So yesterday I did something I’ve not done since February 2020 and attended a football match. It was Rushall Olympic versus a very youthful Walsall team, a fixture that happens pretty much every year and as it’s a great set up at Rushall Olympic it has to be done.

First though was breakfast. During recent months my favourite cafe Jack & Ada’s has acquired an alcohol licence, and as I’ve not been in since the joyous days of Eat Out To Help Out it was time to make a long awaited return.

Having booze with your breakfast gives it a Wetherspoons in an airport feel as commented by my colleague Lindsey on Friday when I told and this mission.

I opted for Brew Dog Punk IPA and with the strength of it (5.4 %) was pleased it was only in a normal sized can. My problem with eating breakfast in public is having to fight the urge to stick a fork in a sausage and launch it like in the opening credits to Grange Hill. 10 more of those cans and I’d have probably done it.

Breakfast arrived quickly and was duly polished off whilst enjoying songs by ELO and The Who. On Friday I read an article on restaurant etiquette which suggested you should leave some of the food on the plate as a compliment and to say the meal has filled you up. I left some bacon rind as a nod to this. As much as I enjoyed a booze with the brekkie it was just for investigative journalist purposes and I won’t be making a habit of it.

Inject this into me.

Then it was 997 bus time and I headed to The Manor Arms. There are two places in the borough of Walsall that are referred to as The Manor, (1) a 18th century real ale pub in Rushall which you must visit or (2) the town’s main hospital which you should try and stay out of.

Class place this, with no bar and you are served in a kind of hatch, well you will be once again when Boris gives the nod. I had a pleasant pint of Wainwrights, then Kimbo arrived and we headed outside. The sun made a welcome appearance although it was subbed off quicker than Grealish the other night. Let’s hope he figures more tonight.

Beautiful building.

We had a relaxed time outside talking football and watching as a Labrador tried to instigate some dog on dog aggresion with a very relaxed bull dog who was just trying to chill out in the marquee.

We moved onto The Boathouse and met Jay and we sat outside alongside the canal. I don’t know what it is but I just love a pint next to a body of water. I’ve done it by an ocean, river, canal, and Walsall pot hole full of water. Just need a stream, lake and reservoir to tick off all on that front.

England flags in pub windows always makes me smile.

I went to order the next round and couldn’t quite work out which way to get past the barriers so the barmaid “come this way or we’ll think you are staff”. Now I’m needing to earn some extra cash at the mo so I replied “oooh, what’s the hourly rate?” She dodged the question like a contestant on 1 Versus 100 so I just ordered the beer and headed to the loo. Upon leaving the beers were already waiting outside. Epic service.

Then it was match time, well sort of. It was already 15 minutes in as I got to the turnstiles. I don’t do kick offs to be fair. Then inside to fetch beer as you can take it outside to watch the game and finally to the food kiosk for an excellent £4 cheeseburger and chips. So it was 3.25 before I actually set eyes on the game. Rushall ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, I think I saw one of the goals, and before then end it was back in the excellent club house to catch up with some friends.

After a couple more pints it was time to head back into Walsall and to the Black Country Arms as they had announced the day before that they had on Vanilla Milkshake IPA by new(ish) Walsall based New Invention Brewery. I text my order to the bar as instructed. After a little while I still hadn’t received my beer. Then one of the bar staff queried if I’d placed my order. Turns out I’d got a digit wrong, so someone out there got my order of a pint of number 21 and a black pudding Scotch egg. And they still haven’t delivered it. So I reordered and I’d just missed out on the IPA. I really must work on my timings.

After that I had a gentle stroll home. Decent day and I saw so many people that I’ve not seen for ages so it really was a great occasion.

Right, I’ll leave you in peace. Enjoy tonight and come on England.