Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Throwing Beer Mats at Bemused Publicans

I've mentioned Dong's distinctly odd way of earning a crust in these pages before. What he does, to all intents and purposes is exactly what it says in the title. To be fair, he does talk to people a lot on the 'phone as well.

Yesterday, in the spirit of helpfulness (and the promise of vast riches) Mrs The Millbrooker and I joined in on Dong's enterprise. We filled the car with 25000 beermats from Dong's Millbrook warehouse. That many beermats does take up quite a lot of room, I can tell you. Then we set off for Devon's south coast in search of bemused publicans at whom we could launch a pack of 500 mats.

And we found them in abundance, including the gloriously isolated but very popular Fountain Head Inn at Branscombe seen in the photo above.

However, the day didn't begin well. The idea was to head straight out to Seaton, have a pub lunch and start from there about 1 o'clock(ish), working our way through all the resorts until we either (a) ran out of beermats or (b) ran out of beermats. We expected to run out of beermats somewhere in the Salcombe region.

We managed to avoid finding Seaton by taking the wrong road after Honiton and finally arrived there by way of Crewkerne (only about 30 miles too many) far too late for pub lunch if we wanted to have any hope of getting home at a civilised hour. One quick Co-op sandwich later and we launched ourselves into lots of map following and pub finding.

The Hook and Parrot was amongst the first to catch a pack of fast-flung beermats, followed by The Dolphin at Beer; we filled Sidmouth with little absorbent printed paper and card squares. Without pausing for breath we sped along the Queen's highway and smothered Exmouth (dismal, horrid place) with the same materials.

Soon we'd skirted back around Exeter and dropped some mats onto unsuspecting publicans' toes in Starcross and Powderham before hitting the utterly dreadful resort of Dawlish Warren. How do people bear spending more than the twenty minutes or so that we spent there? Hideous, plastic rip-off joint. The pub below does, at least, have a decent view from its bar and keeps proper ale, so it might be slightly better than just about everything else I saw in Dawlish Warren.
We meandered through Dawlish itself (much, much nicer than its Warrenish neighbour) and found that we were doing well. Only a few more bemused publicans to find before we could call it a day.

A trip into Teignmouth and those few publicans were duly found and had beermats hurled at them.

A quick supper en-route homeward at The Dartmoor Halfway House saw us (finally) getting the pub meal we'd promised ourselves so much earlier in the day. Dong, I take my hat off to you - it's a fine way to make a living; shame it's not possible to sample the fare in each pub along the way.

Thanks to Tony the Taxi for allowing us to use his Autoroute program which helped hugely in finding out-of-the-way places and thanks to Dong for sharing his beermat chucking trade with us.

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