The culmination of another year’s worth of Hub Marketing madness has arrived, meaning D9 and I must attend to our customary December business. There are calendars to unveil, Hub Awards to present, Pick of the Pops with 'Paul Hubbacini' and of course the annual resurrection of Charles Pemberton Rowbottom III…
- D9 drives the 529 -
This will be a rare Tuesday trip for the Hub Marketing Board which possibly explains why the Chairman is piling up the cob penalties by the time he finally clocks in just after 1 pm. Poor old D9 has been suffering from illness recently but has recovered sufficiently to adopt his favourite steering pose aboard the 529. With gear-crunching aplenty he guides us to Willenhall where the Falcon on Gomer Street stages the grand calendar reveal - the 2018 edition features pink hair, lollipop signs and Stechford baldness.
- Dereliction Bald Spot -
Talking of bald spots, the Chairman takes the opportunity to flaunt his when surveying the wreck of a Moat Street factory as we ferret through towards Ashmore Lake. Our silly song selections have Dora Bryan longing for a Beatle for Christmas whereas Keith Chegwin extols the virtues of the humble spud. The Secretary's sleeves are then on high alert as the WME radar picks out the Willenhall CHART Community Hub plus the former Ponderosa Social Club (still with some vintage Carling Black Label branding).
- The darts victor is... -
Our darting destination for the day is the Cross Keys on Ashmore Lake Road where Dickinson's Real Deal provides the televisual backdrop to our oche occupation. A tightly-fought encounter sees WME Whirlwind prevail by three legs to two, helped largely by a double top finish for a 59 checkout. Adding these to the scores from across the year gives our 2017 total as WME 52-29 D9, meaning the Whirlwind has retained his crown for the fifth year in succession - maybe 2018 will see the D9 Destroyer triumph at long last?
- Where are we again? -
Two tempting taverns are next on the agenda as we account for Golden Glow in the Jolly Collier (a 2018 Good Beer Guide entrant on Lucknow Road) followed by Robinson's Dizzy Blonde in the Whimsey. An honourable pool draw (one frame each) precedes the Pick of the Pops top 13 chart rundown whereby resident dj Hubbacini announces the placings on our hit parade. The top three are: #3 - 'Gossip Calypso' by Bernard Cribbins; #2 - 'It's Me Again Margaret' by Ray Stevens; #1 - 'I'm in Charge' by Bruce Forsyth. In all the excitement we almost forget where we are, so luckily there's a helpful hint to be found in the Key Master as we partake of Greene King IPA.
- Tribute in the Navigation -
Heading back towards Willenhall town centre, the Secretary's sights are set upon the Prince of Wales only for us to discover it isn't open. Faced with something of a dilemma over where to try instead, the 25 bus provides the answer by shuttling us through to Fibbersley for an encounter with the Navigation. The Bentley Canal historically passed close by in giving the pub its name, and nowadays the place is a lively community local serving some St Austell beers and incorporating Bert's Bistro.
- The Chairman refuels at Fibbersley Garage -
We've received news that Charles Pemberton Rowbottom the Third has awoken from his lengthy hibernation and is demanding our presence for the Hub Marketing Awards. Chairman D9 therefore doses up on Diesel at an old-fashioned petrol station as we make tracks for the Beehive on Coventry Street, just off the main Willenhall Road. CPR3 is indeed in attendance so - with Banks's Mild in hand - he proclaims the various category winners for 2017: Horseley Heath's Hebron Hall has the 'Closet of the Year', the best darts checkout was WME's 3-dart 101 in Fenside, and the most expensive round goes to D9 courtesy of the Grainstore. With the accolades assigned, that concludes hub matters for another year but we are already looking forward to 2018.
- Cheers and Merry Christmas from the Hub Marketing Board! -