The last Bank Holiday Monday of the year, brought an absolute belter, weather wise. Usually, a Bank Holiday, means grotty rain, but remarkably, the sun wasn’t just out, it was out and hot, unprecedented in my thirty odd years, of working life. Caught a late running train from Aston to Sutton Coldfield, a place my Mother worked, before she got married. She always maintained, that she liked it there, though wasn’t particularly fond of the job itself. It was my first visit to Sutton Coldfield, and considering how close it is to the centre of Brum, has retained that small town feel. I called in at the Bottle Of Sack first, a Wetherspoons, but then, everywhere’s got a Wetherspoons. It didn’t have the usual clientele, but then, Sutton Coldfield, like Solihull, is a well to do, suburb of Brum. Not quite within the touching distance of say, between the Guildhall and Cafe Royal in Edinburgh, but certainly no need for public transport, the Brewhouse and Kitchen was extremely close by, a brew pub, it’s an up market place, in what is, an up market place.
“Shutters up and drink”
As part of the decor, there were window shutters everywhere round the walls and on the ceiling, must be a reason, though I couldn’t think of why. The brewing equipment was by the main door into the place, and it produces cask ale, it’s kept cold, write your name in the condensation on the side of the glass cold, but on a beautifully warm day, it was quite welcome. The Three Tuns was next, a pub still in the Thwaites portfolio, one they hadn’t relinquished to Marston’s, but with it being so close to Marston’s headquarters, I wondered if it was the furthest south that Thwaites still owed, as the Old Joint Stock, is the furthest north of any place, formerly owned by, but still run as part of Fuller’s old portfolio. I asked the licensee, who didn’t know. Not that I too surprised, as he was more interested in the place as a music venue, that just happened to provide half decent beer, like Two Towers Brewery, Thwaites isn’t anywhere near the top of my list of favourites.
“So Teen Spirit smells like a roaring fire then”
“Not just Thwairstons, proper beer in there too”
“A Tun of music”
It was worth going in there, just for some rare photos of musical acts, from down the years. I went back to the Station, the pub, not the one with the trains going through, I had been looking forward to this one, it had had a good review on the Whatpub website, got to say, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for a more extensive selection of ale from the smaller breweries, but then, I can get a bit picky at times l suppose.
“Or Devine retribution”
“My world is flat”
It’s still worth a visit, and you don’t need a ticket. I stuck my head round the door of The Gate, but the choice of Thwaites, Wainwright’s or Timothy Taylor, Landlord didn’t entice me in, had they been the only choices, in a place where I wasn’t expecting anything at all, let alone a choice, I’d have been happy, but I wasn’t, and I wasn’t, so I wandered off to find The Duke Inn, on the way to the ground at Coles Lane. The Duke is a back Street boozer that retains some of its original features, it’s also sourcing specialised people with the right skills, reclaimed materials, as well as adding features that maybe the pub didn’t have when it was first opened, but were in keeping with the time. It doesn’t feel convoluted, and it doesn’t feel over elaborate. It is, at the moment, slightly patch work, but I’ll put that down to time, it’s finding the right balance, as if, once the glue is set, and it’s been working for a while, it’ll stop squeaking with newness.
“A digital watch on a chain”
The beer was from the bigger breweries, but I think that they were testing the water with that too. I reckon that in a few years time, it’ll be a jewel in the crown, type place. It was only a short walk to the ground from there.
It might be another 3G pitch, but the ground is an old one.
“A bit older than the one I saw on Saturday”
One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of Non League grounds, they have weird little stands, where you don’t expect them.
An early attack by Grimsby, sorry, Cleethorpes led to a far post cross that would have had the Juke tucking in his serviette, and reaching for his knife and fork.1:0 to the visitors. I thought both the Sutton Coldfield fullbacks were decent, or despite the scoreline, having a good game anyway. The Blues of Sutton Coldfield, equalised, though it wasn’t a guilt edged chance, and there hadn’t been any real sustained pressure, but it sparked up a rendition of Tequila from the home musicians, I’d forgotten all about them. I found myself standing there, understanding why my Mother liked the place, the town, not the football, I don’t get my football addiction from her. One attack from Cleethorpes, led to some last ditch defending from the home side, but the score stayed all square going into halftime.
“The Tequila Stand”
A snap shot took the keeper by surprise, regrettably, it was the Blues keeper who’d been surprised, 1:2. Sutton Coldfield went chasing an equaliser, and would’ve levelled, with a looping chance that eluded the Keeper and almost dropped in, instead it resulted in a quick break away, and a heavily deflected third for Grimsby, I mean Cleethorpes. A little crestfallen, an innocuous challenge on the touchline, led to handbags being swung near the dugouts, but other than badly bruised egos, and no more need for another rendition of Tequila, 1:3, was how it finished.
I made for the station, pleasantly intrigued by the amount of supporters of the Blues from St Andrews, I’d seen, given the proximity to B6. I got the train back to Aston, it made a change from the usual bus I get.