28/10/17 Lincoln City v Crawley Town. Stalemate and stale chips

I’m not a fan of cold, dark, early mornings. Even on a day off. Is anyone? This was my third double weekend of the season. I should really get a life. Once again, the information board showed my train was boarding, it wasn’t. It always amazes me that with passengers obviously waiting for the doors to unlock so they can get on, you still get idiots pressing open to try and get on. Why would we be waiting in the cold if we could board? Muppets. I wasn’t really paying attention to where they got on but a family full of daughters got on. One of those families where they’d kept trying for a baby of the opposite sex to what they’d got and had finally given up after four. Not being paternal in the slightest, I don’t see what the fuss over one of each is about. The perfect nuclear family. 2.4 children. Don’t get it. The oldest daughter had ripped jeans. They’re back in fashion again. I’m from a background and age where you had holes in your jeans because they were worn out and your parents couldn’t afford to get you some new ones. It wasn’t a fashion statement. It’s a fashion that gets trotted out every fifteen to twenty years now. As we all got off at Nottingham, I noticed one of them had left their hat on the seat, I scooped it up and handed it to the smallest one as I caught up with them. That was my good deed done for the day. I got on the two carriage stopper to Lincoln and settled back in to my paper.

Touch down Lincoln. Never having been to Lincoln before, never mind the ground, I took in my surroundings. You could definitely see it was the county town with heavy lean on tourism.

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Hugh, Pugh, Barney Mulgrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb

I headed for my first pub. Everything was uphill.

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These flags were everywhere. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t interested enough to ask anyone but I’m going to assume it’s the flag of Lincolnshire. There’s a road in Lincoln called Steep Hill, it’s exactly what it says on the street sign. It’s cobbled too. Extremely touristy. I could imagine tobogganing down there in the snow would be fun. I finally got to where I wanted to be, to be told in a snotty, dismissive way that they weren’t open till twelve. The place missed out on my custom because of it. Jinksy text me to tell me he was already in a pub off Haymarket. Not only was I jealous of the fact he was doing Hearts v Rangers but he was in a pub, albeit a pub where the beer wasn’t very good. With a quick rethink, I let gravity take me down to the Mailbox. Just my luck to choose the beer whose barrel needed changing. This wasn’t a good start. At least the lovely barmaid had the customer service sense to bring it over to me.

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How to confuse the transgendered.

There was definitely a feminist theme with this place. I would’ve complained but being a bloke, I’m too lazy. With the next place, I was back to my list. I can’t see Cask being open for long. Not because it’s rubbish. Absolutely not. It’s run by some really good people but they’re coming up against too many barriers and the stuffing is being well and truly kicked out of them. I hope they keep fighting and succeed in what they want to do but you can see that they’re struggling with it all. I moved on to The Victoria. A Bateman’s pub.

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This is how pubs used to be.

They were selling pork pies in here, so I had one. I’ve had better. It filled a gap though. I didn’t get to see the owner of the irritating laugh but he definitely loved the sound of his own voice. I felt sorry for the barmaid because at least I could escape from it. I walked passed the entrance to the castle to The Strugglers. A place very proud of the extensive range of ales on offer. It was another pub embracing Halloween season. It’s another thing I don’t get. Most don’t even know what it actually means. Just an excuse to dress up and put some decorations up. Another Americanism that’s found it’s way into our culture. Like hash browns on a traditional “English” breakfast. I’d got a long list of pubs I wanted to do so was on the move again. Tap and Spile. There was only one ale on that I could see, I asked the barman if it was the only one. “Err, I think so” was his reply, I walked straight back out. If you don’t know what beer you’ve got on, what’s the chances of it being well kept? Not much usually. That one missed out, I headed for The Jolly Brewer. Lincoln is an old city but it’s blighted by the car. The car rules here. Woe betide you, if you’ve got the temerity to try and walk anywhere. Don’t be surprised to find yourself covered with tyre tracks after a trip here.

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Great use of cinema seats.

This place was superb but such a pain to get to. It was worth the effort though. The next place, The Cardinals Hat looked great from the outside. It was characterless on the inside. Characterless and expensive. A proper tourist trap. I deposited the Birmingham Mail in here. I moved round so I could people watch through the window. (Not in a sinister, pervy way, I might add) I was joined by a Mom and three kids. She’d clocked what I was wearing and thought kindred spirit. Hubby joined us. Not so much Carling brigade as Carling family. We got talking about clothes. He was a sucker for a coat to the dismay of his missus. I admitted to my trainer fetish. I drank up and left him basking in a smile of vindication. I left uptown Lincoln and headed for the ground with another three pubs to do before the game.

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If taking your chances with the car wasn’t bad enough, you have to play second fiddle to the train too.

The amount of people on both sides that were waiting for the gates to open was ridiculous. I managed to fight my way into Ladbrokes to put my bets on. The computer system wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do, much to the exasperation of the young cashier. A fellow technophobe but of a much younger age. Oh how this made me smile. We fist bumped our hatred of computers. Bets on, I headed over the street which was being relaid with cobbles and were in another Bateman’s called The Treaty of Commerce. Not as good as the Victoria, I was sneered at when I got myself a half. Sorry mate, nothing wrong with getting a half. This was my seventh pub and I’d still got two more on my list. Not exactly close to one another either. Watch you don’t tread on your hands as your knuckles are scraping along the floor. I went to the furthest away first, The Golden Eagle. This was an absolute cracking boozer. Good atmosphere in here too. Another quick half in here and then it was a double back to Hop and Barley. I’d seen this place on the way to the Eagle, I then preceded to miss it on the way back till luckily for me, I heard a passerby pointing at it and mentioning its name. Too small but brilliant.

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Good beer, shame about the town it’s brewed in.

I got to ground to find out that I had to buy a ticket from the ticket office before I could get in. This is one of my pet hates. It’s like Argos shopping. queue twice when you should only have to queue once. You do what you have to, I suppose. Walk up, get straight in Plymouth was a breath of fresh air to me. Lincoln is a funny sort of ground. Two little stands behind both goals, a tall stand that straddles the half way line.

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And a fair sized stand that runs along the whole length of the other touchline

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The popular stand.

There was about 400 to 500 fans including a proper drummer in the far corner of this stand who never stopped singing all game. At one point, they were all bouncing as one. I was impressed. Very impressed. Proper fans. My Nephew Dave was doing St Helens Town v Cheadle Town. Deepest, darkest non league fair. He’d sent me a pic of a plaque St Helens had put up as part of their hall of fame. It was for Bert Trautman. Now as a football fan, I appreciated it. As a Blues fan, I couldn’t. You see, he played a major part in one of those “What if” moments in our history. Except for Lincoln hitting the bar, the two teams cancelled each other out. Nothing more to say really.

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Nope, nothing to do with me. Although I have been called worse.

I’d got just enough time for one more pub before the train home. The Joiners didn’t open till 2 in the afternoon so didn’t really have the time before. This was another great place. Possibly the best of the day. Really friendly. I was hungry and fancied some chips. I went in search of some. I found an odd little kiosk selling them. How disappointed was I as I tucked into them? Is there something about polystyrene that turns them into cardboard? Same as Derby. Disgusting. I managed just under half of them before giving up. The train home was uneventful. It had been another good day out. Another ground ticked off, seven left to do.

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