Saturday was good. I left work at 1pm and headed straight to McDonald’s. I chose a table near the front door and from there I could hear every word of the mic-ed up preacher outside. I left around 20 minutes later with a full belly and suitably reassured that God loves me and died for my sins.

I jumped on the train and at Bloxwich I was joined by Chris and James. Chris I’ve been friends with since 1996 but I rarely drink with, and James who I know to say “alright?” to in Rock Steady Eddies.

We arrived in Rugeley, which had been the destination for my superb birthday bash in 2015 and made our way towards town but as the railway bridge loomed Chris ventured to the right. “Town is this way fella” I said. But he wasn’t going the wrong way. He was taking me into un-chartered territory and to a pub I knew nothing about. Not many people can say that they have taken me to a pub I’ve not been to before but Chris joins this short list by taking me to The Mossley Tavern.

Pub 1. The Mossley Tavern.

There was no ale available but the new Heineken Silver was on and I’ve not tried that so jumped on that. We settled at a table and the first pub discussion of the day was about Radio 2. A subject not normally on the agenda for debating over a pint but Chris was disappointed with the previous days news about Steve Wright being replaced by Scott Mills. On the other hand Scott is one of my favourite dj’s but he’ll still be on air when I’m at work so it’s academic to me. Chris was also sad at losing his title as “the last person to represent Walsall on Popmaster” this crown having slipped a couple of days earlier when my friend Sarah Sutherland went on and absolutely smashed it. Well done Sarah.

Our next stop was The Crown. This place was decked out with wall to wall Union Jacks and bunting. It’s so good to see that pubs are getting ready for the Queen’s 80th (Oak) Jubilee. Great stuff. Usher was playing as we walked in and when that finished was replaced by AC/DC, a leap that I wasn’t expecting. Soon The White Stripes came on and you don’t hear them in pubs often. Had I not been working I had been planning to wear my Jack White outfit of white t-shirt and red jeans. That would have been spooky with them playing.

The Crown, Jubilee ready.

In the week I’d sent Chris my wish list of 3 pubs to visit and our next port of call was The Vine which was on the list. This is a nice looking building and they have their own micro brewery on site. Chris whispered “Carling please”. I looked over quizzically. He fessed up that he was embarrassed to order this in a pub that brewed its own ale.

Vine ale, certainly not Carling.

The Vine is a great pub, a Rugeley must visit but on my last trip to the town I simply couldn’t find this pub despite having already visited it. I will never ask for directions so I prefer to look at sign posts and glance around a lot in the hope that a passer by will offer help but on that day nobody did so I didn’t make it. It was good to go there again. Word of warning though. If you go there on a hot date, take your own jonnies as the condom machine gives no prices or clues as to what your options are. Totally blank machine as if a victim of a bizarre government ban of sexual sheath advertising.

Double reassurance that it’s the gents. A sign for me, and a higher one for normal sized people.

Round the corner is Olly’s Bar and Chris was absolutely fuming that they didn’t sell crisps. “What pub doesn’t sell crisps?” he asked numerous times whilst in there. Maybe he could take this up with Scott Mills on Radio 2 soon.

En route to the next venue we spotted an array of wine bottles in a window and found it was Whitworth & Masons Lounge Bar. It’s so nice when you are on a planned route and you stumble upon a place that you had no knowledge of. This has happened twice before with Real Ale Corner in Chesterfield and Jinkys in Oakham. Places spotted whilst walking past. After a brief committee meeting we voted unanimously to give this place a visit. I’m so glad we did.

What a place.

Firstly the barmaid was lovely. They did real ale, Madri (2 pulls for this), crisps (Chris was delighted) and loads of gin varities. The place was very quirky in it’s decor and the staff were friendly a welcoming. All too soon though it was time to review the toilet. Right, at this point I’m going to stop typing and grab a mug of tea. This could take a couple of paragraphs.

Remember The Crystal Maze yeah? If the Industrial Zone had toilets these would be them. There are 4 cubicles. The first 2 for ladies and the second set for blokes. Cubicle 1 has an empty door. The others have garden implements attached. Why is number 1 empty though? I’m sure the budget could have stretched to a hoe. Hmm perhaps not. Not a good word to associate with the lovely ladies.

I still have absolutely no idea why. I was hoping Chris would ask.

I chose number three. The thing you grab to yank the chain (it must have a name, if the dot above the letter i has a name then this must) had the word pull on it. I’m crap with any kind of technology so am always grateful for instruction to use things. I’m crap at pulling but manged this with aplomb.

Whilst washing my hands a lady departed cubicle one. We exchanged brief hellos but this really caught me off guard. It felt a bit awkward so I didn’t hang around and dashed back to the bar to finish my Madri. This was a superb bar and I’m glad we found it.

The Red Lion was also on my to do list and as usual was on good form. The locals were lively, to the point that the lovely barmaid Jodie felt the need to apologise to us for the language. Whenever I go to another place I always look for which pub would be my local if I lived there and this place certainly gets the Rugeley tick.

Pub Of The Day.
Chris, James and me in Red Lion. Some big heads in that shot.

We moved onto The Albion where Chris seated by the pool table so we had 15 minutes of the players shoving those sticks in our faces which wasn’t fun so we went to Bojollys. Chris really struggled to use the jukebox in here and by the time he managed to select a song he realised that we would be long gone before it came on. He was already unhappy with the choices of other people so he also selected a song by Outhere Brothers just to piss everybody off. A level of pettiness that I can only hope to aspire to.

Last pub was The Plaza, the town’s Wetherspoons. For some reason all the urinals were out of use and covered in plastic sheeting meaning all users had to queue for two cubicles. A couple of blokes took matters into their own hands quite literally and ripped the sheeting open to dodge the queues.

Noooooo. I’m about to piss myself and there is a queue to poo.
Nice view out the back of The Plaza.

It was time to catch the train but what a superb day it was. My general rule is that when I have been somewhere and blogged about it, I then have to leave it about 6 months before I go again. However I want to go back to Rugeley soon so I might join the 1922 Committee and get them to change the rule. I might even take one of my very underused garden tools for that first cubicle door.