Thursday, 21 March 2013

2013 - Day Out 02: Wollaston

Date: Saturday 09 March 2013

Normally at this time of the year, this blog post is all about my five mile of torture, sorry run around the streets (and hills) of Dudley. I didn't take part this year, but along with Mr WME, we took part in some training for a different type of run, the Enville Street run.

Before the run and before meeting Mr WME I decide to get some fuel, so head into Stourbridge first for a J D Wetherspoons traditional breakfast at "The Chequers Inn". After a devouring my fodder, I let it go down for a few minutes and then I catch Hanson's Local Bus Service 250 to Wollaston Farm where upon arrival, contact is made with Mr WME stating his location. Luckily I know the way he is heading and know the shortcut to meet him, well I thought I did, but get confused as to where the entrance to the footpath is but I eventually find it and Mr WME who is basically at the entrance to the footpath from the canal. As we meet, we walk around to the Kingsway shops and decide to make a start on the run, so to get to the starting position, we decide to conserve energy and catch National Express West Midlands service X96 to the stop in Bridle Road, but I misjudge the location of the bus stop and we alight as the bus turns into Bridgnorth Road. We have a little walk up hill to get us to the start of "The Enville Street Run", a locally known pub-goers paradise with a good number of public houses along the road between Wollaston and Stourbridge.

We get to the starting position and we are off and enter the first port of call, The Foresters Arms, a public house which is located on the border of the West Midlands and Staffordshire and this is the first time that Mr WME gets to sample the inside of the place. The time is just after 1pm and as we enter, we struggle to find a seat as there is a healthy number of customers already sampling the pleasant nature of this hostelry, and we start off with a pleasant Young's Bitter, and manage to squeeze into a seat with a sleeping dog (well a painting) keeping a weary eye over us. The Enville Street Run has got off to a good start and we leave the starting blocks, and one of my favourite Wollaston pubs and head downhill towards Stourbridge and the second port of call is The Plough and as we enter, the lounge / restaurant area is looking full, so we decide to sample the bar area at the back of the pub and we get a seat  around the pool table area to avoid the flying darts from a few customers playing. In this establishment, we sample Everard's Tiger Ale, and it was an enjoyable pint to drink too. I am still full from my late Traditional Breakfast, but Mr WME has got some empty space to fill in his stomach and samples a pork pie with Black Pudding included within the meat. For £2, it was a generous portion of pie that Mr WME soon devoured.

Cheers! From The Unicorn
Mr SBI in The Unicorn
Cheers! From The Princess
Mr WME in The Princess
 A good start to the run and we are picking up speed now as we head into Wollaston Village, we head to another popular public house owned by Batham's Brewery, The Unicorn, a public house that we have visited a couple of times before. As we enter, the bar and small back room are full but this does not put us off and we sample a pint of Batham's finest Bitter and we take a seat out in the back area, but I spot that a few people are leaving and we have a little run inside the pub to grab the now vacant table in the main bar area. A chance for a couple of photographs and this is where disaster strikes for me, my camera decides that it doesn't want to play any more, it was expected as it was playing up on my trip to London the camera was refusing to take photographs and was also seeming to overheat in the area where the flash was, luckily I have backup and have to use the camera on my phone. Mr WME likes The Unicorn and is tempted to stay for another pint of Bathams Bitter, but we do have the rest of the run to go and we move to the next one, not to far away is The Princess.

The Princess, which was renamed in 1998 from The Alexandra following the death of Princess Diana, is located in the village on the corner of Cobden Street and we sample Holden's Golden Glow. We take a seat at the back of the pub quite close to the big screen TV showing a West Bromwich Albion match which means that we don't stay here that long. We head from The Princess onto the main straight as we pass the big traffic island in Wollaston and into proper run mode as we actually start walking along Enville Street. We pass what was The Waterloo, which has now been turned into an Indian restaurant and our next port of call is Graham's Place, which was once known until a few years ago as The Cottage Spring. This pub is a haven for real ale lovers with plenty of pumps available dispensing proper beer. We decide to opt for the Angel Ale and as we take our seats it is where Mr Keith Lemon joins us for a "Bang Tidy" pint. We are now hallway through the run and as we finish off our drinks in Grahams Place, I work out who will be buying the cheapest round of the day as my local knowledge knows which pub will be the cheapest and it won't be me that purchases it.

Bang Tidy!
Having a "Bang Tidy" Pint in Graham's Place.
We make our way down the hill with Keith Lemon in tow giving a thumbs up to the passing traffic and enter one of my favourite pubs, Katie Fitzgerald's, a pub which is now host to a Irish theme and host to live music each week. Keith orders the round and Mr WME opts for a Wood's Wonderful Bitter and myself for a pint of Tribute. We take our seats and get talking to one of the regulars, Pete, with our topic for discussion of Mario Lanza beermats which I spot hanging by the bar, from the discussion, the identity was still not revealed and have been a victim of the mysterious beermat leaver from my time working behind the bar at The Bell and The Talbot in Stourbridge. Pints supped, we say our goodbyes to Pete and now over the halfway point we head along even further of Enville Street and up a slight hill to get us to the next pub.

Ooosh From Katie Fitzgerald's
The next pub on the run is The Somerset House, once becoming famous for pints sticking to the wall, but sadly the pub is now a shadow of it's former self and as we enter there are only a couple other customers in the pub. After purchasing Bank's Bitter, we head to the dart board and after three games and breaking the flight on one of the darts, I am victorious after winning 2-1 against Mr WME. We head to the penultimate pub on the run and it is literally a few steps taken to get there as The Queens Head is right next door (Once known as The Queensbury when I did a couple of shifts there back in the late 1990's), and Mr WME gets his revenge by purchasing two pints of Joule's Pale Ale which comes in at a wallet-busting £3.20, the revenge is short lived when Mr WME finds out that Wolves have lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest. We enjoy our cheap pints before heading to the final pub of the run.

The Queens is the cheapest of the day!!!
Not Celebrating The Cheapest Round!
It is time to visit another Batham's and the final pub situated along Enville Street before hitting Stourbridge Ring Road, and as we enter the finishing line (otherwise known as the bar), we make up for another lost pub at the end of the run, which would have been The Cottage Spring, by having two final pints in Batham's The Royal Exchange and we sample the brewery's own beer again by having a pint of Bitter and a pint of Mild. Keith makes an appearance in the bar again much to the amusement of other customers in the area (one who I saw the following day who asked where Keith was), and it was a cracking end to the afternoon and a good pub to end the Enville Street Run.

A good afternoon out and even though I was flagging at the end of an exhausting long run, I totally enjoyed it even though I did not get the cheapest round of the day. Now that I have done it from Wollaston towards Stourbridge with great ease, it is time to start training to do it in the opposite direction, all uphill.