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CAMRA columnist on watching the Linnets, West Norfolk Pub of the Year and Dry January

The Bar Man column, by CAMRA's Jeff Hoyle

They say that you should get out and do things as you will not look back and remember being sat on the sofa playing Candy Crush, though if I ever solve level 1,952 they may be wrong.

Anyway, it seemed like a good idea to join the convoy across to Boston on New Year’s Day to watch Lynn play, and take a last look at the ground where I have witnessed so many Bury triumphs, before it is demolished.

Lynn's travelling support at Boston United
Lynn's travelling support at Boston United

While there it occurred to me that I have started to refer to Lynn as ‘we’, a worrying development as I hope to be back on the road next season to such places as Irlam, Skelmersdale and Runcorn with a reborn Bury.

Still, for a season’s sabbatical watching Lynn, I could not have picked a better one.

Given that there are 22 teams in the division, on average a dominant season like this one will only happen maybe a couple of times during a supporter’s life.

Jeff Hoyle aka The Bar Man
Jeff Hoyle aka The Bar Man

After the heroics of New Year’s Day, I went across to watch the Spennymoor game, the first time I had seen the opposition play since ‘we’ (the real ‘we’) beat them in a cup tie in the early 70s.

When I bought my programme, Robert asked me if it is true that I have to do everything the Bar Wife asks. Of course, I replied.

Fortunately, that evening she had asked if we should put promises into practice and ‘try-January’.

Indeed, we should, and set out to visit the Wellington at Feltwell, one of the pubs that has been nominated for the West Norfolk CAMRA Pub of the Year.

It is not our first visit, but it was interesting to see a thriving village local on a Saturday evening.

Darts and pool played in the games room, a couple watching the football, others drinking and chatting while families emerged from the dining room having eaten.

Excellent beer from interesting breweries, such as my Exmoor Ale, completed the picture of a great pub, and while it is not ‘Olde Worlde’ style, there is the added attraction of the displays paying tribute to the wartime airbase.

Interesting too, were the special events such as the men’s breakfast with a guest speaker complimented by a ‘Ladies who Lunch’ event also with a speaker.

After this we decided to try one of our branch’s outlying pubs and one which we have never been to before.

The Lamb and Flag at Welney is out on the fen, near the Cambridgeshire border and we were hoping that the landlord was a trustworthy guy, as we had to cross the Welney Washes to reach the pub.

He had assured us that there would be no more than a puddle on the road and to ignore the ‘Road Closed’ signs, which we duly did and found that he was correct.

It turned out that he was a jovial and friendly character who afforded us a fine welcome and a choice of cask beer, including the impressive Lion’s Pride from Milestone Brewery near Newark.

Despite his menu being a bit depleted after the holidays, they rustled up some fine food and we resolved to visit again.

In fact, this was a reconnaissance mission for a potential branch social so if you are not doing anything come and have Sunday lunch with us in February.

By then Dry January will be over and you can have a guilt-free beer. Until then, have one anyway.

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