And so to Cornwall and a lengthy county-wide circuit courtesy of the indefatigable Maltmeister. By the end of a torrential Easter Sunday getting to places like the Five Pilchards in Porthallow involved driving down narrow lanes that increasingly resembled rivers.
The mural in the toilets of the Five Pilchards (above) seems faintly disturbing in a sort of Beryl Cook gone bad in the country kind of way. Particularly the man on the cow filling his pint glass.
Prettily situated next to a beach, this pub played the full on nautical card.
The Five Pilchards has lots of in-jokes around the bar.
And posters. The three pipes of Madeira wine might be worth a late bid.
We had Bays beer here and at the nearby New Inn, Manaccan where dripping long distance walkers turned the bar into a paddling pool. I rate Bays, a Devonian brewery whose beers seem consistently good. The Devon Dumpling (5.1%) and the Gold (4.3%) were both in fine form.
The appalling weather kept the tourists at home so honeypot Port Isaac was strangely quiet as Doc Martin enthusiasts shunned the Golden Lion, permitting unexpectedly smooth passage to the bar. Similarly the spectacular view enjoyed from the Old Coastguard at Mousehole was being admired by the few not the many.
On the other hand the entire population of Porthleven and hundreds of holiday makers had decided to cram into the Ship in some kind of unpublicised Guinness Book of World Records attempt to get the most people into a bar. Though this was a revisit, the antiquity of the pub, accessed by a steep flight of steps, and its coastal location made it worth the hassle.
When far from home it can pay to check where the local CAMRA branch hold their meetings. The Dock in Penzance was one such place and a fine pub it was too. It smells of old wood and seamen (that’s men of the sea). It also goes for painted figurehead chic, albeit slightly more demurely dressed than in the Five Pilchards, and with bonus parrots.
The Penzance Brewing Company Potion No 9 (4%), from the outstanding Star Inn at Crowlas was best beer of the day, while Dr John had the Middle Spingo (5%) from Helston’s famous Blue Anchor brewpub for old time’s sake.
The Dock is owned by Les Rowe. He is the brother of Cornish comedian Jethro, whose real name is Geoff Rowe (geddit?). The pub is at the forefront of a crowd funding campaign to restore the Ocean Pride, a local ship built in 1919, found in a derelict state in Rye and brought back to Cornwall. The ship is “the only Peake’s built counter stern lugger left.” As we all know, luggers are sail ships up to forty feet long that were launched in Newlyn by over a hundred people dragging them into the water. Luggers have a lug sail, which is apparently a fore-and-aft sail. What do you mean what’s that? This isn’t a blog on old ships so look it up yourself.
Ageing punks will know the word lugger featured in a Sex Pistols track with an inevitable rhyming couplet. If only the Dock had sold Bays I could have cobbled together a song reference title for this blog.
It seemed appropriate to end the day at the Lugger in Polruan, where the normally reserved but Spingo-fuelled Dr John and a Glaswegian exile at the bar treated us to a touching rendition of that traditional Cornish folk song “You cannae shove yer granny aff a bus.”