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The famous Hotwells Twenty. Twenty-one years on!
Twenty pubs. Twenty drinks. Easy.
Date - Saturdey, 26 June 2010. Weather - Spot on! Hare - Lunchbox.
The Route -
Personnel (part or in full) - Lunchbox, Gazza, Public Enemy (PE), Scoop, Trolly Dolly, Wolfie, HBK, Waynetta Slob, Clem, Massive, Coach Bob, Sweatmonster
Well, we kicked off at The Ostrich(1). The tone was set: halves of beer for the boys, ciders for Public Eneny, Vodka and Slimline tonics for Scoop. The shadow had just reached the yardarm so we were off! First drink of the day. Monk and Brains SA for the boys Scrumpy Jack for PE. Rather expensive.The plan (which we stuck to exactly, within +/- 2mins!) was to move on every 30 mins. Pub + walk = 30mins.
Via The Golden Guinea (2), (Potholer & The Physics for the boys and Addlestones Cider for PE) we arrived at the cheapest pub of the day,
Wetherspoon's V-Shed(3) where Wolfie proudly announced that he was going to be the first to take a piss. In actual fact I beat him to it, due to the fact that I found a less-sticky-carpet route to the bog than him. Ruddles Best was 70p/half. This is where HBK caught up with the group. Having missed the first two pubs/halves, he quickly made up for them (by taking pints) and even went one half ahead, for good measure! Show-off!It was great that Wolfie made it. He being one of the Hotwells Twenty founders all those years ago. Today was the 21st anniversary of the very first Hotwells Twenty!
At The Three Tuns(4) the beer was Arbor Ales 'Mitterfruh'. Unusual name: boring taste. Move!
Sweatmonster was flying out to Borneo the next day. This was his prelube.On On then to my favourite pub - The Bag 'O Nails(5) where I partook of a lovely Pinnacle (Naylor's). PE took Thatchers Gold.
The Hope and Anchor(6) saw lunch. Most, like me, elected for booze-soaking-stodge (burger and chips). Not though Le Gourmet HBK! “Tell me Landlord – What fishy morsels maketh up your bouillabaisse?” [Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille].
With squid tentacles still dangling from HBK's replenished lips, we moved on up to enjoy a nice Spa (Bath Ales) in The Eldon House(7). This was the last pub we visited before beginning the long sunny descent into 'Hotwells Proper'! This was also the only pub where Gazza forgot to photograph us outside. [Not the only one - I'm already missing The Bag O' Nails! - Ed.]
In the delightful patio behind The Lion(8) we discussed the formula for blood alcohol levels on such a venture. Decided it was something to do with BMI x ABV/ Kg body weight x GI (Glycemic index). HBK informed the group that by around pub 14 we should all have reached the steady state known as 'beerquelibrium'. He seemed to know what he was talking about. The Golden Hare was good!
The sun was getting very hot by now. Gazza was getting red.
Disaster! The Adam and Eve was closed! Stunned, but moving slowly on, we found some comfy sofas in
The Rose of Denmark(9) and spent some time working out how to get out of this mess over some fine Bass-from-the-wood (PE was now on the Thatcher's Trad). The solution was to reshuffle the middle bit of the 'Twenty and substitute in The Spring Garden (which was previously closed when I reccied it).
All agreed, we supped up and moved on round to The Bear at Hotwells(10). (I had planned to leave this dive out, but Fur-Lined begged me to put it in as it was his local. He didn't even turn up!). We then sat in the garden discussing what the hell the word 'up' really meant in the English Language.
['Up' is opposite to 'down'. Simples! But don't we 'open-up' a shop? And 'close-up' later! We 'heat-up' our food, then wash 'up' then (maybe) throw 'up'. If we're too fast we slow up. So why do we also speed 'up'??? What the fucks up? We decided that someone had cocked up our language so we drank up, paid up, then upped and left!]
The Merchants Arms(11) was excellent. Chatted with the locals over some Summer Hare and Bounders. “You'll never do 9 more pubs!” they chided as we left.
In the Nova Scotia(12) we recruited a couple of new hashers (“It's just what we've been looking for all our lives!”) and even met someone (Christina?) who knew Wet Wipe, as Wet Wipe!
The Hotwells Twenty was now getting seriously into its stride!
Gazza was switching effortlessly between beer and Gin. Until his stomach gave out.
Crossing back over the bridge we arrived in the Pump House(13) where I was harangued about something by a toothless old fogey at the bar who appeared to have had one too many. Sidestepping him we took our Doombar (and whatever fermented apple juice PE was deglazing her insides with now) over to a table just as Waynetta Slob turned up with a Tupperware filled with custard tarts! “Food guys!” she quipped.
Welcoming WS and turning down her sloppy tarts we left the pub and scrabbled off towards The Spring Garden(14). But en route she wore us down and we paused, beside the water, to gobble up as much of her tarts as we could. We had to later admit that the carb-hit helped us to the end. Thanks Waynetta!
The rank boredom of getting through some Courage Best at the 'Spring' was worsened by Trolly Dolly's karaoke on a loud PA system. The locals (both of them) actually seemed to appreciate the toneless Irish dirge he was delivering.
The Mardyke(15) was next. Prosaic at best. Not too many bikers today though.
The Grain Barge(16) followed shortly. On deck the evening sun was gently washing over us as we supped some Cold Spice Ginger and some No.7. PE was still grimly putting away scrumpy and Scoop was still trying to keep up her V&Ts. But hey! Two of Scoop's Vodka-Tonics were only Tonics!! She confided. Alco-Slippage!
Trolly found some warm rosé wine that had been left on the table and proceeded to lick it off his finger.
Coach Bob arrived. Like Sweaty, he was flying out to Interhash the next day. Bloody pre-lubers!
The Myrtle Tree(17) only sells Bass, so it should be good. Wrong! It was sour and the guy serving it (tattooed, toothless brute) wasn't the sort you'd complain to. Tossing the bulk of my half into the road in disgust I wandered back inside to top up on Guinness. The others dutifully completed the vinegarised offering.
At this point we lost three drinkers – PE, Gazza [Hence no more photos - Ed.] & Trolley. They just wandered off. Never to be seen again.
Latecommers, Massive and Clem, were now drinking pints as quickly as possible, buoyed up by the news that they could get a lift home with my wife.
On On to The Shakespear(18) where Tom Woods and Bumber County ales were the tipple of the moment. Chatted amicably to some out-of-townies who were lauding our drinking feat. Feel like I'm sobering up! Maybe HBK was right with his theory.
At The Hole In The Wall(19), I informed the now Trolly-less Scoop that I'd just bought her a double (she was on singles) and that if she only had one more double in the next pub she'd have made up for the two naked tonics she'd had earlier! Feeling “not too bad”, she said she was well up for it.
Sat outside the 'Hole' I spoke to HBK who was in his beer-induced and somewhat dour philosophical mood. “Why Lunchbox, why with billions and billions of planets in this Universe, did I got to get stuck on this one?”. “Drink up lad”, I said, “only two pubs to go”. “But I'm hungry man!” he wailed. “I want more food!”
At last! The Naval Volunteer(20)! The final pub! Feeling 'not too bad' and somewhat elated by our achievement, those of us left dispensed with halves and ordered pints! My 'Landlord' was probably the best pint of the day. There was a real karaoke going on. Now where was Trolly now that he had a real stage??
Completed! The survivors were elated! “Anyone fancy a beer to celebrate?” said Coach Bob. “You bet!” came the reply. So the chums went off for a pint at another pub (21 – forget its name!). A lovely pint of Gem.
My wife, Jenny, arrived to take me home. Massive and Clem climbed into the back along with Scoop (“I'm alright to walk home” she insisted!).
Jenny was pleased when Massive and Clem discovered two vuluzellas on the parcel shelf. Not!!
What a nice day!
We'll be back next year. Join us!
Words and map by Lunchbox, pictures by Gazza.