Yesterday was a fuzzy start to the day. All my own fault having had far more drinks than I planned too on Friday night. It was with some reluctance that I got out of bed but it had to be done. While loads of my mates were off to Newport to watch the Walsall FC match, I was heading to Tamworth for beer festival and pub goodness along with a catch up with great mates Sean and Madels, with their respective partners Sammy and Pam.
First stop was the the Corner Cafe in Caldmore to line the stomach then it was into town for the train. I’m happy to report that this trip saw me take yet more steps into this century as I was travelling with my tickets on my phone courtesy of a QR code for the first time. How much better is this? No more pulling out your wallet and fumbling around for tickets. All you have to do now is pull out phone, unlock phone, find Outlook app, scroll through a weeks emails and download your ticket. So much more efficient. During the downtime at Birmingham New Street I took screen grabs of both tickets just to speed things up a tad.
Anyway the train was bustling, train beers were about with a group of young ladies already on the shots and a lad opposite getting stuck into bottles of Stella. I however had a bottle of Barr’s Limeade. It has been said that I need to up my train beer game and I think this proved it.
Soon I was in Tamworth and straight to the festival. The beers were good and the discussions ace as per usual, the highlight being the need to set up a festival in Walsall called “Death By Mead”. I think we could sell that out both in terms of tickets and Mead.
Whilst the beers were good, the ciders were another level even Dane Bowers would have approved. I had toffee apple, raspberry ripple, black forest and another whose name escapes me, but they are so drinkable and can go down so quick so I thought it was best to slow down and go back on the ales.
Despite the full English on the morning I soon had the munchies. Last time I did Tamworth Beer Festival the food was epic but this time it was things like pies, sausage rolls and bizarrely half Scotch Eggs. Seriously who buys half a Scotch egg? So I ran away. Fortunately there was a CO-OP round the corner so I headed there. I wanted to partake in the meal deal but I really couldn’t be arsed to work which things qualified as a side. So I had a cheese and ham sandwich with two scratch cards, the latter sadly not being part of the meal deal.
On my penultimate toilet trip I noticed three people huddled around a screen watching eagerly. I assumed it was showing Soccer Saturday but no. It was advertising upcoming shows. I should have hacked it and get my am dram group AMCS’s October panto of Cinderella on there, in which I’m playing Baron Hardup. Tickets still available. https://boxoffice.wlct.org/event_description.aspx?eventid=1051&fbclid=IwAR2v7X6iozYDQXPJ6RvF0nFEmstnGx5SDtHkyjGQDoYD45nFnv2Z1dZIbp0
With the clock ticking towards train time and my need to visit pubs in search of material I left the festival and arranged to meet up with the others when they had used up their beer tokens. After nearly being taken out by an opening car door I found Bond’s Bar. On our last trip to Tamworth @blackpooljane spotted this place as we walked past. It hadn’t turned up on any of my pub planning sites so we ventured in out of curiosity and it ended up being in the top 10 of the 407 pubs that I visited on Pub 365 Challenge volume 3.
The pub was cool as it was last time, it has a telephone box in side, the long lamented Brewery Stores in Walsall being the only other example of this that I know of. The barmaid was class. I ordered Coors and her fellow barman made a crap joke along the lines of “of Coors you can. She admitted to not getting the joke to start with and concluding with “I’m such a twat”. A line I often use about myself. I think we could get on.
From there I headed to The White Lion. On mine and Jane’s first trip to Tamworth I spotted this pub from across the road. The big Sky Sports banners put me off slightly but the 4 boarded up windows really enticed me. Jane was reluctant but she appreciates that I like a rough looking pub so we went in. And it was class. The following year the windows were repaired and they had Skittles Vodka which really won Jane over. None of said vodka was available on this visit but I liked some of the events. They do “Skint Mondays” where certain drinks are £1.50 and for the karaoke on Wednesdays it’s a free shot for every singer. I meant to clarify if it’s just one shot per person or one for each song sang. If it’s the latter I’m booking a couple of days off and going there to recreate the Live Aid concert. If it’s the former they might just get the 36 second Jonny Trunk & Wisbey song The Ladies’ Bras (the shortest song to make the UK top 40) out of me. With permission from my agent of course. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9d5AbYuXIs
Upon leaving The White Lion I met up with the others and we headed to The Coven. This is another cool place with a double bass in the corner and assembled jigsaw puzzles laminated onto the tables. Our table had a super heroes jigsaw on it. I was invited to name some of them but being one of life’s miserable sods I declined. Now if it had been a Prisoner Cell Block H puzzle I’d have been all over it.
There was time for one more pub so we headed to The Kings Ditch. A class pub which will soon have to expand into a neighbouring building as they are now short of room for any more CAMRA PUB Of The Year certificates.
I popped to the chip shop for a snack and after being shocked and querying the price of £4.60 for sausage and chips (I’m from a poor area where it’s £2 max) I took my food and headed for the railway station. Whilst on the platform a very fast moving train came along and deposited some of it’s load as it passed. I don’t recall ordering a full facial sand blasting but hey it took years off me. I’m just glad I covered up my food as it approached.
I was soon back at New Street where a big group of Walsall fans were waiting for the train. Mates of mine including Dan Gilbert, Coxy, Kimob, Zece, and Lee Stanley were amongst them. I accidentally headbutted Coxy whilst giving him a hug and his night wasn’t going to get any better as when we arrived at Bescot Stadium Station after a quick selfie Coxy announced his departure. Dan started singing the James Blunt classic “Goodbye My Lover” which I certainly don’t need any invitation to start singing so I joined in and before long we were all joining in. Coxy however was having trouble getting the doors to open and it all felt a bit Crystal Maze. His time ran out and he was locked in. To be fair we didn’t laugh much.
From there a couple of us hit the Tap And Tanner including Coxy who should have been at home by now but made the most of the situation with more booze. As you do. I had just a quick one in there along with Scampi Fries and then walked home via The Black Country Arms for an Ice Cream Cider.
What a magnificent day.