In the middle of last month I telephoned him and we went out for a midweek lunch after I had picked him up in the silver chariot known as Clint. We went to a pub called "The Rising Sun" in the Nether Green suburb of this great northern city. There Bert also supped three pints of "Daily Bread" - a bitter beer produced in Sheffield by The Abbeydale Brewery. Because I was driving I only had one pint.
On Wednesday of this week, I took Bert out again to a different "Rising Sun" - on Abbey Lane in the Parkhead district of the city. Again he had three pints of beer - this time "Black Sheep" from Masham in North Yorkshire. While I had a cheeseburger with chips (American:fries) Bert treated himself once again to a lunch of haddock and chips with mushy peas.
There are 121 pubs in England called "The Rising Sun" making it number 33 on the list of most popular pub names. The top three on that list are "The Red Lion"(515 pubs) , "The Crown" (477) and "The Royal Oak" (404).
On the face of it, you wouldn't think that Bert and I would get along so well. He left school at the age of fifteen with no qualifications and was an unskilled labourer all of his working life. In contrast, I left school at the age of eighteen with A levels and later earned an honours degree in English along with a diploma in education before embarking on a long teaching career.
Bert has a happy disposition and a good sense of humour but he also intently watches "Prime Minister's Questions" from London every week and is politically astute. Our reactions to national politics and world events are broadly similar. He still hates Boris Johnson with a vengeance and is particularly scathing about the Brexit disaster we continue to suffer week by week. It was made possible by Johnson and probably Russian bots seeking through social media to destabilise western Europe's unity ahead of the war still being waged upon Ukraine.
If I don't see him in our local, I will be picking Bert up again next month and taking him to a different pub but it won't be called "The Rising Sun".