Bescot & Birmingham.

Last Saturday was the final game of the season for Walsall FC. A season that can be best described as a bit poo.

I headed straight to the Bescot Bar as is standard procedure and whilst drinking we were randomly joined by a male porn star. I had no idea who he was. I’m a good boy me so I don’t watch that kind of stuff but I know where to find it should I ever become an MP. Some of the lads knew who he was and it caused much excitement. He stuck around and there were some great lines flying around both from him and the lads, none of which I can put on a family friendly blog.

Dan Gilbert asked him if there was a market for me. I didn’t catch his response but it was a short conversation so I’m guessing it was negative. Photographs with him were required and I was asked to take them. I’m guessing that this is the closest I will get to a porn shoot.

Anyway the match was wank (nothing to do with the porn star), we lost 3-0 and at the end people were just relived that this season was over.

After the game my mate Paul Mitchell had arranged a Walsall fans evening in Birmingham, some of these folks I hadn’t seen in years, others not for a fortnight.

We headed straight to The Trocadero, one of Birmingham’s “must visit” pubs. Service was quick but the £5.05 for a pint of Coors made me wince. I opted to nurse this pint for a while. While heading back to the group I saw Paul’s wife Cara who I’ve not seen for years. We spent about 10 minutes hugging. If there is a list of good ways to nurse a pint, hugging a cracking lass has got to be up on there.

What a pub.

The Troc is a great pub. Always lively but they like their light bulbs in there. I counted 43 from my view and that was with my back to most of the pub. With the energy price cap rise they’ll be regretting that when the next bill comes in. But then again at £5.05 a pint they might be okay.

Paul, Cara and me.

I popped outside to take a picture and on the way back in I saw a sign for the in house pizza and the slogan was slice slice baby. I’d had the excellent new single by Blossoms “The Sulking Poet” in my head all day. Not the whole song, just the “oo la la oo la la oo la la Juliet” bit on a continuous loop. Now though I was guaranteed to be singing “slice slice baby” for the rest of the night.

Sing it with me, “slice slice baby”.

I made the usual visit to the toilets and did a double take at the big screen showing that Brighton were 4-0 up against Man Utd, Due to this double take I nearly walked into the fruit machine. Not a good look in front of lots people. Talking of Man Utd, one of my bucket list items is to have a pint with Harry Maguire. He seems like a top bloke and I think it would be a laugh.

Up The Saddlers.
I have to be front and centre on photos.

We moved on to The Old Contemptibles. They had a beer on called Hat-Trick. As a Walsall fan I’ve not seen a hat trick in years so I jumped on that. It was a cracking pint.

A man I don’t know joined the group and was offering to buy people cigars. Two ladies took him up on this. He didn’t offer me one which I didn’t mind. I’m a non smoker but I did have three cigars around the turn of the millennium and another at a wedding in 2019. I do have a cigar on my bedside table which I intend to smoke after the next time I’ve had a lovely lady round for sexy time, mind it’s that old now it’ll probably fall to pieces when I unwrap it.

Final call of the night was The Colmore, a cracking Thornbridge pub. I’m an absolute disciple to Thornbridge Brewery so this place is always good to visit although it did get negative press on Twitter when @StymieSi was turned away as they were only letting women in at that juncture. His blogs are great so give him a follow. Anyway, our group was now down to just five men but this policy wasn’t in place this time and we were allowed in.

I usually get the last train home but I’m a bit more grown up now so I opt for the safety net of the penultimate train, which I got.

It was an absolutely superb day.

The A-W & Y-Z Of Unticked Walsall Eateries. Part 3.

There are more new places to eat opening in Walsall. Not that I needed any additional motivation but this spurred me on to visit more places for the first time.

G. German Donner Kebab. 1A Littleton Street, Wisemore. Walsall.

I’d only heard good things about this place and as I was preparing to visit along came one of my best friends Swill with the first bad review. This made me even more keen to visit.

What a place.

My mate Dave came along for this review. This place is always rammed when I pass it but on this visit it was much quieter which I had absolutely no problem with. Service was quick, I was handed a disc thing, like a yoyo without the string and I left Dave to it at the counter and went to find a booth.

I started to make notes and auto correct changed the name to German Downer Kebab, but this certainly wasn’t the case. Suddenly the disc thing started buzzing and flashing red. I picked it up. Do I sit here or will someone come over? I looked round. “That’s yours” Dave said very helpfully. “Yes I know” I snapped back. Fortunately the waitress arrived with my food and the buzzing stopped.

Confusion causing disc thingy.

The meat options were beef or chicken. Puzzled by the choice of beef kebab I went for both (naturally, I am a fat greedy sod). I also had a Cherry Tango Ice Blast. Think Slush Puppy with a more modern trendy brand name.

Yum yum yum.

Dave had a £4 doner panini. He said he enjoyed it and was going to visit again which shocked me on both counts as normally he only eats pickled onions.

This was a great visit. When I picked this place for this letter I really hit the g spot. And it’s not often I can say that.

E. Elliot’s Cafe, Norton Road. Pelsall.

It was St George’s Day. I needed breakfast. I took a pleasant bus ride to Pelsall and called in here. I was immediately confused. To the left was the dining area which was cordoned off, but had one man sat in there, and to the right was one table with a couple sat at it. As I pondered what I had to do, one of the couple on the right ordered me to go up the counter. I must have had a neon sign above my head saying “first time visitor”.

Proper traditional cafe.

I approached the counter and asked if I could eat in, and the man said stuff along the lines of once you’ve paid you can sit down. Unfortunately the breakfasts were listed on the far side of the cordoned off area. They were also listed behind the counter but in writing too small for my eyes to contend with. I’d come for breakfast not an eye test. I pondered taking my glasses off, covering one eye and saying very slowly “I would like the medium breakfast etc” but even I am not that childish. The man started to explain the breakfasts but I am really not good at being put on the spot so I just opted for medium. I paid and the man then released the cordon like a bouncer letting you into the VIP area.

I sat down and was making notes when more people came in. I heard one order orange juice which I didn’t pay much attention too until he sat down. It was in a milk bottle like you used to get delivered in the 80’s. I was always jealous walking to school of people with orange juice on their door steps. I was tempted to go and order one for myself but I was far too excited.

Breakfast arrived it contained the two longest sausages that I have ever had on a breakfast, which was ace. The toast was cut correctly (horizontally) as well.

The food was good, quickly devoured and enjoyed but as I had the last mouthful a young couple walked in and they both had orange juice. I took this as a sign that God wanted me to have one, and well you have to keep him happy don’t you? So I grabbed one, smuggled it on the bus and drank it on the steps of The Saddlers Centre. This was a good visit.

More of this should be happening.

V. Village Chippy, 110 Lichfield Road. Rushall.

A while ago I appealed on Twitter for places that do battered chips in the borough of Walsall and this place got a couple of nods, so it was added to this to do list.

As I walked in I saw two signs marked up as “The Tasty Favourites”. I was shocked to see salad on one of these. Right, I’m not going to beat about the bush. Salad is shit. It’s not tasty and it’s nobody’s favourite, but I guess 0 out of 2 aint bad.

So salad is tasty but not mouthwatering enough to make this sign.

I opted for a cone of chips and to my delight the salt went on first which as you may remember I said was the right way in part 2 of this ridiculous series although upon publishing that one I found out I was very much in the minority :-).

They had a mossiv jar of pickled eggs which guarantees them entry into The Good Chippy Guide when I finally get round to writing that. Estimated publishing date early 2029. I’m quite lazy so it could be late 2029, but don’t stick it on your Christmas wish list that year just in case.

A good visit to be fair.

L. Lucky Star. 22 Lower Rushall Street. Walsall.

This was Eat Well for many years which I was a regular visitor to but I’ve not been since it changed hands and name. It’s now the 3rd Walsall venue named after a Madonna song following Vogue and Fever.

It’s more bright and airy than it used to be and feels bigger. The fish tank and those net curtains have gone. There is just one stool in the form of furnishings so if you are taking the good lady in your life prepare to stand while she sits down. Newspapers to read whilst waiting are no longer available.

Anyway the counters has screens up. One side says “order here” and the other “pay here”. I didn’t realise until afterwards that I had done both transactions at the “pay here” side. I’m such a law breaking badass.

I opted for the butterfly king prawns starter which comes with sweet and sour sauce. King prawn fried rice was the main. Bit king prawn heavy I appreciate. Good job that I like them.

It didn’t take long for the food to arrive but in the meantime I enjoyed the clanking of pans noises that you only get in Chinese takeaways.

Because this place is a 15 minute walk from my house I was worried that the food would be cold when I got home and I would have to deduct them points for this. As a football fan I am used to harsh points deductions being handed out. Fortunately I am good friends with Jason the landlord of The Victoria (Katz) pub next door and I’d been given permission to eat my food in there.

Lucky Star with licensed seating are next door.

The food was really good, I wolfed it down whilst getting much attention from one of the locals dog, who then didn’t want to know me when I’d finished. It was washed down with a pint of Muscle Mary which is a raspberry blush cider, whatever that means.

You can absolutely be my Lucky Star.

J. John Street Cafe. John Street. Walsall.

There are two doorways for this place and the nearest one has a big plant behind it so move onto the next one which lets you in.

It was strange walking down John Street, not to visit The Pretty Bricks.

In here you have to choose between beans or tomatoes on your breakfast, This is good. Tomatoes are evil and you shouldn’t have to request to opt out of them when you order.

I went for the medium breakfast, yes medium again. I really feel like my days of large and extra large breakfasts are behind me. I paid extra for fried bread and despite tea or coffee being included I opted for a can of pop also. Following the grave announcement that the Lemon variant of Fanta (my fave in that range) is being is being discontinued at the end of May I went for one of those. Had I got a rucksack with me I would have had every can of it out the fridge. The whole meal came to £5.50 which was excellent.

Music was being provided by Greatest Hits Radio and it was Charmless Man by Blur as I made my way to the table. What a tune.

Walsall FC chat with Mark the owner occurred whilst I was waiting which is always good.

The food arrived and it was very yummy, although when the radio started playing Everybody Dance by Chic there was almost some disruption to my munching. I like a boogie as much as the next man but it’s hard to dance and clap your hands clap your hands whilst shovelling egg on toast into your big gob so I resisted the urge and remained seated.

I most certainly will not dance. I’m demolishing this.

This was a nice, relaxed visit topped with Bar the Landlord of The Pretty Bricks making an appearance.

Right, that’s it for this edition. 10 More reviews to go, unless of course somewhere beginning with X suddenly opens, please let me know if one does. Cheers. Bye.

Early Out The Blocks In Bloxwich.

On Saturday there was a Walsall CAMRA social in Bloxwich. Now this place is always a great pub crawl but there is a couple of boozers that always get missed as they are not on the main drag. So I opted to head over early and visit these two before joining everyone else.

After the standard warm welcome and excellent breakfast at Jack & Ada’s I jumped on the 31 and was soon in Bloxwich. First up was The Spring Cottage. A pub I’ve not been in for over a decade.

First thing that caught my eye were the baps. Three plates of em. I’ve not seen them piled so high before. I love a pub cob but with breakfast still very fresh in my memory I opted to be good and not have one.

How about them baps eh?

The Liverpool match was on so despite it being early there were no vacant tables. I launched myself up on a stool by the bar, which took some doing I tell thee, and as soon as I’d had my first sip, Paul a lad i know headed over. I’d completely missed him as I did my search for a table. He invited me to join his table so I climbed back down off the stool. Which was quicker than the ascent.

In the toilet was a selection of deodorants and after shaves which was a nice touch. I opted for a spray of Milano Wealth. I’ve not been to Milan and I’ll never know wealth but it made me smell good so I’ll take that.

Very nice touch this.

Next on the agenda was The Romping Cat, which is a great pub and a stunning looking building in my opinion. It also has a cracking name. The pint of Boon Doggle was in great nick, barman friendly and welcoming and it was a good visit.

Beautiful.

It was time to meet the others so I headed to New Invention Brewery. My friends Sean and Lauren were here which was a bonus, two other Walsall CAMRA members were here too and Karol the friendly welcoming owner was all smiles as usual. There were 15 keg beers, 2 cask and a fridge full of cans to choose from. The Hazy In Love cask was ace.

What a place.

Me and Sean had the usual football discussions, mainly on potential away trips for next season. He then rejoined Lauren at the bar while myself and the Walsall CAMRA members talked abut the branch. I was urged to reconsider stepping down as Chairman but it really isn’t working and we need new leadership.

I then perused the food menu and caused outrage by saying that onion only belongs on cheese and onion cobs and should not be on pizzas or in curry where you have to fish them out.

Next up was The Wheatsheaf and a toilet visit was required. In there was an absolute top lad, Luke Jennings who was one of the great people I met at The Fitters Arms. I’ve not seen him in years so we had to hug even though we were in the bogs. He is the best karaoke singer I’ve known. First time I heard him it was like “wow”.

Me and Luke, not in the toilet.

I returned to the bar and Dennis was having a discussion with the landlord as to how big the head of a pint should be and haggling as to the degree of CAMRA discount on offer. The landlord tried to bring me into it but I went into shy mode and instead went off to search for any Walsall FC representation amongst the sea of Aston Villa/Man Utd/Liverpool bunting. I found a mirror and a flag along with lots of England stuff from St George’s Day so I was happy.

We split up from here and I went onto The Queen’s Head. Pie and pint was order of the day here, although I had to pay for them separately which threw me and I ended up counting out two piles of shrapnel. I felt a bit like Scrooge. Anyway the barmaid dashed off to get me a fork before I had chance to say I didn’t need one because I’m uncouth.

The pub was busy but without music. Then someone approached the jukebox. I really try not to pre judge people but when this happens I always guess if they will put on something shit. I had faith in this lady and she didn’t let me down. She chose Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder. What an absolute banger. The next lady put on 3 Arctic Monkeys songs which also went down a storm. Nothing came on after Fluorescent Adolescent so I moved on via the toilet.

The toilets here have an old school scales set which costs 20p. I declined this. I have women in Walsall Town Centre come up and tell me I’m fat for free so I don’t need to pay to glean this knowledge. I put the 20p back in my pocket and used it later towards kebab meat and chips.

No thanks, and sadly I had no need for the machine to the left either.

Last mission in Bloxwich was to head to the Wetherspoons and as a nod to Matthew Wilder nothing was gonna break my stride. It’s right by the bus stop so had to be done. Last week I had my first pint of mild in 30 years so here I went totally left field and had a stout. I hadn’t heard of the brewery and they had me with the word choclatey on the pump clip. It was very good.

Another great looking building.
Chocolatey.

On the bus back I had a message from our Treasurer Frank who was heading to the Black Country Arms so after the aforementioned kebab meat goodness I ventured there.

Frank was upstairs and as I approached his table David Clarke another Walsall fan emerged from the toilet. I always bump into him outside toilets. And we always hug. Hugging inside and outside of toilets on the same day? I’ll be getting a reputation.

After a quick pint we rounded the day off in Katz. Mr Clarke joined us, and Sean& Lauren from earlier also showed so it was a cracking end to a top day but I was done in so headed home, even getting a taxi which is so unlike me.

Bloxwich you were ace. I’ll be back soon.

By George What A Day.

April 23rd. St George’s Day, and England’s turn to have a few drinks and get a bit patriotic. It’s my favourite day of the year although I’m sure that won’t come as a surprise to anyone.

As is tradition on this day, it’s English music only as I get ready this time opting for “Waking Up” by Elastica, “From Rush Hour With Love” by Republica and rounding things off with “Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?” by The Zutons.

I’d made no plans for supping as I’d got a mission in the morning which I had no idea what time I’d be back in town from plus my usual pre match drinking buddies weren’t about so after a bus journey and a decent breakfast (more on that in another blog) I found myself on the steps of The Saddlers Centre, watching the world go by and thoroughly enjoying a bottle of orange juice. This moment of serenity wasn’t to last as I noticed religious looking people opposite preparing leaflets and musical instruments so I decided that this was a good time to disappear.

I had an idea of who would be in which pubs so I headed to The Black Country Arms and in there was the top lad Dave Roe and his mate Mark. I had a pint of Oakham Citra but it was a new version. T60 or T90, I can’t quite remember. It was definitely a cassette number either way. Anyway it was a great drink and it was just nice to have a St George’s Day pint inside a pub for the first time since 2019, what with them all being closed in 2020 and the bizarre rule of having to sit outside in 2021.

There were some away fans in the pub and as I entered the toilets one of them looked me up and down and started singing “we ate Walsall and we ate Walsall”. I ignored him but I was a bit confused as I squared up to the urinal. ‘You ate my town?’ I pondered. He clearly hadn’t eaten this building. Perhaps he was saving it for dessert. I did wonder if the insurance I have on my house covers it for being eaten.

After a very pleasant hour I popped to Katz and they had the Titanic “Raspberry Pale” on so I dived straight on that, much to the disgust of the man next to me who wanted know why I was drinking such a disgusting beer. “Er, cause I like it”. It was the best answer I could come up with at such short notice.

Katz in patriotic mood.

Anyway I got to the match, we won 2-0 and everyone loved it. I saw both goals as well. Very jovial drinks followed in The Bescot Bar and then we headed to The Tap & Tanner in town. There were a good bunch of Walsall fans already in there so we joined them. There was also reserved seats which I have never seen in there before. Good to see that St George’s Day supping is now so popular that people have to reserve tables. It’s possible that the tables may have been reserved for the Tyson Fury fight but that wouldn’t suit my narrative.

I accidentally sat in a reserved seat and was swiftly evicted when the occupants arrived.

It was a great time in there. The highlights being “Twist & Shout” by Chaka Demus & Pliers, the rendition of Sweet Caroline which raised the roof and Dan Gilbert and myself having a crazy dance to “Maniac”.

Loved this in the doorway of The Tap.

Epic times.

The A-W & Y-Z Of Unticked Walsall Eateries, Part 2.

Yep, I’ve been wandering around visiting more food places and eating lots. All good. Here are the next 5 reviews.

B. Bun & Wings, Ablewell Street. Walsall.

This place opened on March 7th. I was peckish and impatient and went in that day. Situated in what was Nessa’s, a curry house where I always wanted to shout “oh, what’s occurring?” upon entry, and I still had the urge to do it this time despite the name change.

Crap angle due to infuriating roadworks.

My colleague Lindsey misheard when I announced I was visiting here and thought I’d said Bum & Wings, which sounds like a Kat Slater Bo’ Selecta! spin off show.

The place was busy on arrival but I got served quickly. I was going to have a soft drink but changed my mind when I saw someone going at the machine with a screwdriver so I had a milkshake instead which was epic. I had the kebab meat cheeseburger which was messy, good messy though and was very enjoyable. I would have had wings too but I had a bus journey to a Walsall CAMRA meeting to get to so time was short. Food good, friendly welcoming staff and a great first visit.

As good as what you’d get in Kelis’s yard.
This, I can get on board with.

S. Scabby Oss Cafe, King Street. Darlaston.

This is a new cafe that opened in February and a big thanks to Lindsey for flagging this one up to me.

A friendly welcome was received and my £4.50 medium breakfast arrived quickly and it was good. I polished the lot off.

The two members off staff were going out of their way to check things were okay with the customers.

I liked the way the coasters and mugs all had the scabby oss logo on them, and it was a nice relaxed place with a fair few fellow diners. I don’t get to Darlaston often nowadays but I’ll give this another visit soon.

As the saying goes “I could eat a scabby oss”.

P. Pisces. Wolverhampton Road. Walsall.

I’m a Taurus. I have all the traits, loyal, stubborn etc. One of the best star signs that Taurus is compatible with is Pisces, so I had to tick this place off although I don’t really bother with astrology nowadays having been let down several times by Mystic Meg.

I no longer need a bus pass for work and this was the last day of having one before it expired so I jumped on a 529 from town. Whilst I hate that bus service, it’s is okay when going for food on a sunny evening rather than work at 6.40 on a cold dark morning.

I walked in and the lady behind the counter was having the conversation of her life on the phone, which was okay as it gave me chance to peruse the menu. It was quite a call and I thought she really should have waited until after 6 o’clock when it’s cheaper. Is that still a thing? I’d like to think so.

Anyway, I went for £5 mini fish and chips. The lady served up, applied vinegar then salt which I really thought she had got the wrong way round. She then lifted the fish and applied more salt. She closed the lid, opened it again and applied more salt. At my old job we sold 25kg sacks of salt and I wondered if she’d ordered a couple of these too many and was trying to shift the stock. I also made a mental note to not a book a blood pressure test for the foreseeable future.

The food was okay. Nothing special. I probably won’t rush back here.

M. Mother Hubbard’s, Pleck Road. Walsall.

This place opened in September last year and as an opening offer sold fish and chips at 45p for the first 1000 customers. The local press picked up on this reporting the queues as being 3 miles long. Seriously Walsall has not seen queues like since tickets for our first visit to Wembley went on sale in 2015 (and to a lesser degree when Rocky IV opened at the ABC cinema) https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/black-country/massive-three-mile-queues-9am-21492929

Jane and myself had found the Blackpool branch of this chain on my recent visit to there and it was ace so i was eager to see if the Walsall one could compare. Had the man from Del Monte been with me he would definitely have said yes.

There was a friendly welcome, the lad clocked my Walsall FC hat and fleece and engaged in a quick bit of small talk. I ordered the fish and chips along with gravy and obligatory can of Apple Tango.

Do it. Do it now,

Whilst awaiting my food I checked the decor, 6 massive pictures of Walsall landmarks, and in the ceiling was a long screen showing what I guessed to be Finding Nemo characters.

The food arrived quickly and it was ace. Chips chunky, fish amazing and the gravy was stodgy, how it should be. The guy behind the counter said I could shout if I needed anything and upon departing checked that I’d enjoyed my food. Good customer service. My God, this was a superb visit. I’m drooling as I type this and I shall be going back soon. It’s a 15 minute walk from work so it’s happening again soon. I can see me visiting so often they’ll take out a restraining order. You need to check this place out.

£8.85 for this lot.

H. Hot Wok, Wednesbury Road. Walsall.

Another new place, this one just a few weeks old and located on the edge of Wednesbury Road a stones throw from the legendary Hillary Street. First thing that I noticed were the two televisions on the wall. Both switched off. I never watch the tv in the house so it was nice that they had made this effort to make me feel at home.

Another crap angle as I didn’t want the staff to see me taking the picture.

It was food ordering time and I was thrown at being asked my name as this has never happened before and I was the only customer. I was going for the box meal. First you have to give the size regular or large (large obvs), then your base, egg fried rice, egg noddles or chips (I can eat rice all day long so only one winner there). Finally it’s the good stuff and it’s chicken (yum yum), Vegetable (retching at the thought of this), beef (potential) or for an extra pound prawn (I adore prawns but I’m also a tight wad) so I opted for chicken. Finally there is a choice of sauce. Now I know I’m a writer and I love a word count but I can’t be arsed to list the sauces. Sorry.

I stepped back from the counter, got my phone out to make notes and went straight into my own little world. I was startled when the chef called out Mikee (and pronounced it correctly). I’d only written a few words. Excellent speedy service.

There is nowhere to sit inside so I went outside and within seconds an 11A (nee 313) bus arrived so I jumped on that. The benches outside St Paul’s Church have long since disappeared so I sat behind the big headed fountain thing on The Bridge and tucked in. It was really good, but next time I’m going for the sweet butter prawn and king prawn fingers. Determined to have that goodness without paying the extra pound.

If you really want to know the sauces, here they are. I went for Kung Po.

That’s it for this edition. I’m looking forward to the next 5 although my Z choice has closed down so that needs a rethink. Cheers.

Good Thursday, Great Friday.

I like a Maundy Thursday drink, and after a working day consisting of 9 hours and 15 minutes, I’d certainly earned one. The rough plan was to leave work and head straight to Rock Steady Eddies to meet Craig, although I had advised a McDonalds pit stop would be required.

So I left work 15 minutes late, McDonalds was busy but I eventually made Eddies. Craig had got me 3 pints of Strongbow Dark Fruits and he seemed a little miffed at me rocking up with a large Toffee Latte (yes I’m a ponce nowadays) which I needed to finish first, I also wasn’t feeling 3 quick pints so he agreed to have one of them.

We attempted to move inside but people were blocking the door like it was a French port. We eventually got in to find the quiz machine in a bad mood and somebody loading up the jukebox with songs not quite to our taste so we moved on.

Next up was The Pretty Bricks which was playing Listen To Your Heart. This prompted a chat about the best song by Roxette. Craig went for the one playing but I opted for Almost Unreal, cause it’s great. We tried to involve the barmaid in this discussion but she wasn’t playing ball.

After a very pleasant pint we moved on to The Oak Inn. After months of being taunted with the Carling Black Fruits cider dispenser being lit up but them not having any, we got a pint of it for the second visit in a row. We had a discussion as to who would win a fight between Sam Fender and Jake Bugg, as I’d been pondering this in bed the night before and wanted a second opinion. We both went for Mr Fender.

Next up was The Old Bailey. I was intrigued by an abandoned lone pint of Guinness with just a mouthful out of it. As per usual I wanted the back story. Was it the lad’s first pint of Guinness and not to his liking? Was he drinking slowly and all his mates were moving on? Or had he got lucky and had to dash off for a shag? I was tempted to get my note pad and pen out and question the barmaid but I had a pint of my own with less sipped out of it, so I turned my attention to that.

Why? Just why?

We moved onto Katz where I was delighted to see that they had Broadoak Twisted Lime cider on, a delightful green beer that I had discovered in The Jiggers Whistle in Brownhills a couple of weeks earlier. Katz has a free retro arcade machine with 600 games on it so now me and Craig always pick a random football game which neither of us have played and have a bash. First time we did this I got battered 4-0 including a goal where my keeper threw the ball at a defenders head and it bounced into the net. I won tonight’s game though even though I had no idea what I was doing.

You’re twistin’ my lime man.

We finished up in Blue Ginger, where I have discovered an amazing king prawn starter but I can’t think what it’s called. Mo the owner knows what it is so if you want to try it just asked for Mikee’s king prawn starter. This was a great start to the weekend.

Good Friday was football day, and although not hung over, I wasn’t really in the mood for beer so I got to the Bescot Bar not long before kick off and just had a Pepsi. This caused some surprise and my mate Gaz wanted photographic evidence. I still wasn’t feeling the booze as the half wore on so wasn’t in a hurry to get back down to the bar, so I stayed in my seat till the 45th minute. The board went up to indicate 2 minutes additional time. I moved to the front row as we had a free kick and a corner. The ball came back up our end and I decided that was it and off into the bar I went. And then we scored. Oh well, I tried.

On 90 minutes the board went up again this time saying 6 minutes. This could have meant additional time or how long I was going to spend unsuccessfully trying to buy a packet of crisps out of the vending machine in the Bescot Bar afterwards.

At full time there was a little chant of “we are staying up” from my mates as the 1-0 victory meant we had reached the 50 point mark meaning we were safe from relegation out of The Football League. Big relief and everyone was in a good mood mood in the bar afterwards. There were a lot of great friends in there and I finally got on the beer. I also had a second go at the vending machine which was successful this and almost prompted me into a Doc Brown from Back To The Future style “it worked”.

After a visit pleasant hour it was taxi to Black Country Arms time as I was meeting Jane who was down from Blackpool for the weekend. After a quick pint and a much needed Scotch egg and sausage roll we moved on to Katz as Jane really wanted a Church End “Gravediggers” as she says it’s the best mild ever. It’s got to be 30 years since I had a mild as I don’t do dark beers but I had one here, and it was also the first outdoor drink of the year which was ace.

I’m digging the Gravediggers.

Anyway the mild was good, Jase the landlord joined us for a chat and then Jane produced two pens from her bag. A panda and a clown, both which had boxing gloves which could be activated by pushing pads. So we had a quick bout with them, of course I was the clown. Standard. This was my first ever taste of throwing punches in a pub and I quickly got into it. I declared myself the winner of the bout citing that the Chinese judge had been particularly impressed with my technique.

Jane with the punching pens.

We moved inside and Jane requested Mini Cheddars. I asked what flavour and she asked for the options. “What flavours of Mini Cheddars do you have please?” I asked of Colin. “Cheese” came back the very blunt reply. Oh right. A pack of them then please.

We ventured back to the Black Country Arms where Jane got talking to a Liverpool fan at the bar, this lad keeping his mate waiting for a drink for ages while the discussions were going on. He then announced his mate upstairs is a Walsall fan and did we want to join them? Unfortunately due to how long he had been talking, his mate only had time for a couple of mouthfuls before having to run for his train. The Liverpool fan though knew his stuff about Walsall FC and we had a really good chat, and he even bought me a pint as last orders struck. It was a great way to end an excellent couple of days.

Back In Blackpool – Just Another Funday Sunday.

I was last to the breakfast bar in the hotel again. I was ignored by the other two diners again. I polished off most of the orange juice again. But then things took a different turn. Instead of venturing to the Central Pier to lose money, I went back to bed. And it was ace.

As afternoon approached it was time to depart. As I left the hotel I wondered how long it would take for an odd incident to occur. I didn’t have to wait long. As I sat down at the tram stop, next to an elderly couple a tram heading to Fleetwood pulled up on the adjacent track. As it departed the elderly couple both waved then the lady shouted “bye. See you in Hell.” I know Galatasaray fans like waving Welcome To Hell banners but have Fleetwood Town fans started doing it too? As I pondered this I was waken from my thoughts by the always welcome sight of someone shitting themselves at being beeped by a tram whilst casually walking across the tracks.

This time I was off for drinks with Gareth and Sarah, the latter known to me as Lady Pub Challenge as it was her that spoke of the idea of said challenges. These two are an amazing couple and were travelling up from another part of Lancashire for refreshments.

Like Friday with Jane the meeting point was Cask & Tap. Sarah and Gareth were already there and there was joyous greetings. Then it was beer time. I am an absolute disciple to Green Duck Brewery in Stourbridge and they had a beer on of theirs that I’ve never seen “Session IPA”. It seemed a good place to start and it was ace.

Sarah, Gareth and me outside Cask And Tap.

We moved onto The Little Black Pug Bar. I’d wanted to tick off this place on my last visit to Blackpool in 2018 as the 7 points gleaned from the black in it’s name would have been useful on my Snooker 147 Pub Challenge, but events conspired (to quote the excellent band Ash). Despite earmarking it for an earlier visit I had no idea what the place looked like. Oh my God, it’s magnificent inside and out. Like stately home with a bar. I got a friendly greeting from the dj on the way in and upon leaving the toilet shortly afterwards there was the great sight of her and the barmaid having a good dance. More examples of the joy that Blackpool brings to people.

Just magnificent. Cheers to Sarah for use of the picture.

It was time for more North Pier action and a bar that Jane had put on our itinerary for the previous. Because I’m me, and very disorganised I hadn’t looked at the list of places Jane had complied so I marched us down to the end of the pier looking for what I assumed was a real bar. I finally checked the list and we were after a bar called Bloom. Which we were right by. Of course I mad a beeline for it without checking for traffic and I basically walked in front of the piers miniature train thing. I didn’t get beeped but I wouldn’t have moaned if I had due to enjoying someone else getting one earlier. I am a big believer in Karma. We had a quick drink here and departed. I nearly got taken out by the train again which was hurtling towards me as I paid no attention. We passed of those Carousel with Garth commenting that the horses were moving faster than any of the ones he had backed at Cheltenham.

Next up was 1887 The Brew Room. There was only one other customer as we entered and the barman exclaimed “wow, people” as we approached. The beer was good in here, as was the music. Not many pubs play The Vaccines so “If You Wanna” was very welcome. By no I had the munchies and spotted that the place did a footlong hot dog. I needed this in my life. I asked the others if they wanted food which they declined but upon arrival of mine they changed their minds. While they ate I found a Scrabble board and opted to start with some of my favourite words like Walsall FC and Lucy Verasamy. Gareth then got involved and we spent a wonderful few minutes filling the board with childish rude words. Great fun. There were a few more drinkers in by the time we left which was good to see.

A hotdog with perfect length and girth.
Toilet door in Brew Room.

Sarah wanted to visit Thirsty? and I was more than happy to go back. Odd incident in here as I managed to spill my drink all over the table and parts of Sarah. I still don’t know how I did it. I don’t spill beer as a rule, and can mosh around in The Trough to Green Day with a full pint and not spill a drop. Sorry again Sarah.

Spotted on the way to Thirsty? I may buy this on my visit, just to warn visitors to my house.
I think I’m too fat for this instruction.

They had time for one more drink before getting the train so we headed back to Cask And Tap as it was handy for the station for them and close to the trams for me.

Cask And Tap toilet. I have never flushed a urinal before.

After leaving there I opted for one last drink. I was still on holiday and it wasn’t yet 6pm. I headed back to the North Pier and surveyed. I could only hear a dj in one of them, so that got the nod. It was time for Shenanigans. This is an Irish bar with, it’s fair to say poor reviews on Pubs Galore but upon entry I got the feeling it was going to be a good visit. It was £4.60 for a Strongbow Darkfruit so I decided to nurse this pint for a while.

Happy to confirm that I didn’t go in Eden 2 Gentlemen’s Club. Despite being up for some fun and fantasy.

As soon as I sat down the dj played “Red Light Spells Danger”. What a start. I like it when a dj knows his audience. Whilst enjoying this song someone pressed the big red button marked “another odd incident” and it duly arrived. A man came up to my right shoulder and asked “is this where we are sitting?” I looked round and said “what?” “oh” he replied “I thought you were my wife because she’s got a bald head.” He then sat at the next table and lady joined him who wasn’t bald. I don’t mind people taking the pee out of my bald head but at least make it make sense please. To be fair I was just disappointed that he didn’t go full on Papa Lazarou from League Of Gentlemen and shout “you’re my wife now Dave”.

This was a great visit and the final song I heard was one I simply don’t know the name or artist of despite hearing it millions of times. It goes something like “tell me more when I go home, the boys won’t leave the girls alone”. I could Google it but it’s Saturday morning as I type ths and I’m eager to get our for breakfast. Anyway this song prompts two couples to get up and start dancing, when one couple visibly more vigorously than the other.

Towards the end of this number one of the lads squatted down and started doing a gym moves style of dance. A gent on his way to the bar at this point made a beeline for my table and paused long enough to mutter “it’s fucking odd in here.” He was staying for another pint though so fair play to him.

Naturally I had to use the loos and I was amused to see that the hand dryer had a protective wooded shield. Never seen that in a pub before.

“I may be a handdrier, but tonight Matthew I want to be a bird box”.

It was time to call it a night. I found a Chinese on the way back so rounded off the weekend devouring king prawn fried rice in my room whilst listening to Nick Abbott on LBC.

Absolutely brilliant weekend. Blackpool I love you and I will be back. Cheers to Jane, Sarah and Gareth for the company and good times.

Back In Blackpool – Saturday Piers, Beers And Fish.

I was awake early on Saturday morning. Breakfast was served at 8.30 and I walked in a minute after that. There were only two other diners, at opposite ends of the room. They both ignored me so I quite happily ignored them back. We sat there in total silence with only what appeared to be a Best Of The Carpenters cd to liven things up. They were also ignoring the jug of orange juice so I dived in and gave it some attention.

Breakfast was good, and I was soon off out to explore. I was panicking a bit about finding the railway station on Monday so I explored some directions that Jane gave me and I found it easily which really put my mind at rest.

I’d got a daysaver for the trams so I went off on a mission, catching one all the way from the North Pier to the South one. The trip was a joyous one. That long stretch of promenade doesn’t half bring back dome memories, from family holidays, through to football trips, stag do’s, an odd work visit and a meet up of posters from a football message board.

I left the tram at the South Pier and headed straight for the amusements. Again there wasn’t much to interest me, so I jumped back on the tram and headed for the Central Pier. In the amusements here I found a Deal Or No Deal fruit machine and somebody had left two jackpot symbols on the win line. Now I don’t play these anymore, and there is a rule that you should only gamble what you can afford to lose, I reckoned I could afford to lose £2.50. There was also a rule back in The Fullbrook days about not leaving two Jackpot symbols on the win line. “You can’t leave that on” was always sited by people in the vicinity. I put my money in, but the machine was in a bad mood.My £2.50 went very quickly (even at 10p a play), I didn’t get on the feature at all and barely got a nudge. Story of my life. I walked away leaving two jackpot symbols on the win line.

I went outside and spent £3 on what turned out to be a small Slush Puppy. New rule. Only spend on Slush Puppy what you can afford to lose.

It was time for a beer or two and I was meeting Jane in a new micropub called Shickers. It took me longer to find it than I spent in it so I was gasping for a pint when I eventually found it, which still required Jane shouting and waving even though I was opposite. Two people I don’t know repeatedly shouted hello at me as I walked in which startled and confused me a bit. I had a pint of Cunning Stunt which was as superb as its name.

This was epic.

The people that shouted hello had been talking to Jane whilst I was walking up and down the same street, and they advised that the Royal Oak opposite is “terrible” and like “going back to the 1980’s”. She knew that we were going in, and we did.

The Royal Oak was busy but good. I think it was around £3.50 for a pint and half. There were plaques dotted about to passed away former regulars including one for Donkey Dave, which I’ve got to be honest I had questions about.

I nipped to the loo and it was time for the first odd incident of the day. A guy followed me in, lined up to the urinal and then slapped the wall really hard. A voice from a cubicle came “is that you John?” “No it’s my granny” came the reply. There then followed a bizarre f word filled conversation which continued with John/his granny continuing to talk after the other guy had left the room.

We left although the doorway was partially blocked by a guy with a big bag asking if we wanted to buy any steak. We declined and he followed us to The Bull where he asked the same question of people there, through the gaps in the fence. Jane suspected that he may have pinched this merchandise but I try to see the good in people. Had I got my jury service hat on I could have been prepared to accept a plea that he is a vegetarian and had won the meat raffle in The Huntsman the night before.

When Jane and myself were on about the pubs to visit, I only had one on the list. The Bull. Swill and I randomly found this place in 2018 on our way back to the hotel and he asked if I fancied 1 more pint? I’m glad I did as of the 407 pubs that I visited on Pub Challenge 3, this place made the top 10. Was it going to be as good as last time? Oh yes. We hadn’t even walked in and we could hear the whole pub singing Champagne Supernova. A good sign. There was another plaque to a former regular here too, this one to someone called Wee Shite. I did get me thinking though, when I shuffle off this mortal coil, if all the pubs I frequent erect plaques there will be worldwide metal shortages again.

What a pub. Now on my mus visit every time list.

Anyway the bull was superb. But it was one drink per pub so we moved on to Last Resort. This is a pub that Jane had been advised not to go in. So we did. I had a pint of McEwans lager as I’ve not seen that since my last trip to Scotland. This was another decent pub. Felt a bit like the Blackpool version of the Tap & Tanner, which is no bad thing.

Cut my life into pieces. This is my last resort.

We now had the munchies so went off in search of food and stumbled upon Mother Hubbard’s. This fish and chip chain has recently opened a store on Pleck Road in Walsall which I have been meaning to tick off. We timed our arrival superbly as the couple of people in front were already being served and by the time we sat down the queue was back to the door, and no it wasn’t because I ordered everything on the menu. We both went for cod and chips with gravy which came in at around £10.50 each. It was absolutely divine. They do an XXXL fish and chips at a cool £18.95, but that’s for another day and budget.

You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Our next destination was Crazy Scots Bar. Someone got up to sing Kingston Town on the karaoke which called for the place to be renamed Pissed Off English People Bar. Next up was two young girls singing Let It Go from Frozen. Their dad proper got into it. I’ve never witnessed a guy in a vest and shorts clutching a pint of Carling singing Let It Go before. I had to visit the loo and for some reason the gents sign sometimes lit up in red, and it was like this as I entered. As well know Red Light Spells Danger so I entered cautiously. There was no danger. Just a couple of blokes having a piss. Pretty standard behaviour for a room of that nature.

The gents sign was much redder in real life, honest.

On the way to The Mitre we saw the Lifeboat Inn which wasn’t on our to do list but it looked lively so in we went. It was very busy. We found two stools which we were quickly evicted from but someone gestured that a table with a couple of drinks on was actually vacant so we dived on that. It was also karaoke in here but with a twist. The guy hosting was playing an electric guitar over the backing track as someone sang Highway To Hell. It was really odd but somewhat entertaining too.

We passed a new James Bond themed bar. I wasn’t fussed having only ever seen one of these films, but Jane wanted to try it. Upon entry we realised that the cheapest thing was a £9 cocktail. Appreciate it would cost them £2 but had it been priced £007 I might have gone for it for that quirky attention to detail. We said Dr No to those prices and sneaked out. The bouncer like a standard Bond villain didn’t spot us escaping.

The Mitre Inn was good which is the norm and we ended the night in Knobby’s Karaoke Bar which is right opposite. It was very busy in there but everyone was jovial and people were singing along to I Believe I Can Fly without a care in the world. I popped to the loo and gave the toilet attendant a quid, for which he tried to give me just a paper towel. Er, I don’t think so George. So he gave me a squirt of hand sanitiser too. Figuring that was all I was getting, I dealt and left.

Epic way to announce the respective toilets in the karaoke bar.

Walking back into the bar and it was now Angels by Robbie Williams being played. Not a song I’m a great fan of but absolutely everyone was singing so I joined in. It reminded me of the final episode of Early Doors.

We called it a night, Jane’s partner Lee gave me another lift back to the hotel which was very appreciated. The Carpenters cd had been turned off but I didn’t care. I was On Top Of The World, possibly even looking down on creation after another class day.

Back In Blackpool – Last Friday Night.

I’ve been needing a trip to Blackpool for a while. My last one was in 2018 and we don’t get to go there currently since Blackpool, Fleetwood Town and Morecambe have all decided that they are too good be in our league.

So a couple of months ago I sought out train tickets, hotel and drinking buddies and it was all good. Although at the time off booking I had no idea that I would be leaving my job of 22 years the day before travel.

So the big day arrived. I was buzzing. I’d walked out of work for the last time the day before with a lot of alcohol and a big smile on my face and now I was ready to party. I’d managed to get a train direct from Birmingham to Blackpool North which was a bonus. All I had to do was leave the station, find the seafront and then head to my hotel. Unfortunately I left the station in the wrong direction, spent a good 15 minutes wandering around aimlessly and then finally stumbling upon the seafront. I thought it was a 20 minute walk to the hotel. No. Wrong, and then wrong some more. Eventually I found a bench and took 10 minutes rest. God knows how I looked as one passer by stopped to ask “you okay pal?” Eventually I continued and the hotel was just 5 more minutes walk away.

Blackpool and North. Two of my favourite destinations, so when they are on the same sign….

I had time to kill so I headed to the North Pier for a wander around the amusement arcade. I know I’m a miserable sod but arcades are shit nowadays. I found an exciting looking Monopoly machine but the prize was paid in tickets. Swap 500 for a lollypop, that kind of shizz. I couldn’t see the traditional horse race machine, which I used to love playing despite always backing horse number 8 because it’s jockey wears white and it gives the biggest prize, and usually comes last. I finally found a machine that caught my eye. I put £1.30 in it and won a bottle of Lilt, which went down an absolute storm.

It was now time to meet Jane and get on the beers. First port of call was Cask And Tap, a nice bar which sold good ale and was dimly lit which I appreciated after having a sore, bright red eye (a bit like Arnie at the end of Terminator) for the past two weeks.

Next up was The Townsman which looked from the outside very much my kind of pub. We walked in and were stunned to find a game of bingo in full flow. I was not expecting this from first impressions. We got drinks and headed to the back of the room.

What a pub. Duly added to the must do when in Blackpool list.

There was a very jovial atmosphere in the place, helped massively by the group on the next table, who it’s fair to say had been on the sauce for a little while. Two women stood up and sang something when number 50 came out and they gave a big cheer when number 69 dropped a couple of balls later.

There was also a meat raffle. I am aware of these but I have never been present when the winner has been drawn. The excitement levels in the pub rose as this came up. One of the ladies on the next table shouted “come and claim yer meat” as the winner was announced. Shortly afterwards she headed over, gave me a kiss on the cheek and apologised for the drunkeness. That’s one thing you certainly don’t have to apologise to me for. All very amusing. This was the best pub of the night. Such a good time.

We headed across the road to Champy’s Sports Bar. This is wall to wall tv screens, like a Bond villain’s lair, with some boxing gloves and football shirts thrown in. I did note that it needs a Walsall FC shirt, so I’ll take them one of those next time. It was a bit odd in here too. We had a man come and ask if he could sit at our table despite their being lots of empty seats around. We also a had cracking karaoke rendition of Red Light Spells Danger from a lass but a bloke going up behind her, putting his arm around her waist then having a good gyrate mid song was different.

Churchill’s was next. Again more bingo was occurring but a bit more sedate, though this didn’t last long as the loud group from the The Townsman followed us as they had done in the sports bar too. We got chatting to one of the ladies who was an absolute delight. She should have been in Benidorm this weekend but was instead following us around Blackpool pubs. And we were glad they were.

Sign in Churchillls. Apart from the neat appearance I’m all over this.

We had a curry then went to Albert’s Ale Microbar. This is a place that you really need to know is there and thankfully Jane did. In the basement of the Albert Hotel. Decked out with a 60’s vibe this is a really cool place. I was excited by the toilet as it had a sliding door, but also one of those things that you see on office doors to show if in use, which I’ve not seen on a loo door before. I switched it to occupied with aplomb and ventured in. The toilet seat was glittery and there was a big poster of Audrey Hepburn to watch over you as you do your business.

I can see what you’re doing.

The beer was good in here and they also did a egg mayonnaise cob which makes a nice change from the usual cheese and onion or ham and tomato varieties you get round here. I was quickly pulled up on calling it a cob though. It’s a barm round those parts apparently. Oh well, I’m always happy to be part of a game of Spot the Tourist.

Next port of call was Thirsty? A really good micropub with great beer and decked out in cool band pictures. The barmaid was very friendly and sporting a Moomins t-shirt. As a lover of retro t-shirts myself I appreciated this. I think she was the barmaid of the weekend.

Yes I was.

Final place of the night was Raikes Hall. We weren’t going here but Jane saw it and remembered it was where she had her wedding reception in 1998 (I provided the best man services that day). So in we went. It was very busy. It must have been 80’s night as were treated to Level 42 and Roachford in quick succession. I made my final toilet visit of the night. I had a bit of trouble with the door but it just needed a good tug. Well we all do every now and again eh?

We finished our drinks, Jane’s partner Lee arrived and gave me a very welcome lift back to the hotel. And I sat on the bed and ate a pack of Bacon Fries. It was a splendid end to an exceptional evening.

Joysticks, Goujons, And Free Booze On Funday Sunday.

I was in a good mood last Sunday. The day before my beloved football team won and I’d been offered an epic new job, the latter of which shortly afterwards had me strutting down the road like the Bee Gees in the Staying Alive video.

On that Sunday my mate Daz and his missus Nat were running a retro gaming day at Asgard in town (up the market. Roughly where the MEB shop was back in that day. Showing my age a bit there). You can play board games and do Warhammer stuff along with enjoying food and booze. Daz has held these events at Katz previously, along with one at The Walsall Arms where I turned up late, didn’t play a game and spent most of my time applying for a job, which I didn’t get even though I smashed the interview.

He’d also held one at Asgard previously. I’d turned up (late again as I was trying to be good), but as I walked in the one member of staff was all over me demanding to know what I wanted. He also refused to serve me a drink (booze or pop) as it was after 9 o’clock. I have a rule that says if places don’t want my money one night, then they don’t want it any other night. So I left and went to Wetherspoons.

Asgard.

So when Daz switched his events to Asgard as their new home I was a bit disappointed and I said I wouldn’t attend while they were there. He was fine. He is currently boycotting a pub in Chasetown so understands these courses of action.

After he had two there I started to feel bad, and as the third one approached I had a word with myself. Stop being a nob, and go and support your mate. So I did. This time it was friendliness on the way in. £2 to enter which I was more than happy with.

I said my hello’s to Daz and Nat, then it was time for gaming. I knew what I wanted to play and I didn’t mess about. River Raid. Back in the 80’s you could borrow Atari 2600 games from Walsall Library, but you were not walking in and grabbing this game off the rack. No, this one you had to reserve and the waiting list was normally 3 months, but when that card dropped through the door and you could go and collect it you were the Billy Big Bollocks of Walsall for that fortnight.

River Raid. What a game!

After that I played Defender, a game that I spent so much of my childhood on. Maybe if I’d prioritised homework over it I may not have left school with no O Levels. Oh well, if I get reincarnated I promise to try harder at school next time. Maybe.

Sod you homework. I have aliens to shoot.

I switched to Adventure but I really couldn’t figure out what to do and had a crowd of football fans been about I’d have expected them to stand behind me singing “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

I visited the toilet and liked the wall decoration and was about to take my phone out to grab a picture when another man walked in which startled me so I washed my hands and ran off.

I was peckish and wanted food but some of the words on the menu baffled me. Korean Fried Chicken. Our twice marinated chicken with Kimchi and Gochujang Ketchup. What? I was tempted by the Fish Finger Bap – white fish goujons with lashings of garlic aioli. I could have Googled garlic aioli but couldn’t be arsed, so I just went for the goujons neat. They came with a pot of mayo which was nice.

They put up a brave fight but got demolished.

This was washed down with a kiwi and lime Old Mout Cider, and then it was time to enter the high score competition. Donkey Kong. I fancied my chances but then I lost my first life while trying to work out which button was for jump, and I threw away my last one by being a bit blase while going to remove the last rivet on level 3.

I know I’ve got to set a high score but I simply must have a picture first Darling.

I was pondering moving on but still fancied getting a picture of the toilet wall decoration. This time I was successful in getting the picture, but just as I’d put my equipment away the same man from earlier came in again. I like a coincidence but come on.

The decoration in the toilet.

On my way out I spotted the board games section. One in particular caught my eye.

I have no idea what this game entails but I am eager to find out.

Anyway I’m glad I went, the next one is at Asgard on March 27th. If you want more info on these events please visit www.retrogamingnight.co.uk

It was too early to go home and I was still beaming at the fact that I’d be putting my notice in at work the next day so I opted to head for more goodness. As I strolled up Leicester Street I could hear someone belting out my second favourite Pink song Just Like A Pill. Unsure if it was emanating from The Registry or Tap & Tanner I walked along until I could ascertain it was coming from the latter, so in there I went. Turned out it was someones birthday and it was an actual Pink tribute act doing a turn so I nursed my drink hoping for a bit of Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) action but it wasn’t forthcoming so I moved onto St Matthews Hall, the Walsall Wetherspoons.

The place was bustling as usual and the plus point was the 3 beers on from Titanic due to a meet the brewer kind of event 3 days earlier. The Raspberry Pale was excellent and such a bargain at £1.99 for a 4.7% beer although this has now increased to £2.10 in the last couple of days. I really must get those 50p off CAMRA vouchers which seem to be breeding in my Living Room and take them to the pub one day.

Decent line up that, though I have not had the Captain Smiths.

From there I “popped” to Walsall Arms to round the day off. It was very busy with a fair few happy folks in Liverpool shirts. After I’d got my beer Jaz the wonderful landlady came round with a tray of shots which she was handing out. Red or clear so I opted for red. I think it was cherry sour but it was ace. Mind you it was free so I was always going to enjoy it.

I found a seat and settled down to enjoy the work of DJ Gaz-Sonic -Palmer. He really is the most entertaining DJ around town at the moment and he was on good form as per usual. Then came the moment of the day. He played N-Trance “Set You Free”, one of my all time favourites. I didn’t care, I stood up, raised my arms and sang along loudly. It was at this point after about 8 months of being at my lowest ebb since the 90’s I realised that things are going to get better. What a moment. And then Jaz who I’d told about my new job when I walked in sent me over a celebratory pint. What a moment again. Cheers Jaz.

I stayed for another couple but eventually opted to head home. Via the toilets of course. As I entered there was a lad washing his hands blocking my ingress (a word I learned whilst interviewing Walsall FC Secretary Roy Whalley in 1989, and I’ve not used it until now). He moved to the hand drier and I gave him the customary nod as he looked round. I positioned myself at the urinal and was about to get my equipment out when there was a tap on my shoulder.

“Did you used to DJ in the Dog & Partridge?” he asked. “No” I replied. Now after working in Customer Services for 11 years I have learned that if someone asks you a question and they don’t like the answer they either shout, go silent or ask the question again. He opted for the latter so I said no for the second time. “Oh right, I thought you did”. Conversation over he wandered off and I got back to the matter in hand. I have DJ’d before, twice in The Fitters and once in The Hatherton and would love to do it again but I’m a bit miffed that there is another Phil Mitchell/Matt Lucas/Michael van Gerwen look a like hoovering up my potential spinning the wheels of steel work.

So to summarise it was an epic day. I won the Donkey Kong tournament, I put Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) on You Tube upon getting home and even found time to Google garlic aioli. According to Jamie Oliver it’s like a spicy mayonnaise and when made well is phenomenal. So on the next retro gaming day it’s all about playing Paper Boy, Unicorns & Urinals and phenomenal mayonnaise. Roll on March 27th.