Today we were off to Hull to catch up with pals. This was not without reservations, as our last-but-one visit to Hull (which we enjoyed very much at the time) had resulted in a distressing experience with Hull City Council, which I’ve already ranted about in this blog. Basically they issued me a fine for driving (I wasn’t driving) in the bus lane to the wrong address, resulting in getting bailiffs involved and me having a breakdown. So the council could fuck off but I wasn’t going to let them get in the way of good pubs and my friends, so we went anyway – but resolved to take the train.
As I was conducting my morning toilette, I brought the bottles of toiletries right up to my face so I could read them (I’m very short sighted). I identified the BODY WASH and started singing to myself (in the absence of my usual music in the shower) to the tune of Body Rock by Maria Vidal.
Wash your body to the music
Body wash on the shelf beside me
Take your body for a clean tonight
Dear reader, I couldn’t get that song out of my head all week. I shared my earworm with Lee and then he kept singing it back to me and that only perpetuated the problem. I’d actually forgotten all about it (finally!) before writing this so I suppose I’ll be singing it all week again now.
Anyway we headed out before breakfast (because that was one of the reasons we were going to Hull). Ok, full disclosure, I might have had another four of those cookies but ONLY so I didn’t have to take them home so Future Me wouldn’t be tempted by them. And then we took a stroll to Bridlington station.
The journey to Hull was direct and short (around 40 minutes). When the ticket inspector did his rounds, I searched on my phone for my e-ticket, only to find that I’d somehow accidentally requested PRINT AT MACHINE. Oh. That was odd. I buy tickets on the app all the time and it always defaults to the e-ticket option. The inspector/train manager/whatever was sympathetic (he’d never get a job at Hull City Council) and explained that Duo tickets (for two people) had to be physical tickets for some reason. This was the first time Lee and I had travelled together on a train (he usually drives but not today because Hull), hence the first time I had bought a Duo ticket, as I’m usually travelling alone if I’m on the train. I apologised and said I would print off the tickets at the other end to avoid any issues on the return journey. Simple solution, right?
There was a cluster
fuck of revenue protection officers blocking the exit to the platforms at Hull station. No worries, I thought, I’ll just explain what’s happened and ask for directions to the machine so I can print off the tickets. But that’s too easy for Hull, right?
Me: ‘I bought mobile tickets by accident. Could you direct me to the machine please so I can print them off?’
Revenue Protection Officer (RPO) 1: ‘Ah ok. Just hang on a moment. My colleague can help you out with that.’
Said colleague (RPO2) is busy helping out another customer but RPO1 tries to engage with him regardless.
Me: ‘It’s ok – if you can just show me where the machine is?’
RPO1: ‘No, he can print them off on his machine. Can you print off the tickets for this lady?’
RPO2: ‘Yes of course. Just hang on a sec…’
RPO2: ‘Right…I just need to log in…’
(RPO2 presses buttons on his machine and looks at it for ages before giving up and getting RPO3 involved to take over the transaction)
RPO3: ‘Right. Have you got your booking reference please?’
(I show him this from my phone – which I’ve been holding out for about five minutes already – and RPO3 types the reference into his machine).
Lee: ‘You’ve input the wrong letter there. That should be an X.’
RPO3: ‘Ah right…’
(RPO3 deletes the whole reference and types it all in again, instead of just correcting the second digit).
RPO3: ‘And the first six digits of the card you booked with?’
RPO3: ‘And the last four digits?’
(RPO3 types all this in, presses more buttons and looks puzzled)
RPO3: ‘Hang on. It’s saying I’m out of ticket roll.’
(RPO3 opens up his machine and looks even more puzzled)
RPO3: ‘But there’s roll in there?’
(RPO3 calls over RPO2 and RPO1 and they form a huddle as they try to resolve this problem)
Me: ‘How many revenue protection officers does it take to change a lightbulb? If you could just direct me to the machine, I can print the tickets off myself? You could come with me if you want?’
RPO3: ‘Ah no it’s working now.’
(Machine slowly spits out two-feet worth of tickets)
Dear reader, this encounter took ten minutes, when I could have easily just trotted to the machine and printed off the tickets myself. This was the most Hull thing ever (my bus lane fine could have been easily resolved with one quick phone call but that wasn’t allowed because I was ‘in the system’). We soon learned that ticket barriers were a new thing for Hull so these guys were probably new to the job and finding their feet. But I do despair at a general lack of common sense and pragmatism on a regular basis. Especially in Hull. You think they’d have had some between three of them? Maybe they just wanted to practice using their new machines but this a wasn’t great first impression for tourists arriving in the city. We did laugh about it, though as, thankfully, we weren’t on a strict timetable today and hanger hadn’t yet kicked in.
On (finally) exiting the station, I found I had no phone signal, so it was over to Lee to navigate us to the home of the best breakfast we’d ever had…
We’d loved it here when we’d visited last season, so we had no intention of missing out on this trip. It’s a fab little cafe and they were queuing out the door last time we were here (always a good sign). The menu was exciting, the food delicious and the cakes looked sensational. Would they tempt me today?
Lee ordered his breakfast, complete with (or rather minus) dietary requirements. Our waitress repeated our order back to us:
‘So that’s two breakfasts, one with ner egg, ner termaters and ner terst…’
The cakes, once again, looked incredibly tempting (Lee had his eye on the Lemon Meringue Pie), but we were stuffed after our breakfast and didn’t fancy carrying them round until we were hungry again, so sadly we left without cake and took a stroll down to the River Humber (always finding ourselves lured to bodies of water).
Now I had supposed we’d have a mooch around Hull doing touristy stuff this afternoon but Lee couldn’t face any more walking after yesterday’s accidental hike so it was he who suggested we go to the pub. Bloody hell, man – I’ve only just had me breakfast! But if you insist…
Now we’d been here to research the Football Tourist Guide last season so knew it to be both nearby and good. It also has one of those beer menus that sends me into a panic as THERE’S SO MUCH HOW I CAN I TAKE ALL THIS IN HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CHOOSE?!
Is it me or is that just chaos? And such small letters! I feel like I need a key and a good ten minutes to study it. I panicked, asked for something dark, which turned out to be the same one I’d had here last year, which was brewed on the premises: Bone Machine’s Men Beyond The Glass.
They also had these (which I actually didn’t even notice in all the panic above) and I had half of the Harrogate Best (don’t ask me why I didn’t have the Vocation – I must have still been flustered).
I’ve learned that pub games help keep Lee (a non-drinker) entertained in pubs, so we seek them out where we can. We were surprised to find some in here and this is what we played.
I blew Lee’s mind in the Sports Quiz by correctly (and immediately) answering which former Liverpool player invented the Adidas Predator boot.
(Lee pauses, stunned)
‘Where the hell did that come from?’
‘It was just in my brain.’
‘How do you even know that?’
‘I don’t know! I was really obsessively into football at that time so I must have picked it up somewhere and filed it away.’
‘You never fail to surprise me…’
Quick loo review before I go…
Right. Now for a bimble across to somewhere I didn’t really want to go but they had shuffleboard and it’s Lee’s favourite.
I wasn’t even going to mention I’d been here but something happened and I can’t not tell you!
So, as mentioned above, we were here to play shuffleboard.
I wasn’t drinking in here for a few reasons. I was about to meet new people for the first time and wanted to make a good impression and was already feeling the beer. Also the beer I would have had in here was 12%. Me not drinking meant I was able to more clearly focus on my shuffleboard tactics – and consequently I beat Lee (I think for the first time). He insisted on carrying on until he won but I called it at 2-1 to me (best of three, as usual), refusing to acknowledge his claimed result of 2-2 after the fourth game.
Anyway – onto my news (or rather ‘mews’): there was a man at the bar with a cat on his shoulders. An actual cat.
To be honest I wasn’t sure what to make of this. MewPaul (named after RuPaul by owner Mike’s ex-girlfriend) seemed happy enough on a lead and would do high fives and sit on demand like a dog. When I gave her a fuss she didn’t react as a regular cat might (i.e. rolling onto her back, taking the fuss for three seconds then tearing my hand off). But MewPaul is no regular cat, in her little outfit, on a lead, down the pub. I found it all a bit odd but apparently this all evolved naturally. Here’s MewPaul’s story in the Metro.
Still not unconvinced we’d actually died at some point yesterday – this trip continuing to throw up confusing things – we headed out to my favourite pub in Hull to catch up with some old and new friends. En route we were stopped in the street by Paul, a Lincoln fan, who recognised us from YouTube, so we had a little natter with him before continuing on our way. He’d just come from the pub we were heading to.
I first visited this pub back in 2011 on my first ever Hull crawl (pre-blog but Blackpool won here that night). It’s been my fave Hull pub ever since. I simply love a traditional micropub – and this is one of the best.
Anyway we’re all here for the beer, ultimately, so here are the pump clips.
Here I had arranged to meet Tony the landlord (good job I checked, as he wasn’t scheduled to be working at the time of my visit) as well as Christine (Twitter friend) and Sarah (who I met at Wigan Beer Festival last year). We were also joined by random extras Rob and Chris. Oh and Paul the Lincoln fan rocked back up too.
The conversations spanned from murderers to the delights of Barton-upon-Humber to a beached whale at Bridlington to air fryers (got to love pubs for random subject matter).
But – hang on – where was Skelly? The pub skeleton was missing! Tony explained that he was on holiday or having an operation or something but it sounds like he’ll be coming back, so I wasn’t too concerned (although Paddington was gutted as he wanted a selfie).
Now I had already been impressed with Christine’s organisational skills. She’d clocked a local Meet The Brewer night (more of that in a bit), contacted the pubs we’d be visiting to check opening hours and timings and had planned a route between these pubs so she could showcase Hull to us. This latter point seemed to run contrary to my intention to write about Hull’s pubs only and not otherwise encourage anyone to come here at all because the council are wankers. But she was such a good tour guide – and we had already been remembering why we’d fallen in love with Hull in the first place during our research for the Football Tourist Guide – so that plan was now well and truly blown out of the water.
We passed a very tall theatre, which confused Lee, as it was much taller in one section than the rest of the building. It bothered him so much that he had to go into the theatre to ask. Something about heating or cooling systems apparently – all very boring.
Close to our destination, someone pointed out that WM Hawkes was shut down. This made me very sad, as this had been another of my favourite Hull pubs – you can see and read about it here. I had seen that it had been taken over – and had feared that its wonderfully quirky interior may be lost – but it was a huge shock to see it permanently closed (Google confirms this). Can I blame the council for this, whether it’s their fault or not? Bunch of wankers.
We were here at the Lion & Key because (a) Tony had recommended it (albeit two years ago) and (b) it had a suitable menu for our respective dietary requirements. But first beer.
Lee was on the lemonade and was transfixed by a lemon pip in his glass that kept rising to the top then sinking to the bottom then rising to the top then sinking to the bottom.
‘Is that like a lava lamp?’
Sarah put us right, citing her favourite TV show ‘Curious and Unusual Deaths’, where a man had put a lava lamp on a stove to heat it up and it had exploded and killed him. I’m not sure exactly how this related to Lee’s lemon pip but I think the point was something about heat in lava lamps that was missing from Lee’s glass. I studied the lemon pip for a while (until my food arrived) and deduced it was bubbles carrying it up and then, when a bubble burst, the pip would sink back down again, before being carried up by another bubble. I wished Karen was here – she’d know the answer to this, as a scientist.
Anyway here’s my food.
Lee had a Hull Pattie and chips, which Sarah questioned as basically being potato with potato. You’ll note that my curry also has potatoes in it. I guess they like their potatoes in here but they soak up the beer nicely so I’m ok with that.
The toilets were upstairs and I nipped up to undertake a review.
After we’d eaten it was time to head on to the next pub but – what’s this? – we got drawn in by another pub (oops!).
It was while pausing here to observe Hull’s oldest pub – as pointed our by excellent tour guide Christine (five stars) – that I spotted something in the window that necessitated further investigation inside the pub.
My excitement was tempered pretty much as soon as I walked through the door.
Anyway back to the train. Here it is in action (Lee was straight in there with a 50p).
Interesting pub this.
The conversation turned to racism (because of the name of the pub and some of its decor). Whilst I understand it’s never going to be a comfortable subject, I wasn’t up for having a heavy discussion on any subject with people I’d just met on my hollibobs, so I encouraged quick sup ups so we could move on to the pub we’d actually been planning to visit.
On this, the last leg of our journey together, Christine pointed out something to do with Venn (of diagram fame), who was also from Hull.
We were here tonight because the pub was hosting a Meet the Brewer with Crafty Little Brewery (who I understand are based here).
I had to try the local porter, obvs, but OMG is that a New Bristol beer on tap?!
We took a table right next to the fridges, so I soon found myself over there with my nose in them.
They do food in here, too. I’d have had this.
We got an unexpected treat when Lee checked his messages and relayed the news that Ben Mansford was leaving his job as CEO of Blackpool FC. This was exactly what I’d been asking for (between the lines) on BBC Radio Lancashire the previous morning. Huzzah! This was good news because, when Lee and I spoke with him and his (already departed) director colleague Brett Gerrity seven weeks previously, neither of them could give me a reason (when I was crying in front of them and desperately seeking reassurances from them) why I should go to matches or renew my season ticket. I left that room with even less hope than I’d gone in with, feeling like customer satisfaction was far from the centre of their business model. Did they not have a plan for how things would be better next season? Perhaps they already knew they were leaving by that point? At least I can pin my hopes to that now – and to the new board having a more ambitious outlook.
The clock was completely wrong in this pub, leading us to once again begin to question the linearity of time (see Day One). But somehow we managed to leave at the right time to catch our train back to Brid.
And so, dear reader, despite resolving to focus on the pubs and not sell Hull to you at all because the council are shitbags, I fell in love with Hull all over again today. It’s simply a fabulous city full of culture.
If you do go to Hull, just be careful where you drive (or get the train like we did, but don’t forget to print off your tickets first).
We boarded the train back to Brid at 9pm…
…and arrived back in Brid at…9pm?! How had that happened? Were we time travelling again? I suspected the station clock might be wrong but, given that Brid didn’t seem to even know what year it was, I could forgive them an hour.
Tomorrow would be more of a leisurely day (we were knackered after two hectic days) – but would bring the best chippy tea in the world, followed by a devastating blow.
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Next Up: Far East Tour: Day Three – Bridlington & Cleethorpes.