Sunday 9 August 2020

When BRAPA comes to town

I have been known to spend my spare time trudging up and down mountains.  Boots, waterproof and a rucksack full of supplies are standard issue, so it's always a bit of a surprise when someone dressed in shorts and a t-shirt comes running past. To be honest, fell running looks a bit bonkers to me, but heroic bonkers. Which is pretty much how I feel about the people currently ticking off the entire Good Beer Guide. I've done a bit of pub ticking in my time, and was even a 2017 Isle of Man compleatist. But the whole book? 4,500 pubs? Sounds both bonkers and heroic to me. So when I saw that Si of BRAPA fame was in my local area I immediately offered to assist with getting a few more ticks chipped off the monolithic block. 

We started with the Garibaldi in Knaphill, a pub I first drank in as a teenager, though it's sadly gone downhill or should I say upmarket since then. No longer a two bar boozer it's been knocked through into one and is much more foody. 


With the current plague situation they were a long list of rule for us to read and I must confess my attention had wandered before I got to the end. This did bring to light a problem with visiting new pubs that has been compounded by the new rules: what to do when you need a wee. We could see some portaloos had been brought in but were slightly worried we might be arrested if we didn't follow the correct procedure. Fortunately as this was the first stop we could solve the problem by simply heading on to the next pub: The Royal Oak

I've popped into this pub occasionally over the years but never been that taken with it. The welcome, like the decor, was a little cold. It was early though and maybe with more people there it would have warmed up a bit. Si cracked first and had to go in search of the loo, but I could  hold on until I was on more familiar ground at The Crown. As this is my local I was back on home turf and knew the rules and where the facilities were. 

Si showed impeccable taste by agreeing with me it was the best of the pubs we'd been to. And he certainly knows his pubs. Over a beer we compared notes about other bloggers we'd met, so if your ears were burning that day now you know why. I dropped him off in the town centre to brave the wilds of Woking on his own as I had to work the next day. 

I caught up with him again a couple of days later at the Sun Inn in Dunsfold, not to be confused with the other Sun Inn a couple of miles down the road. We met in the garden where Si already had a pint. As I was driving I didn't have anything, which was a bit foolish really as it means I can't tick this pub myself. We discussed the rules of pub ticking as everyone makes their own. Except for Retired Martin, who only does it because he was cursed by a gypsy to wander Britain, visiting every Good Beer Guide pub but only able to have a sip of beer in each. He really should have bought those clothes pegs. Si is perhaps unique in that he has a pint in each tick, most people I think will settle for a half. 

The Merry Harriers was the next stop, the only pub I've seen which offered llama trekking. Not that we actually saw any though. I did have a half here, which is good enough for me to claim a tick. It was something local I think, probably Crafty Brewery as they're not far away. Then it was on to Godalming, a town that strangely causes people problems with how to pronounce it. But not me as I know how to do it. The pub was of course The Red Lion, a cracking pub with a great range of beer. Which is probably helped by the fact they only one from the owners, Greene King on. They had table service here, our beer being deposited near us on the world's smallest ironing board. I'm not sure if it was a comment on the state of our t-shirts or not. Then it was time to head off,. I dropped Si off in Guildford where staggered off to get some sustenance before the next days onslaught, while I slunk back home for another quiet night in. Certainly less heroic, but possibly less bonkers.