Murderous Intent & Sexual Harassment in North Ferriby (well, Hull actually)




Those of you, who have gotten to know me over the years, even just a little, will have worked out by now, that at times; I can tend to take being a Stockport County Supporter very seriously.

I firmly believe, that if the opportunity presents itself to do something that could benefit the Club, then you should do your best to take the chance to do so.

Typically, this leads to working together with other like-minded Supporters & everything can get, at times, let’s just say, a little tense.

Whilst enjoyable, getting involved in such initiatives can also be very frustrating & emotionally draining.

I see this blog as the counter to everything described above. A chance to let my inner-child out for a bit of fresh air. Unfortunately, on this occasion, I neglected to properly supervise the inner-child, & it ran amuck & trashed the place.

You Have Been Warned

To the unacquainted, this article may appear to be little more than the self-indulgent gibber jabber of someone who is a little over-obsessed with flatulence, puerile observation & other crude references.

However, to those who know me better, this piece may appear to be little more than the self-indulgent gibber jabber of someone who is a little over-obsessed with flatulence, puerile observation & other crude references.

So, if that’s not your thing, please stop reading now & find something more useful to do with your time. This piece is a little bit educational, but not a lot.

If you follow County, you’re probably (hopefully) still reading, in which case read on. In any event, you already know damn well that following County is not for the faint-hearted.

This was my last away trip of the season, as I’m volunteering for Stockport Credit Union on the day County play Brackley & I’ll be in Sheffield watching the Snooker World Championships on Easter Monday, thereby missing the trip to Colwyn Bay.

I therefore intend to go out with a bang! This will be my longest, crudest ever article, even longer than a Hedgegrower match report, so get yourself a brew & settle in.

Let me again apologise in advance gentle reader, as I’ve become aware that my limited writing abilities can cause regular “I supposed you had to be there” moments as you read the item, whilst trying to work out what the hell I’m going on about.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.........

The Plan

Whilst little is known of North Ferriby, what is known is that it is a mere 12km from Hull, which has a fantastic real ale scene. I therefore booked a hotel in Hull long before the season even started at a cost of £27 per night - how good is that?

The plan was to get the train to Hull on the Friday & “do” Hull as far as possible that day / evening.

Saturday would involve walking to North Ferriby (assuming I survived the night & weather permitting) along the Trans Pennine Trail, which follows the River Humber.

The walk would be broken up by visits to pubs in Hessle & North Ferriby. There is also a local train as well, with a station at Hessle, in case I get tired.

Hessle.......honest!


After the game, I planned to walk across the magnificent Humber Bridge (it’s 2.22km long you know!) into Barton-upon-Humber (which is in Lincolnshire), to check out another couple of pubs, before getting the train back into Hull to do any pubs I didn’t manage Friday.
Humber Bridge !



Although I was booked on the 12:00 train back to Stockport on the Sunday, I was open-minded as to whether I’d stay in Hull for the afternoon as well. After all, the journey back is only a couple of hours.

Of the 12 Good Beer Guide entries for Hull, I reckoned 10 were within 10 minutes walk of my hotel, so that looked easy enough. Between them, these pubs have 91 hand pulls - thank god the season is nearly over!

However, details of the pubs I planned to visit outside of Hull were very patchy indeed - hang your heads in shame Scunthorpe & East Yorkshire branches of CAMRA!

Never mind, it would all add to the adventure. If the pubs en-route to the ground were closed, I could always just head into the bar at the ground.

The Reality

So there I was, enjoying a nice lie in, giving my cat a good tickle ahead of getting the 10am bus into Stockport.

Seafur....



“Who’s a cheeky baby then?”

“You’re a cheeky baby.”

“Awww, yes you are.”

“Yes you are.”

“Ooooo, you like that don’t you?”

“Yes you do.”

Get the idea? Very civilised (sad) wouldn’t you say?

I’ve learnt from past experience that if you’re going to be away, even for just a couple of nights, it’s best to make a real fuss of your pussy before you go.

Otherwise, you just get the old tail in the air treatment when you get back. Seafur (my pussy) was very happy with the situation & purring like an idling motorbike.



I have this theory that when you sleep really heavily, it just all builds up during the night. But, when you have a somewhat restless night, you seem to get ongoing seepage, you know, a gradual steady release during the night, thereby averting any build-up.

I must have slept very heavily, as a single (albeit lengthy) discharge results in Seafur jumping 3 feet in the air. Ears back, she hurtles down the stairs & straight out of her flap & into the back garden, all before the duvet has even landed on the floor.

The resulting shockwave also sets off several car alarms. Result! Safe to say the peace has been shattered & it was me what done it!

Seafur shows back up whilst I’m in shower. She likes to go in after I’ve finished & play with the final drops of water falling down. Cats seem to be able to find contentment in the simplest of things. How I envy them. Something useful to learn.
Editor comment: OK I admit it this is really Seafur!



I’m wearing one of my special CAMRA researching t-shirts. Today it’s my green Tarka Line Rail Ale Trail t-shirt, awarded to me (well, posted to me anyway) for successful completion of an ale trail consisting of 19 real ale pubs between Exeter & Barnstaple, including the Crediton Inn, the Devonshire Dumpling & the Rising Sun Inn at Umberleigh.

I’m also wearing my shoes, bamboo eco-socks, jeans & an old pair of BHS y-fronts (under the jeans as it’s not Sunday).



Time for coffee. The brief Waft from the flip-top bin in the kitchen, reminds me that I had salt n’ pepper shredded beef from Ray’s Chippy last night, which probably goes some way to explaining earlier events.

With the salt n’ pepper shredded beef safely dispatched, I’m off to catch the bus.










The Journey

The other passengers on the 10:54 to Norwich are blissfully unaware that they have narrowly avoided a genuinely unpleasant fate.

The train leaves from the nationally famous Platform Zero, bizarrely matching my expectations of County against the current league leaders tomorrow. My expectations of the rest of the weekend are very high indeed of course.

The book I’m reading is My Father & Other Working-Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach, which was a birthday present from a fellow County Supporter. Highly recommended.

I avert my gaze away from the excellent Sheffield Tap, one of the best real ale bars in the UK, as I change trains. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, & in any event, I have a very challenging weekend ahead of me already.

Despite the powers that be changing the destination of the train we’re all sat on, everyone eventually manages to get onto the correct train before it sets off for Hull.

We pass through North Ferriby on the way. Is that it?

Arrive at Hull 5 minutes early, & with a well sign-posted short-cut through to the road my hotel is on, I’m ordering my first pint, in GW Horners at 13:13.

But, there is no real ale! Should be at least 2 on according to www.whatpub.com (remember, you can follow my route via this website). Not even any hand pulls. I settle for a pint of Tetley’s Mild.

As this is smooth-flow, I’m now already pretty much guaranteed a hangover tomorrow morning, jeopardising my walk to North Ferriby. At least it was only £1.85 & the music is all old 70’s stuff - Tiger Feet (Mud), Sugar baby Love (Rubettes), Children of the Revolution (T.Rex), Block Buster (Sweet). Remember when music was created, rather than manufactured like it is these days?

Can’t check in until 2pm, so it’s off to the Admiral of the Humber, a huge Wetherspoons just over the road from the hotel, which is extremely busy with typical lunchtime trade. I score the Elgood Plum Porter as good.

Through the window, I can see the Ebenezer Morley, my next port of call. I realise that I’ve forgotten my CAMRA Wetherspoons vouchers, so my Plum Porter has cost me 50p more than it needed to. This is where I expect to find some of the Blue Army tomorrow, North Ferriby being largely devoid of pubs, never mind real ale.

The Ebenezer Morley


I check in. Good - efficient check in, no rubber sheets & room is cold. Bad - I’ve forgotten to bring any solid soap with me, or a comb (don’t laugh).

Look, I need a comb to keep my beard unclogged, alright?

And, I hate that liquid soap that seems to be becoming more & more common. Shouldn’t complain really, not at £27 a night.

There is also a rather odd adjoining door, which presumably leads to the room next to mine, complete with key-hole (blocked). I check it & of course it is locked, but it’s a little un-nerving nevertheless. Remember this for later.

Anyway, I set my alarm for 9am & head to the Ebenezer Morley.

Hull Here I Come

The pub is named after Ebenezer Cobb Morley, regarded as the father of the Football Association & modern football, who was born in Hull & lived in the area until he was 22. Ebenezer was the first ever Secretary of the FA & drafted the first laws of the game.
Ebenezer Cobb Morley.



Bet you weren’t expecting to get educated were you?

The ale is very good (Great Newsome’s Sleck Dust) & at £2.20 is the most expensive pint to date - Leamington this ain’t! Don’t you just love the North?

Not only do I get a nice picture for WhatPub, I also manage to establish the opening hours. Being a member of CAMRA isn’t all about boozing you know!

Very busy again, despite “lunchtime” being over. The racing is on everywhere - it’s Grand National weekend apparently. Feels like I’m somewhere in Western Ireland.

The secret to lunchtime drinking, is to keep going. Otherwise, you just nod off. Getting to a County game is the only exception, as the event in itself stimulates the senses.

There have been occasions this season where the County Faithful have been able to combine their love of drinking with their love of County - Harrogate, Histon, Oxford, for instance.

Actually, thinking about it, those were probably attempts to dull the senses, not stimulate them.

I like to check out the local paper, particularly if I’m in the area the night before the game. The Hull Daily Mail has a decent write-up of the game, which I’m having a look at whilst having a drink in the Punch Hotel (I won’t be coming back).

The article highlights the contrasting fortunes of the 2 clubs, pointing out that ten years ago, North Ferriby were in the Northern Premier League Division One, whereas County were in the Championship. I’ll hand this over to Diddy for his scrapbook.

Oddly, on the reverse of the page with the North Ferriby / County article, is the list of the Grand National runners. Surely this is a sign that I must have a bet? I scour the list for County-related names.

Rocky Creek? The Rainbow Hunter? Mountainous? Twirling Magnet? Well, I do regularly end up in the Magnet after home games....... Nah, none of these are any good, all too tenuous. I decide not to bet (good job having since seen the result).

So, it’s off to the Olde White Hart. Not great to be honest, particularly bearing in mind it’s in the Good Beer Guide. Quite a venue though. 17th Century apparently.

You’ll think I’m making this up, but I’m not. This couple come in & are very keen to find out when the next “supernatural event” will be. I know it’s rude, but I’m all ears.

He’s clearly not of this world, as despite there being 5 real ales on offer, he orders Fosters. The barman takes his contact details & promises to pass them on - to the spirit-world presumably?

Getting hungry again now, but get drawn into Walters where the ale is the best I’ve had today - Great Orme Welsh Black - excellent.

Then, I happen to chance the opportunity to eat cold meat & cheese (also cold) at the Olde House, which also does real ale. This is just what I was looking for & the ale was on good form. Didn’t note what it was, too busy eating.

Onward.

Wm Hawkes next. Burton Bridge Top Dog Stout! The promised land? The perfect beer? The first time I’ve ever scored an ale 5 out of 5. I will be back tomorrow.

I get into quite a long conversation with a guy sat at the bar, who’s entertaining the bar maids. Difficult to tell which one he favours. I give them the Hull daily Mail cryptic crossword as they’ve finished the one they were working on & I can’t seem to get it started anyway.

In the course of the conversation, I’ve pretty much covered why I’m in Hull & what I plan to do tomorrow. In hindsight, I must have bored him silly.

The Olde Black Boy is next up. Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between the amount you have to drink & the amount of coins in your pocket? As one rises, so does the other. I really need to go back to the hotel.

Murderous Intent?

I get a bar stool right on the end of the bar out of the way. Nice spot this. I spy a pie cupboard on the other end of the bar. Hunters Pie. Very, very good. It’s a large pork pie, topped with chicken (inside the crust). And, the pie lid is encrusted with grilled cheese!

There’s this bloke right, clearly invading my space, and he knows it. Who does he think he is? Stood there, in my comfort zone, in a green vest with arm holes down to his belly? Reckon he’s coveting my pie.

Hunters pie......all his !



My pie. All mine. No pie for you matey.

He’s 6-foot plus & has certainly he his fair share of pie over the years. Looks handy though.

The other weird thing is that other people keep looking over in my direction (the pub is very busy by now) as if they know me, but when they catch my eye, they look away again.

Have I grown a second head? This isn’t the only pie in the place - buy your own!

This.

Is.

Mine!

It slowly dawns on me that I’m sat in this bloke’s seat & he thinks I should move. People keep looking over expecting to see him, but there I am, sat in his seat. What’s more, I have no idea who he is, so I can’t appreciate the apparent peril I’m in. I’m guessing he sees this as a lack of respect.

Must keep my eye on the pie. Focus. Only the pie matters.

Time to go.

Just going to do the Lion & Key & then call it a night.

I’m being followed.

Suddenly, I’m sobering up.

Fast.

Ah, there’s the peril I couldn’t feel.

Don’t think it’s the bloke in the green vest following me. Not that that makes me feel any less anxious.

Thankfully, the Lion & Key is literally just across the street & I’m quickly safely inside, ordering a pint.

My pursuer has followed me in. He also orders a pint.

I take up a position as close to the door as I can.

There is a bouncer, but I doubt he’d be able to get to me before my assailant has popped a cap in my ass, leaving me prostrate on the floor in a pool of my own blood.

He’s coming over! Doesn’t look like the sort of assassin you see in films or on the telly though.

Farewell cruel world. Ah well, I’ve enjoyed it. And, the booze I’ve had will numb the pain. And, I’ll be in the papers, maybe even on the telly? And, as the witness statements are gathered, the truth will come out, that this was a County fan, mown down in his prime!

Surely the Blue Army will avenge me & burn North Ferriby to the ground!

“Alright mate. Were you in Hawkes earlier?”

I can’t speak.

He goes on. “Are you planning to walk to North Ferriby tomorrow?”

By now, this guy realises that I’m a bit freaked out & tries to clarify.

“Tried to speak to you in the Olde Black Boy, but the corner you were in was too packed & couldn’t seem to catch your eye”, he explains.

I’m starting to think that I’m actually not going to die tonight (as long as I sleep on my side of course). What a relief.

It turns out that he’d overheard my plans in Wm Hawkes & wanted to warn me that they were flawed.

I proceed to explain my plan in more detail & show my new friend my maps.

The situation is that the Hull to Hessle part of the route is basically a building site & almost impossible to navigate on foot. In addition, the A63 is to all intents & purposes a motorway, with very few crossing points for mere pedestrians.

And there’s more.

The pubs I’m planning to check out in Hessle are nowhere near where I think they are, and getting the train back from Barton-upon-Humber after the game just isn’t an option as it goes all around the houses, not over the bridge.

He helpfully updates my maps & I feel like a right Charlie.

What a top bloke! Not only had he taken the trouble to ensure that I wouldn’t end up in some building site tomorrow, not to mention get stranded in Barton-upon-Humber, he’d even followed me into 2 pubs - & after I’d apparently rejected his attempts to talk to me in the Olde Black Boy.

How is it possible to mistake an act of unbelievable kindness with murderous intent?

I thank him, finish my pint, & head back to the hotel. Didn’t even ask him his name or buy him a drink. Very poor form on my part, that.

Sexual Harassment!

I pick up a packet of hob-nob chocolate creams (for breakfast you understand) from a late-night newsagent on my way back, politely declining the offer of a bag to carry them in.

Another big mistake!

If you’re ever in Hull on a Friday night & want to attract a lot of female attention, just openly carry a packet of biscuits.

“Give us a nibble luv!” is followed by shrieks of high-pitched northern laughter from a group of young ladies out on the town.

My pace quickens - again!

Should have taken the bag. The one offered in the newsagent, I mean.

I safely find the sanctuary of the hotel. I haven’t been lost once, although I probably won’t be using this particular pair of old BHS y-fronts again.

Morning Exercises

Wake up at 3am, TV on. Switch it off. It’s so hot. Where is the heat coming from? Radiators are off, windows are open. Baffling.

The alarm goes off at 8am. I’ve forgotten to put the hour on.

Now, if you’re easily offended or of a nervous disposition, please scroll down past the following 12 paragraphs & rejoin the blog at the paragraph that starts with the words “Anyway, last night’s events.....”.

The couple next door are going at it like a pair of alley-cats. At least I assume there are only 2 of them, there could easily be more. Some of the noises are more disturbing than the rest.

Some sound like a slap, but could easily be the sound of someone putting on a rubber glove. Then there is the tickling.

Slap.

Tickle.

Tickle.

And so on.

I would say that there are roughly 2 slaps to ever 5 tickles, give or take.

Thank god that’s over. But no, now the people upstairs are at it, albeit minus the slaps. You know that phrase “I wouldn’t kick her out of bed”? Well, I reckon he just did. Judging by the noise, she’s by no means deterred & is straight back in there.

I don’t believe it! Now next door are at it again. It’s like some sort of slap & tickle challenge match.

I decide to make some noises of my own. Perhaps even some of the smell will seep through the adjoining key-hole?

Then I try something more direct.

“I can hear you” I cough, in the style of a Morecambe & Wise “Arsenal”. Again. And again. Still the slap & tickle goes on. Do these people know no shame? It is spring I suppose.

Anyway, last night’s events are coming back to me. A new plan is needed for today. No hangover - ah, that’s good.

Upon checking my notes, I decide that the best bet is to get the train to Hessle & then walk the rest of the way. This means I can check if the Hessle pubs really are that far away & also the pub under the Humber Bridge (the Country Park Inn).



In addition, I can also check how easy it is to get onto the bridge on foot.

Not again! Surely the biscuits have run out by now? How can I concentrate under these conditions? What is the matter with these people?

Into the shower. Bloody slimy gloop. Perhaps the noise of the shower will be heard next door - nope! Well, yes, but do they care? Nope.

At least the rabbits upstairs appear to have given up trying to keep up.

Not only does liquid soap smell, I reckon it also takes about 3 times as long to have a shower than it does with solid soap. Never mind, it’s my own fault. Should have brought my own.

Pre-Match

I set out back to Wetherspoons for breakfast & to meet up with the Blue Army. My beard is uncombed. Again, my fault entirely.

Not again! My door slams. This is also ignored. I’ll never be able to watch Through the Keyhole ever again.

People are queuing up to get into bingo. It’s 10am.

There are quite a few Hull City fans in Wetherspoons, but no sign of the Blue Army as yet. It’s the eternal question for me. Is it possible to eat a Wetherspoons breakfast bloomer without getting egg down your County polo-shirt?

Of course it is. Beards, is there anything they can’t do?

What an enjoyable evening last night was, murderous intent aside & albeit almost ruined by a packet of hob-nob chocolate creams. No harm done in the end.

I recall that for the most part, the young ladies of Hull were quite fleshy, & not shy about exposing said flesh. All in all, very pleasing on the eye. Must be all those biscuits.

Time for my first ale of the day, the RCH Chocolate Slug Porter - gorgeous.

Lots of women are piling in, all pulling overnight bags behind them. Geordie accents aplenty. Mental note - no biscuits tonight. Or, at least hide them in a bag.

The swan army arrives. Must be the hardcore, as they’re all speaking in Welsh.

Still no sign of the Blue Army yet, but the barman is onto me as I order my second pint, so I have a little chat with him. Thinks I’m mad, but I’m used to that.

At last, the first of the Blue Army arrive.

Blue Army( Detachment of.....)


Exeter Fletch, a regular in these articles. Fletch wants to come on some of these stop-over trips next season. Who knows where County could end up playing?

Fletch wants to know where to drink before heading to the game, so I fill him in on all the details from my ale experiences last night.

Well, not quite all. I selfishly omit Wm Hawkes, as I’m going back tonight, & don’t want to find that there is no Top Dog Stout left.

I don’t think I can recall a time following County when expectations were lower. 7/2 County today apparently, longest odds in Conference North, so it’s not just us.

I leave the Blue Army, which by this time has swelled to 5, & get the train to Hessle, the stop between Hull & North Ferriby.

Upon exiting the station, I check out the house numbers - 53,51,49... The pubs I’m looking for are at numbers 490 & 580, so it looks like my guardian angel was right.

Instead, I try to find the County Park Inn, which should be down by the shore somewhere. I’ll admit that I did get a bit lost, but nothing compared with what I’m capable of, so I’m happy enough.

The County Park Inn , seen from Humber Bridge.

That is until I find that the pub is closed for refurb following being flooded. There is a lot of activity, like furniture being moved in, but no ale.

I’m helpfully informed that they reopen on Monday. I decide not to wait & set off for North Ferriby down the Trans Pennine Trail along the banks of the Humber.

I did manage to get a picture for WhatPub & will let the local branch of CAMRA know. In the course of my wanderings, I also found the way onto the bridge, so I shouldn’t get lost later.

It takes me 45 minutes to walk to the ground & I’ll probably walk back as well, just to be certain of where I am really. Have no idea what time the train goes back to Hull anyway.

Before paying over my tenner to get in, I check with the steward that there are pies. He describes the pies as “highly renowned”.

I’m in.

I procure my pie. Lovely. A pie packed full of steak - no exaggeration. Already looking forward to my second, which I’ll get during the second half, in order to ensure that I don’t fade away this evening.

As I proceed to the bar, I pass Alan Lord who’s having a chat with some of the Blue Army, near the door where the players will eventually run out.

This is the smallest ground of the season so far. In fact, they’ve had to upgrade it in case they get promoted.

Alan calls me back.

Me. Man in a Hat! Moi? MiaH.
  
“I’ve been reading the blog & really enjoy it” reveals Alan. “Just want to shake your hand” he goes on to say.

Blimey, better warn the Hedgegrower. I advise Al that this is my last article of the season & proceed to the bar.

As ever, I’ll let Hedgegrower fill you in on the match details.

As for me, it was a pint of Boddies both before the game & at half-time. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Blue & White ( and Orange) Army at H.T


Upon attempting to procure a second pie mid-way through the second half, I’m advised that the Blue Army have eaten so many that extras have had to be put in the oven & won’t be ready for 15 minutes. I pay in advance. That pie has my name on it.

As promised, the young lady responsible for pie distribution, discretely calls me over when my pie is ready. Get the feeling I’m not the only one doubling up today.

Post-Match

During half-time I managed to establish that there is a train back to Hull at 8 minutes past 5, so decide to get that rather than walk back. There’s quite a few of the Blue Army heading back into Hull to squeeze a few more beers out of the trip before heading back to Stockport.

I get off at Hessle of course, but not before I’ve confused the train manager sufficiently to avoid having to pay to get from North Ferriby to Hessle.

An hour later & I’m in the Sloop Inn, over the river in Barton-upon-Humber.

Sloop Inn.


Unbelievably, I pass the same couple half way over the Humber Bridge as I did whilst walking between Hessle & North Ferriby earlier. This time we have a good chat. Should have got a picture, of the dog perhaps?

Anyway, they confirm that the Sloop was open, helpfully reassuring as I was in need of relief, as I’m sure you will appreciate.

Whilst it was extremely windy walking across the Humber Bridge, it was still very mild. Upon arrival on the other side, I’m now in Lincolnshire, so this is my 3rd County of the day - get it? Hull is in Yorkshire you see, Barton is in Lincolnshire...

Oh forget it!

I get a nice picture of the Sloop for WhatPub & head for Barton-upon-Humber’s only entry in the 2014 Good Beer Guide, Stables.
Stables.

Stables is really a restaurant, particularly at the weekends, but I’m made to feel very welcome & the ale (£2.80) was equally as good.

Over the road is the Wheatsheaf. A pub serving 3 real ales & also a lot of good food by the look of it. The beer is £3.30. All I’ve done is cross the road & the beer has gone up 50p!

The Wheatsheaf.

Don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a local discrepancy. If it had been the other way around, with the restaurant charging more, I might have understood it.

I would have tried another in the Wheatsheaf, but it was unbearably hot, so I left.

This did however leave time to try yet another boozer, the White Swan. Decent pint of Tetley’s cask, but too dark by now to get any pictures.

So, it’s back over the Humber Bridge in the dark. This was always the intention, & as can you imagine, a completely different experience to walking over it in daylight.
Humber Bridge at night.


Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Yes, it’s got to be done.

When I’m exactly half way across, not having seen a single soul during the 15 minutes I’ve been walking across the bridge, I stop in order to relieve myself over the side.
Half way across.....by daylight !

I think the bridge is probably designed with this in mind. Yes, it’s their fault, not mine. You can easily fit through the railings & your stream falls pleasing over the edge & down into the Humber below.

I check for CCTV. Bit late for that, but in the absence of any sirens going off or the sound of heavy boots, I reckon I’ve gotten away with it.

How did I know I was exactly half way? Well, the giant cable slowly descends out of the night sky, until eventually, it is horizontal, as you can see from one of the pictures I took on the way over. That’s when you’re half way.

Anyway, better get a move on. Must be on the 21:33 train from Hessle back to Hull & it’s now 21:06. Plenty of time - in theory. I pick up the pace.

21:13 - still on the bridge.

21:18 - still on the bridge.

21:21 - steps down to the road. I now have to retrace my steps back to Hessle Station, but it’s dark. No way Sherlock, is it really!

21:27 - this is looking bad, but hold on, there is the station at last.

21:30 - and relax.

There is someone else waiting on the platform, so all is well.

By 21:40, thanks to my short-cut from Hull station to the hotel, I’m back in my room. I’ve spotted an Indian restaurant near the hotel. It’s so close I can smell it through the window.

But, no time for that now, I’m off in search of the last of the Top Dog Stout. I decide to deposit one of the North Ferriby pies in my room, but have to take the other one back out with me.

I shouldn’t really be going back out, but there is some sort a karaoke going on downstairs, so I wouldn’t be able to hear the TV anyway.

Such is my new found confidence, i.e. I’m yet to get properly lost, I decide to leave my jacket in my room. The evening is so mild I don’t need it.

So, I strut out, just in my shirt-sleeves. No maps, no notes, no cash-card, no note-book. Just my hotel room key. That’s how hard, cool & confident I am tonight.

I find Wm Hawkes no problem at all. All of the Top Dog Stout has gone. Never mind, at least my favourite stool is available, so I decide to stay & try one of the other ales.

I don’t have my notebook with me remember, so I had to reconstruct the rest of Saturday’s events from memory the following morning.

As I arrive in Hawkes, someone immediately spots my County shirt & introduces me to the North Ferriby reserve goalkeeper, who promptly verbally abuses me.


Hull by night.

Never mind. I proceed to my favourite stool & confidently sit down. I get chatting to another bloke who’s sat across from me, who also spots my County shirt, so I proceed to tell him about what just happened.

He looks confused. I point out the gentlemen in question 3 times, just to make sure, but he assures me that the guy I’m referring too can’t be the North Ferriby reserve keeper, as he’s known this bloke for years & its news to him.

Someone has obviously been yanking my chain.

Believe it or not, the man in question comes over to apologise for swearing at me earlier & we chat at length. He is the North Ferriby reserve keeper, but his so-called mate didn’t know.

He tells me all about how Hull City are effectively bank-rolling North Ferriby - let’s be clear, perfectly legally. A very interesting conversation though.

After a couple more beers in the Lion & Key, where I actually manage to get a seat, I head off back to the hotel through a typical drunken city-centre. No-one wants a nibble tonight, or at least if they do, I’m oblivious to any such advances.

The Final Lap of the Season

4am - I wake up to find the TV is still on. Switch it off.

9am - I’m woken by my alarm.

It’s all quiet next door, so Mr & Mrs alley cat have either checked out, been thrown out, or perhaps turned over to the Cat Protection League. Perhaps I just slept through it this time? Maybe they’re all tuckered out?

I take the opportunity to check the wall that separates my room from theirs, or at least what was theirs. It’s just plasterboard, aside from the locked adjoining door.

It dawns on me that they must have heard my snoring Friday night. Do I snore? Do bears pooh in the woods?

So, they would’ve been fully aware that a) the room next to them was occupied & b) their antics would be fully audible - unless I’d died in my sleep!

Like I said earlier - no shame!

I have 3 pubs to mop up today, so the 12:00 train is out of the question. The pubs represent what looks like a nice little loop, finishing near the station.

First up is the Three John Scotts, the other Wetherspoons in Hull which is in the Good Beer Guide. The story here is that the church opposite apparently had 3 successive vicars in the 19th Century, all named John Scott.

The other 2 pubs were recommended by the Blue Army yesterday, so I’m obliged to try them of course.

On the map, the walk from the Three John Scotts to the Whalebone Inn looks like a nice stroll along the waterside. In reality, it is an amble through an industrial wasteland, littered with the relics of a bygone age. Very interesting nonetheless.

The Whalebone is a proper boozer in every sense of the word. Named after the whaling ships that were common to the Humber in years gone by. It also brews its own ale & this is the only place you can drink it.

Their ale is for their punters. I think I like that.

I’m therefore disappointed to find the Truelove Porter a little below par. However, the Neckoil (another reference to whaling) Bitter is very nice.

Reading the local CAMRA magazine (the Pub Mirror), I discover that the 2 Wetherspoons came top in the local Pub of the Year voting.

Don’t get me wrong, the ale in these 2 pubs has been fine, but surely, the likes of the Lion & Key, Wm Hawkes & the Olde Black Boy are better?

My last port of call is the Wellington Inn, which I’ll immediately add to the list above by the way, a pub that also brews its own beer.

Unlike the Whalebone, the Wellington does ship its ale out, albeit mostly locally, & it has won many an award at beer festivals.

This could take a while. The music is all Sinatra, Count Basie, Buble & the like. Nice for a Sunday. I’m amazed how quiet the place is. Now wish I’d had a bacon roll at the Three John Scotts now & resort to cashew nuts, very hungry all of a sudden.

There just might be a god after all!

On the way to the station, there is a sausage shack.

Am I dreaming?

No.

A sausage shack.

Best 3 quid I’ve spent in a long while that is.

So, I wobble onto the 15:41 train out of Hull. Change at Doncaster. The connecting train is 14 minutes late & by the time we get to Stockport, we’re half an hour late, robbing me of a pint in the Crown, as my last bus home is 20:05.

I still manage to squeeze a couple in & complete the Killer Sudoku in Saturday’s Times, which given the number of brain cells I must have killed off this weekend isn’t bad going.

So, that’s it for this season. And thoroughly enjoyable it has been as well.

Through following County, I’ve stopped over in Ramsbottom (pre-season), Harrogate, Workington, Chester (for the Vauxhall Motors game), Bradford, Telford (well, Wellington), Leamington & Hull (for the North Ferriby game).

And what’s more, on each occasion, I’ve combined my love of County, with my love of real ale & exploring, particularly on foot.

I would definitely stay over again for games against Harrogate, Telford, Leamington & North Ferriby. What a shame that it looks odds on that we’ll lose 2 of these.

Never mind, who knows what the fixture list will throw up next season.

Enjoy Colwyn bay - I dare one of you staying over to write it up & send a blog to Hedgegrower!

You know who you are. Actually, from what I’ve heard, everyone is staying over!



Man in a Hat.

Comments

  1. A mammoth article, indeed. I lived in Hull many moons ago and remember Nth Ferriby as a very affluent, pretty dull village full of large houses. Not a patch on the character of Hull, which had a brilliant old city and lots of great pubs and second hand shops, not to mention the chippies.

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