Austria game from the 1982 World Cup whereby neither side laid a glove on each other apart from one goal.

No cask (as I recall) so it was Carling all the way here but the service was good, the atmosphere was good, sport was on the box and the pub is always more important than the beer.

A top day had by all and with The Shaking Hand in the GBG then Shirley will have a few more visitors than usual this year (well, at least three).

The phrase ‘something for everyone’ springs to mind and with a train station, bus route and The Lodge (Solihull Lodge) and Bulls Head (Hall Green) in close proximity then the possibilities are endless.

Don’t Call Me Shirley!

8 thoughts on “Strawberry Fields Forever

  1. Steady on! Though I do remember the original but I doubt Martin does. International friendlies are the worst but at least the real thing starts tonight. Shirley isn’t the first place I think of for a crawl but as always you find some good ones.

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  2. I seem to remember that last day survival (#36 of 71) was particularly tense, and whilst you were celebrating in Shirley I was in the Queens Head, Steelhouse Lane (RIP). Incidentally the scorer of the goal that day Paul Moulden has subsequently climbed the career ladder and currently running a chip shop in Bolton called, some what imaginatively, Paul’s Chippy !!

    I’m slightly worried about the safety of the Fab Four due to the position of the dart board in Strawberry Fields. Poor Ringo will be shrieking Help if anyone gets a bullseye !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those were the days!!! Paul Moulden and Andy Saville used to stop at a club B&B in Acocks Green near to the Great Western…can you imagine that now!
      I think Ringo would be on Bee Gee style backing vocals after a stray dart or two…

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  3. I figured I’d wait till the 3-part Shirley episode was over, although I plan to read the trifecta in the 15 minutes I have to myself before going to bed whilst in camp. (more on that at the end)*

    “and men with lots of tattoos on their calves.”

    Yes, yes. Over here the cowboys call that ‘branding’. 😉

    “as we performed the well-known Shirley Decathlon, which takes in ten boozers at a pace Daley Thompson would have approved of.”

    Yowza! (doffs hat)

    “Which floppy fringed baggy band from the early nineties had a top three hit with a cover version of the Beatles classic tune Strawberry Fields Forever?”

    The clue’s in the photo below that, innit? Obviously the band was called Caroline Barton. 🙂

    “In true LifeAfterFootball fashion, the tenuous link is because our last port of the call on the night was 635 – Strawberry Fields B90 3DN”

    I think the blog title gave it away.

    Oh, and obviously this is part 4 of a 3 parter… kinda like Duncan Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, what? 🙂

    “and Karen Brady was in there learning all the words to Keep Right On in her pre Apprentice days”

    As one dry wit mentioned to me yesterday about something I was going on about… I recognise all of the words, just not the context. 😉

    “and it was a visit to the last newbie on the Parkgate development 636 – Desco Lounge B90 3GG.”

    Those chairs are a bit frou frou.

    “the beer was flowing and BrewDog (Dead Pony) was in fine form”

    Loved that beer when I visited my brother in France back in 2015.

    “that happens to situated on the main drag through Shirley.”

    I know I’m supposed to behave (my darling wife has drilled that into me in camp to ensure I don’t offend anyone and get fired!) but…

    That conjures up the image of an, um, exotic dancer, who does things with ping pong balls, only in this instance it’s cigarettes. 😉

    “and watch live sport.”

    Which isn’t the aforementioned Shirley in drag, right?

    “whereby neither side laid a glove on each other apart from one goal.”

    I think the 1-0 above gave that away.

    “and the pub is always more important than the beer.”

    Well… 99% of the time maybe. 🙂

    “The phrase ‘something for everyone’ springs to mind and with a train station, bus route and The Lodge (Solihull Lodge) and Bulls Head (Hall Green) in close proximity then the possibilities are endless.”

    I shall go to sleep each night in camp dreaming of that, you lucky buggers!

    “Don’t Call Me Shirley!”

    I Shirley won’t good sir!

    Cheers

    * – and, as I’ve already mentioned on the blogs of Messrs Martin, Duncan and Si (sounds like bloody lawyers!), I shall sadly be fairly sporadic until the fall. Work in camp leaves little time to even surf the Net, let alone comment; and it appears I’ll be working whilst out of camp as well. Plus, my darling wife has already booked our time out of camp until at least September. Family obligations mostly; visiting our eldest and our new (!) baby granddaughter (born June 5th) as well as family on my wife’s side; which I have been strongly advised to attend. 😉

    Have one of those (many) beers for me, as I’ll be unable to partake every time I’m in camp. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great to hear from you Russ and your better half has obviously wised up to your slacking and blog reading!!!! The chairs in Desco Lounge were very frou frou and it’s another tick in the box but not sure how ‘pubby’ it is….good comedy value though on a top day out!
      Look forward to hearing from you again Russ when you are back on the sauce!!!

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