Hi, it’s been a year since I last posted (I know, shit blogger or what!) and I wasn’t planning on blogging about this either, that is why there are no pictures. I’ve decided to ruminate over what happened to me last week more as a cautionary letter to myself than anything else.

Please be aware, I didn’t think I’d be blogging so all images are an artists impression, although I don’t think you can tell.

It was a Saturday and I was stuck in London. I had to get the train back to work but, advanced fares being what they are, I could only get one train at a semi-reasonable price, which meant I was stuck in the capital until 4pm. I had woke up, showered and checked out by half 10 and got myself a breakfast at the Polo bar outside Liverpool Street station (a bit pricey but highly recommended – and they’re open 24 hours!). A quick tube across town and I was outside Paddington with three hours to spare. What shall I do…

The previous night I had been out with a friend at The o2. I’m sure you will know that the drink availability is not only eye-wateringly expensive but also dire in its variety. Infact the bars that were near my seat at the gig had two offerings on tap either Budweiser or Bud Light. At nearly £6 a pint is it any wonder that the pub next door is always full of people trying to time it until the last possible second before running into the gig!

So, a pint of something actually nice was required. You will by now know that I prefer real ales and I’m always on the search for a new really god pub to add to my mental list of places worth drinking in. I therefore went to my phone, opened the cask marque app and took a punt one of the pubs around Paddington.

The Pride of Paddington was my first port of call and all I have to say was, it was lovely. Real ale on tap, friendly bar staff, quiet enough to read my magazine, clean toilets, wood panelling on the walls and soft furnishings to sit on. It was all reasonably priced too! I ordered a pint of Tribute, scanned their cask marque certificate and sat down to read my magazine. Before I knew it my glass was empty and I decided to try another pub down the road.

Just down the road and back towards the station is The Dicken’s. It’s a Greene King pub (which usually means the beer is at least well kept if nothing else). I walked through the door and was met with the screeching cacophony several TV screens all blaring out the football. This was a bit of a shock to the system after the calm, quiet and relaxing embrace of the Pride of Paddington. Nevertheless I joined the substantial queue at the bar and ordered a pint of something dark, Winter Star by Twickenham Ales. By the time I sat down I was thirsty and had several large gulps before I realised it was off. It tasted fine in the mouth but the aftertaste was repellent. I tried a few more mouthfuls but it really wasn’t up to scratch, but it was only in the aftertaste. I could swill it around in my mouth all day and it would have been fine. I know I should have told the bar maid but to be honest with all the noise I just couldn’t be bothered to stay in the pub anyway.

There were two other pubs to try, The Sawyers Arms (which was across the road from The Dickens) and The Beer House (actually on the concourse of the station). I went to try the Sawyers but as I approached I could hear the football before I even opened the door. I turned on a sixpence actually said “NO!” out load and went to the Beer House. I thought that this might be a good idea anyway as time was now moving on and it would be easier to catch the train.

The beer house is a small black wooden box sat on the floor between two platforms. Whilst inside it is a reasonable sized pub it is dwarfed by the canopy of the station. After my problems before I went back to reliable Tribute. I know tribute well and if it is off I can say with some authority. It was quiet.There were televisions on but they were muted with subtitles and they were showing some sort of long distance running. Whilst not really a problem it did keep catching my eye while I was reading, which was a distraction. The beer was good but they seemed to have an o2 pricing structure on their beer. I dread to think what the more exotic bottles would have been charged at! Otherwise not much to write home about.

I think the moral of the story is that while it is nice to try different pubs, sometimes it is also nice to stay in a good one that you have found. A friend of mine always joked that when we die we will all end up with a trump card of our lives with all the possible statistics imaginable. Some statistics (number of jobs:1) will probably be quite low but others (number of pubs visited: hundreds) will be the reason why my card will keep a player from losing but is it really worth it? Is training up this cosmic playing card going to help me enjoy life more? Answer, probably. I love discovering new pubs and always visiting the same one over and over would be dull. That being said, when I find a good one and the mood is right, I don’t think I’ll be as quick to move on just for the sake of an extra tick in the book as I used to be.