The annual accounts of pubs visited, targets met and missed and other moth, bird and sporting miscellany has finally been released by the auditors.
This year the audit was carried out by KPMG who said that, having conducted “due diligence”, they would be satisfied with my claim that I had been to every pub in the world if I paid them enough. That includes this one with a fine sign featuring the 1961 Silver Jubilee bridge in Runcorn.
It’s a satisfactory report card. Seven pubs were left unticked in the 2019 Good Beer Guide, leaving them for nibbles later. Two have subsequently been nibbled, leaving five, all offshore except one in Devon.
The 2020 Good Beer Guide opened with around 420 required, 75 of which self-identified as micropubs. Us tickers adopt a panpub approach and embrace them all.
These days my annual numbers roughly correlate with those required, with 466 visited in 2019, plus 172 non GBG pubs. It would have been 467 but the final planned one of the year let me down in Ashton-in-Makerfield, despite posting on their Facebook page it would be open.
Going back through old, completed Guides, I realised I only needed one in the 2012 edition, Sheldon’s in Margate, a sports bar selling Spitfire on cask. That became a retrospective completion, poor form according to the purists. Margate had three entries in that year’s guide, which described the town as having a “meagre real ale scene.” Nobody could say that now, even if the current Guide only lists two there.
Completing the 2020 Guide requires a further 195 pubs, eminently do-able though I will probably defer Guernsey until it hosts the 2021 Island Games.
Such is the reach of craft beer that the Viking in Maryhill advertises it nowadays.
Revisit of the year was to the Dyffryn Arms in Pontfaen. Better known as Bessie’s, it reopened after a fire. Pubman Martin even had a half, Bass from the jug of course.
Gig of the year was the inventive, quirky, description-defying Bob Hund in Stockholm in front of their adoring Swedish fans.
Moth of the Year was this gorgeous Latin, in Corsica. My local moth records showed a major decline – from 161 species to 117.
Bird of the year was this Ivory Gull, one of 157 species seen. It’s a bird of the High Arctic, found exhausted near Stranraer and restored by Hesselhead Wildlife Rescue Centre, who released it in rude health.
Escape act of the year was St Mirren’s relegation defying play off victory against Dundee United. An unusual 2-0 penalty shoot out win saved the day.
Football records are traditionally organised by season but in the calendar year I saw 126 games, 99 of which were on grounds new to me. If you think that’s a lot, there are quite a few people who regularly hit three times that number of matches.
Worcestershire cricket cocked up their championship campaign but made the T20 finals day again under the calm and decisive leadership of Moeen Ali, though at times there wasn’t much strength on the bench.
For those of you I had the pleasure of spending time with, thanks, let’s do it again. Belated best wishes for 2020 to all.