Andrew took note of the taxi fare yesterday. £5.70. Exactly the same as three singles on the bus.
"We'd be crazy to take the bus into town, Dad." He has a point.
11:30 the dispatcher says is the earliest he can do me a taxi. That gives me 25 minutes to work out how to lock the front door. Pesky modern locks. After 24 minutes, I go over the road to my brother's office and tell him the key doesn't work.
"You have to lift the handle up." He says, as if to a small child.
By the time I get back over the road my small child - Lexie - has worked the mechanism out.
Unsure of where best to jump out, I randomly pick Middle Gate as our destination. Not sure why. It's a crap choice, being the other side of town and complicated to get to. Why didn't I say Balderton Gate? It comes to a bit more than £5.70. Oh well. At least we didn't have to ride in circles around Balderton on the insanely circuitous bus route.
I'm not really sure where we're heading. We walk down Kirk Gate towards the Market Place. The kids stop before we get that far, drawn towards to door of the Sir John Ardene, Newark's Wetherspoons. Resistance is useless. And it is nearly twelve. I only had a couple of Henry's beers this morning. Time for another.
I'm pleased to see the John Kimmich beer on the bar, Enraptured. I wonder if anyone in the pub knows who he is? Does anyone in Newark? Well, other than me. I'm pleased because I rather like it. I had to smile when, in a Wetherspoons in Birmingham, the barmaid serving me spilt some on her hand. "Weird. It smells like mangoes," she complained to a colleague. It's in pretty good nick. Someone else must be drinking it. Whether they're worthy of it or not.
Henry suddenly pops up at the bar as I'm ordering the kids' burgers and my steaks. I contemplated ringing him this morning asking if he wanted to come out, but assumed he wouldn't. Knowing Henry, had I called he wouldn't have been interested. Knowing the boys, Wetherspoons had been no huge guess. I knock back my double Bells and wander back to our table with him*.
Enraptured isn't one of the drink option in my steak deal so I've got a can of Sixpoint Bengali Tiger. It's OK, I suppose. The hops are a bit subdued. I think I just about deserve to drink it.
"The picture of a bloke with his finger up someone's arse is gone, Dad."
"It was a slightly odd thing to have in the family room, Andrew."
"Oh, they've just moved it over there."
"I suppose it isn't technically in the family area."
"Just visible from much of it."
After we've eaten, Henry persuades me to move on to the Prince Rupert. Woolpack, as was. I'm slightly equivocal about it's refurbishment. The exterior is a definite improvement. I suppose it could have turned out worse inside. At least there's still a multi-room feel. There's some good brewery memorabilia, including stuff from Warwick's and Holes, the last large local breweries.
Lexie disappears to look for games and Bluerays in WH Smiths. That keeps him busy for a while. Andrew finally gives up on the cola and has a pint. Three pints. One for each day underage he is. Stupid thing is, he could have drunk legally with his meal in Wetherspoons.
We have a couple more beers after Henry buggers off then stumble off for a taxi home. Sometimes life is just too exciting.
That's enough holiday tales. Except to say that there's been a big improvement at East Midlands airport. They now have cask beer air side.
* Newark Wetherspoons has thankfully never enforced the only a certain number of drinks per parent with kids rule. I'd have broken it every single visit before our food even turned up.
Sir John Ardene
1-3 Church Street,
Tel: 01636 671334
The Prince Rupert,
46 Stodman Street,
Newark, NG24 1Aw,
Tel: 01636 918121