Friday 8th July brought with it the latest episode of Chip Foundation antics as Nick introduced us to the wonders of Warwick. Here are some pictorial highlights...
After meeting up on the train at Coseley, we head into Birmingham for a look around Moor Street Station. The Chiltern service to Marylebone provides us with our Warwick connection, arriving just before 2 pm so Nick can pose on the platform. He doesn't take much persuading these days, one sight of the camera and he's into position with a ready grin!
The Wild Boar is handily placed near the station so we can sample some ales from the Slaughterhouse Brewery, all named with a distinct piggy theme. We then stroll into Warwick town centre for some lunch and a chance encounter with an old penitentiary door on the corner of Barrack Street - I resisted the temptation to lock them inside and throw away the key as I needed someone to pay for the drinks later.
It was actually my round next as Nick leads us to the Punch Bowl, a historic coaching inn that nowadays is an unexpected outpost for Oakwell beers from Barnsley. The Dark Mild was in excellent fettle and I was delighted to find that the ales came at honest Yorkshire prices that a certain reincarnated Stourbridge bus driver would surely have approved of.
The Old Fourpenny Shop completes our trio of taverns in the town and then we go cross-country to get in a bit of exercise. The walk was perfect and included sections across Warwick Racecourse (hence this view looking over at the grandstand) and along part of the Grand Union Canal.
Our next port of call was the Cape of Good Hope, a quintessential canalside pub brimming with traditional atmosphere. We approach the pub by scrambling over the locks, something I managed in a most uncertain fashion but a half of Two Llocks (also referred to as twollocks and brewed specifically for the pub) helped me regain some composure. I also liked the fact that you could get served out of the front window, adding that little note of quirkiness for extra brownie points.
We rejoin the canal and soon reach Warwick Parkway from where a return Chiltern service delivers us safely to Snow Hill. We test out the new station access to exit onto Livery Street where Nickolenko can't resist investigating the Lithuanian delicatessen. The evening is completed with a couple of Jewellery Quarter stops (the Queens Arms and the Brown Lion, more Two Towers treats in the latter) followed by some jazz at the Trumpet in Bilston. Superb stuff to round off another brilliant day, and with my Warwick bearings now firmly in place I could easily be tempted to return...