On Thursday both Craig and myself were off work. This could only mean one thing. An early start on the beer. With the England football team playing on the night it meant that we were on international duty and thus early drinking is allowed. There is probably only so many times that I can write about Walsall Town Centre pubs but I headed to town with material hopefulness. This is something in my head, not a new single by Manic Street Preachers.

First mission was a visit to McDonald’s to line the stomach. I’ve really tried to cut down on the visits to this place but it’s McDonald’s Monopoly time now and that just sends me crazy. I’m doing really well so far. Just Park Lane and Mayfair away from winning the top prize. I’m only missing The Strand to win a hot tub. Imagine how hot that tub would be once I’m in it.

Then it was off to Rock Steady Eddie’s. I was no where near finishing my McDonald’s so Craig went in through the front door to distract the staff by ordering beers, and I snook round the back to the outdoor benches with my contraband still full Sprite Zero and 1/4 pounder. Someone on the opposite bench commented “you look like you’ve had a busy day”. Not sure why demolishing a McDonald’s gives off this impression but if a day can be spent busily doing this, then I’m all in.

We ventured inside. No sign of the jukebox enemy and someone had taken advantage of this by loading the machine with Linkin Park songs, which was good of them. The quiz machine was in a bad mood so we sat down. I ventured for my second toilet visit (I have a weak bladder so when I’m out on the piss I literally am out on the piss). I returned and I still had about a 5th of my pint left which I finished quickly but we were able to see the England Cricket Team take the last 3 Indian wickets in that time.

Next up was The Oak Inn and the controversial point of the day. The Pointless final on the quiz machine. The question was teams in the English Football League system. Craig opted for Canvey Island. “They’re not in The Football League. Don’t pick that”. Craig over ruled me and he was right. £4.00 jackpot won. Craig was happy. I wanted to chuck the machine in the nearby canal to give the shopping trolleys some company.

Then it was The Brewers Fayre where not much occurred and then it was onto The Old Bailey. One of my favourite places in town but certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. I approached the bar and the three people sat at it looked at me like I’d got two heads. Okay guys, calm down. It’s just one mossive head, not two. Beers were ordered and we sat down. It was certainly a bit more sedate than my last visit where after a long day of Walsall FC related drinking myself and Dan Gilbert were up on the seats dancing around vigorously to Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy”.

The plan was to watch the first half of the England match in The Pitch which reopened last weekend having been closed during the Euro’s but the shutters were down so we headed to Katz. We were entertained by the punditry of the guy behind us who spent the whole game making Hungary sound as good as Brazil.

We headed to Blue Gingers for some much needed goodness and after this excellent meal we called it a night.

On Friday as the clocks struck 18 I left my house and headed to Willenhall to meet former work mate and top lad Liam. First up was The County. This is probably my most visited Willenhall pub as it is my piss/pint/piss pit stop of choice when returning from Wolverhampton on the 529. Liam arrived and we moved across the road to The Crown.

Me and Liam in The Crown. I think I was in a very rare short mood.

There was a friendly face behind the bar in Laura, a fellow Walsall FC fan. We grabbed drinks and settled down. This pub was to be the musical highlight of the night with songs that I absolutely adore like Stand By Me, Build Me Up Buttercup and Twist And Shout all playing. We stayed for another and I had my first ever pint of Thatchers Haze. Until recently I had no knowledge of this particular product of the Thatchers range, but then my mate Josh mentioned it in a message and my Facebook feed has been full of adverts for it ever since. So I dived in and it was really good.

Thatchers Haze. It certainly does what it says on the tin.

With Liam working yesterday and needing to head off early we moved onto The Royal George. Bit of history as this is the first pub that I ever fell asleep in. Not through booze, a secondary school friend lived here and I stayed over a few times back in the 80’s. Nice cool pint here, sat outside in the impressive seating area with Euro 2020 bunting flags still in position flapping around merrily. And there is a Dyson Airblade in the toilet so it’s win win here.

The Malthouse which is Willenhall’s Wetherspoons was our next port of call. Another fellow Walsall fan was behind the bar in the form of Adam Ellison who I’ve not seen in a long time. He’s one of life’s top blokes so it was good to chat with him while the pleasant barmaid poured our very reasonable £4.74 for two Strongbow Dark Fruits round.

Before we knew it, it was time for my 529 back to town so one last toilet visit was due. Now I have this thing where when a song pops in my head I sing it out loud. I’d had the Scarlet classic “Independent Love Song” in my head all week and it decided to re-emerge just as I pushed through the door, I forgot where I was heading and sang out load “I’ll show you how to take me”. Yeah not the best thing to sing in an environment where men are standing there with their willies out. Nothing was said though although I did get one odd look.

We scurried across the road with a couple of minutes to spare for the 21.08 bus. After a while I checked my phone and it was now 21.15. “Well this bus isn’t coming” I declared. “Pint?” I concluded. “When’s the next bus?” asks Liam. “21.28” I reply. “Can you drink a pint in 12 minutes?” he replies. “Yes” and with no time to waste it was back into The Royal George thankfully getting served straight away. The next bus was on time and I was ready although I did feel sorry for the lad who had been sitting waiting even longer than us who hadn’t had the idea to grab a beer. I bade Liam good night and climbed aboard.

I was soon back in Walsall, well I say soon there was a bit of a diversion due to the fannying around going on at Junction 10 of the M6 but before long I was in The Tap And Tanner. Then the odd incident of the night occurred. A couple that I don’t know decided to join me at my table despite there being a good few vacant ones nearby. I said “hello” but this was ignored and they plonked themselves and their drinks down. Then another couple joined the table. So I left them to it and went to one of the vacant ones.

My drink, and the ones along with a hand and phone of the new arrivals.

From there I went to The Pitch. I was told it was having a major refurbishment whilst closed but they’ve just decorated it, sexed up the back of the bar area and got rid of the quizzer and replaced it with a fruit machine. This is no good to me. I stopped playing these things years ago when on a noughts & crosses machine I skilfully used my nudges to line up 3 noughts on the win line. I stood back and waited for my winnings to register. Some guy walking by clocked what was happening and laughingly informed me that you don’t get anything for 3 noughts. What is the point of having things on the reels if you can’t win with them? So I went all Major Misunderstanding from Viz and did a “they’ll not be getting a penny out of me” and they barely have since.

Last up it was the Walsall Arms for a quick pint and even quicker bit of dancing then it was time for home and bed as I was knackered. I can’t hack this drinking malarky like I used to.