I'm up at 5am for another drive up to Preston. Doggo and I are spending a considerable amount of time up there at the moment. He probably regrets taking us up to Grade 6 because I wouldn't have bothered driving the two hours otherwise. Today, we have three courses and put in three clears but regrettably no rosettes. The top eight places get them; we came 9th, 10th and 11th in our three runs. Most annoyingly, each class was divided in to two parts and each time we were in the wrong part. Everything time there were less clears in the other part, which would have guaranteed us a rosette.
Most of our runs are scheduled early and this combined with the fact that winning nothing means you don't have to hang around for any presentations, means we can head home fairly early for once. John Grisham keeps us company on the drive back.
When we head into town later, we decide to tour round a few of our old haunts. Sadly, one of them, the Newcastle Arms, once a student haunt of mine that was always so busy, it was standing room only, is now closed.
Another, the Hole In The Wall, another former favourite, has been a shadow of it's former self for many years. Mainly since Marston's took over Mansfield Brewery, closed the brewery, scrapped all its beers and dismantled its popular guest beer policy. The Hole's customers went elsewhere in their droves.
Tonight though, although the pub is still very quiet, they have a decent 'guest' on, Ringwood Old Thumper 5.6%. Which is totally excellent. I say 'guest' because Marston's bought the Ringwood Brewery last year but they have at least kept it brewing and retained its beer range.
After each gorgeous pint, we debate continuing our pub tour but it was no good, we were stuck and stayed there for the duration, only decamping to hit the curry house.