On Friday night it was our annual quiz team night out. We’re not actually a team anymore since the last pub we did them in closed in 2012 but these lads are among my longest standing friends so I’m glad we kept this tradition going.

4.30pm finally arrived and I bolted out of the office. I had 20 minutes to get the bus outside work and then a connecting one to Bloxwich. As I exited the estate I was dismayed to see a bus at the stop as it’s a couple of minutes walk away and I really needed this early one. Fortune was on my side for once as the bus remained there and as I got on I realised it was being held up by one of those people that get on and then decide to start rummaging for their fare. Result.

The bus had none of its internal lights on and Mr Fare Fumbler was the only other passenger. A bit surreal. I wondered what he was thinking. I know my imagination runs wild at time but had this been a novel, would he have been plotting to kill me amongst the gloom? We’ll never know as the driver put the lights on a few minutes later and the bloke got off at the next stop.

So I got to the bus station and cast a glance up at the departure board. No sign of the number 60. Rubbish. I ambled round to the stand anyway and all was revealed. Every so often our local public transport overlords get a bit bored and decide to fanny around with the bus numbers. Since first using it a few years ago this service has gone from 560, to 60 and is now the no 9. Logical. Anyway the 9 turned up within 2 minutes, it had its lights on and there were plenty of fellow passengers to witness any killings.

I was soon in Bloxwich and headed straight for the Windsor Fish Bar. Okay, I was going for curry in a little while but there would be booze beforehand and I don’t like drinking or eating on an empty stomach so always try to keep my food levels topped up.

I like The Windsor Fish Bar as it is the only chip shop I know that sells booze. I don’t have much of a 2022 to do list but my aim in the Summer is to sit on the bench outside with fish and chips plus Thatchers Haze to wash it down with. After a brief discussion about the price in the window and the one I was being charged not quite matching up, I departed. I walked past the sites of the now demolished Bulls Head and the public toilets. Two venues I failed to visit which is strange given my fondness for visiting both of these kind of establishment.

Bloxwich is great for a pub crawl. I love going there, and once my snack was polished off it was Spotted Cow time. I could have picked any of the great pubs but this one is close to the number 60, sorry no 9 bus stop and The Windsor plus it’s a proper pub so win win.

It was busy but I had a quick glance around and couldn’t see Swill so settled in the back section. Woza walked in and asked if me and Swill were socially distancing as we were not sitting together. I’d somehow missed him but it was very busy. Swill and Woza are two of my absolute best friends so it was good to sit and have discussions with them. One of which was about dead childhood pets. Jovial.

From there we moved on to The Carra. This pub always fascinated me as a kid because the coach to away games would always stop outside and there would be nobody there. Then after a few minutes the door to this pub would fling open and around 30 people would pile out and onto the coach.

This pub was also busy but had a roaring fire too which was very much appreciated. Soon I needed the toilet. Now on occasion I have been known to walk into the toilets singing my head off or bursting into song whilst using said facilities. My new years resolution was to stop this as sometimes it does startle my fellow urineators and you don’t need that when you are in full flow. I lasted till day 7. Oh well, better than my attempt at Whamageddon. Red Light Spells Danger came on and there was no way I was staying silent.

We caught a cab to the One Man & His Dog. Again it was busy but I reckon it would draw a bigger crowd if called One Man & His Cat. We were soon joined by Dan, Mark and Alan. It was in here that Swill mentioned that the curry house is unlicensed. I have nothing but disdain for booze free curry houses. Having a pint of Cobra is part of the experience. I don’t take my own roast potatoes to a carvery.

To be fair, I’d had no input in the choice of curry houses. I was in the pub while it was being discussed in the group chat`but I refuse to take my own beer to these places and I was sticking to this rule. “I’ll drink water in there”. I’m a bit of a nob at times and very stubborn so I did stick to the water.

Absolute top lads. I reckon I’ve known these 5 guys for a total of over 150 years.

The food in Mirchi was excellent to be fair. I had a Nargis Kebab starter (think Indian style Scotch egg with an omelette on top. Main course was Golden Chicken Curry. Billed in the menu as “Cooked with cucumber, tomato & garnished with omelette”. I requested it sans cucumber and tomato for 3 reasons. (1) I don’t like cucumber and tomato. (2) I like my curry to be just meat and sauce. I can’t cope with it being busy. (3) I clearly hadn’t finished being awkward for the night. Both courses were really good. Swill had chosen well.

I forgot to take a picture of Friday’s Nargis, so here’s one I demolished earlier.

Post curry myself, Swill, Mark and Alan went to The Bloxwich Showman the local Wetherspoons. Named in honour of local fun fair owner Pat Collins. My granddad came from France in 1921 to work for him, who made him redundant 18 months later. Cracking banter from Mr Collins and I have the notification letter framed in my Living Room.

Anyway despite it being January 7th, and thus the Christmas period officially finishing the day before Swill decide he wanted a festive beer and headed up the bar in search of one. Fair play to the barmaid she was great. Asking someone else if they had one then when Swill asked for a festive shot instead she patiently read out the list of all of them. He complimented her on knowing all the shots despite her reading them off the screen. I think we ended up with Fireballs which were suggested due to them being Cinnamony thus festive. Whatever it was it was good so we had a second to make sure. It was a great end to a cracking evening.

Hot Shots Part Deux.

It was said that we ought to do this more than once a year as three of the lads now live outside of Walsall so we don’t meet up as a group at any other time, so bring that on. Just remind me to stick a licensed curry house in the group chat yeah?