Derby City Bimble picturebook: what you missed

Bimble. verb walk or travel at a leisurely pace noun a leisurely walk or journey, a simple amble but with a little more discipline


.. we ate biscuits shaped a bit like a cock and balls

... we met in the Alexandra Hotel and drank Oakham Green Devil. And then some more.

... and the Lovely Unicorn jumped over the Rainbow Pinata

... although the Rainbow Pinata seemed in need of a ladytrim

... and then we went to the Smithfield

... and ate pickled onions from bags of crisps

... before drinking pints of Chiron in the Exeter Arms. And eating £16 worth of chips. And not even having to suggest to Richard Mackney that he dress up like Obi-Wan Kenobi

... before an impromptu game of football against the Silk Mill gates

... and making it eventually to the Furnace Inn for Salty Dog crisps

... and golf with Rainbow Pinata

... which was eventually decapitated by a man with a lower handicap than mine

There was also a water pistol fight, a broken finger, beers so rare that they will never officially exist and that shot wot I struck with the outside of my right foot that took out a pint glass which landed upside down on the concrete floor without smashing.

But everyone's batteries seemed to have run out by then.

So... just an average Saturday afternoon out with some never-average people.

Want to be involved in the future destruction of children's toys and eat whatever free stuff I can blag?

Advance notice - Derby Summer Bimble will be sometime mid-August. Expect dress to be fancy and faces to be painted.

Thanks to Colin Mitchell, Richard Mackney and other bimblers for the photos



So, like, there was this bloke who had like a pint of whatever and we were like, dude, whatever! Seriously? Dude! Get an app!

Then, like, this guy who does video about beer dissed this guy who dissed this other guy by drinking beer on video that the other guy who does video about beer should have given to this other guy who does video about beer to drink but drank in on video instead of passing it to the other guy who drinks beer on video to drink it on video.

And then there was the beer that everyone wanted* that everyone went to buy except everyone bought it so you couldn't buy it even if it you wanted it but it turns out that if you really wanted it then your mate in salmon coloured trousers bought three bottles and only gave it 3.4 anyway which is OK but not really awesome though he got a T-shirt but he already sold it on eBay. And it's still on tap anyway.

Deep breath, people.

Have your harrumph.

Get back to just having a beer and chilling the fuck out.

You know how to enjoy beer, don't you?

You just part your lips and...

* not everyone actually wanted it. They'd like to try it. But then they'd also like to try a zero-G blow job


Bimble Update

The Derby City Bimble is getting so close you can almost feel its breath on the back of your neck. Which is quite creepy.

Here's a very, very rough running order. All times subject to change depending on the weather, the availability of chips and how many times people fall in the river.

Saturday 18th May - Derby City Bimble

1000 Pre-bimble breakfast at Baked on The Strand if anyone's interested

1100 Meet at the Alex Hotel for Reading Of The Rules and beer

1300-ish Arrive at Smithfield for more beer

1400-ish Arrive at Exeter Arms for beer and chips.

1530-ish Maybe find another pub close by if the weather's not peeing it down.

1700-ish End at Furnace Inn for a few special bottles, Salty Dog crisps, Freedom Of The Balloon ceremony and the Ritual Beheading of the Pinata Donkey. And more beer. Followed by taxis / police vans home.

If you're not going to be at the Alex for 1100, updates to route progress will be posted on the Facebook page and tweeted @simonhjohnson. Probably.

Update: Because Richard Mackney likes doing this sort of thing, here's a map of the route. Albeit we'll deviate slightly. And it doesn't show the lapdancing class that I've booked for the afternoon...

View Derby City Bimble in a larger map


Money for old rope

You know it. We know it. Craft rope is AWESOME! You want to know more? You want to know about its history and how it's now been twisted into something AWESOME!

Then sign up NOW for our tutored session!

Your guide* will make you suffer entertain you with a multimedia-socially-networked-crowdsourced presentation **  that features:

- the history of traditional old rope and its crafters

-  a fully interactive session on how the building blocks of old rope are brought together in the magical equation of yarn + strand +  twist = rope.

- the myths stories behind how the export of old rope to India revolutionised the market for old rope

- how old rope now inspires a whole new generation of AWESOME braided rope artisans who work with cutting-edge materials in a converted nuclear bunker to supply hand-crafted new rope to the discerning new rope aficionados (and Tesco)

The price includes three samples of locally sourced old rope for you to love and cherish. And, maybe, pass on to your grandchildren***

* Identity of guide is subject to availability and whoever's written a blog we liked that week. Red trousers available in Camden only. Ironic beard and tattoos available at all venues.

** Words and pictures from Wikipedia

*** old rope may rot to buggeration if not kept within tight quality control parameters. And we don't know what those parameters are. Sorry.

Note - any resemblance between this lame parody and certain beer tasting experiences that really ought to know better is purely intentional. But it's not the one you're thinking of. Honest.


Sheffield suburbs for a Thornbridge trio

A Saturday to explore the suburbs of Sheffield. Well, to get out to three Thornbridge-owned pubs and bars. If I can leave the railway station.

It’s only 10:30 but the bar of the Sheffield Tap is already almost full. Football fans are passing through on towards grounds away from the city as well to watch the Blades later. Yet the splendidly-restored Edwardian dining room at the back is empty.

The panorama takes in ornate tiling and sparkling chandeliers, plump leather chairs and the buffed copper of the onsite Tapped Brewery. I sit at the back in a studded, oxblood-red, wingback Chesterfield, listening to the brewery splutter softly and sip slowly on a glass of Brooklyn Sorachi Ace. It’s difficult to leave it all behind.

Abbeydale Road goes by slowly; the bus stuttering past an almost never-ending parade of sleeping takeways (Noodle Love, Magic Wok, Deli Bellyz) and retail gems (Rhythm and Booze, the body-building supplement shop called MyWhey). Eventually, there’s a sliver of green; Millhouses Park leading down to a crossroads and The Beauchief Hotel.

It's easy enough to find Jack's Bar, through a suntrap garden and into a muted green room where lazy tunes are playing to no-one. Maybe seven Thornbridge beers between cask and keg. A sharp-moustached barman appears. Am I too early? "Never too early for Jaipur", he says, as he pours me a just-cold-just-so kegged pint. I sit down and look out over the garden; red carpet waiting for a bride later. Half a dozen bar and kitchen staff help shift a piano between rooms. As I leave, someone tries to tease it into tinkling.

One wrong turn, one ceaseless hill in a hailstorm and one late bus later, the Cross Scythes. Planked floors, wooden inlaid panels behind the bar, a hint of green glazed brick, striking wallpaper that's... foxgloves? A similar range of Thornbridge beers as before plus bottled gems like Heather Honey and Bracia in the fridges. Tzara on tap is itchy with a dough undercurrent. Jaipur on cask is sweeter than her keg sister but I'd still spend all evening with both of them.

A gentle ebb and flow to the place, buggies negotiated in and out of the billiard room, newspaper readers rise infrequently to the bar and back. My friend's Alsatian does an excellent impression of a large, dead Alsatian, stretched out across the floor. I'm too busy chatting to explore; to nose into the glass-fronted function room, to wonder if there are foxgloves on the walls of the billiard room too.

Then, a proper walk; downhill. We drop through Meersbrook Park where the south of the city stretches out up front. Where a man sits with his back to a tree and his hand down his trousers because, I am reliably informed by my friend, he is playing with his ferrets. Then through another hailstorm, across arterial roads, along evergreen avenues, to the Stag's Head.

A buzzier feel to this place. It's late Sunday afternoon and the Sharrow Vale set are out for a late lunch. We bag a large table by the window; hipsters and yummys and dinkys crowd the bar. Tzara continues to scratch a thirsty itch. Baize is indeed a mint chocolate stout but it's in the mould of Aero, slightly slick, slightly sticky, almost fatty. Chipolatas with Wild Swan are OK. Black pudding fritters fried in Lord Marples batter are slices of genius.

The geographer in me likes to put in the footwork and go discover a city. Not just its obvious treasures, but its backstreets and ginnels, fringe parkland and long views, rainy lanes and relentless hills. And in Sheffield's case, now more than ever, gems of pubs and bars.


A beer for Alex Ferguson

And lo, it came to pass. Sir Alex Ferguson, despite eleventy-dozen years of success with Manchester United, finally retires. Twenty-six years, from the golden age of hip-hop to the urgent need for hip op.

I feel the need for someone to brew a commemorative beer. If anyone wants to take this on, here's a few style pointers.

- must be red
- laced with Scotch
- slight whiff of horse blanket acceptable
- very bitter
- late additions mandatory (up to seven minutes after the brew has gone off the boil)
- to be served with an overbearing sense of self-belief and arrogance (so it's proper craft too)
- not for sale in Liverpool
- late ingestion may result in squeaky bum*

Optional bottle label text: "The greatest challenge is not what's brewing at the moment, the greatest challenge is knocking craft brewers right off their fucking perch. And you can print that".

His legacy may be aged in a dry Portuguese cask to enhance the nutty characteristics. As opposed to being aged in a Watford plastic Jackett.

Any takers?

* thanks to Matt Clarke** for that suggestion. Not, not that Matt Clarke. The other one.

** make that Matt Clark. Without the E. As opposed to the Matt Clarke with an E***.

*** not a drug reference