Yesterday I had a day out with Dad in Alrewas, visiting the National Memorial Arboretum. One of the highlights of retirement is the opportunity to spend time exploring with parents, as long as you can avoid taking up golf.
The Arboretum is a site of remembrance and reflection, and particularly poignant for Dad, who still plays “The Last Post” on his cornet at the Legion each Remembrance Sunday. The reminders of sacrifice across every part of society and across centuries is very sobering, particularly at the central hillwhere the Armed Forces Memorial records the casualties of conflict since World War II. The site is beautifully and sensitively designed, and integrates well with some attractive riverside walks along the Trent.
Having spent a good 3 hours in decent weather, and clocking up 5 miles, Dad was ready for a late lunch, which always limits your options outside of the cheap chain restaurants.
Alrewas is an average sized village (3,000 pop) with a beautiful church, some black and white houses, and lots of canal. It supports 3 pubs, 2 of which I rated highly when they were in the Beer Guide recently, so this is obviously a reliable village for pubs. On a whim we chose the William IV as it had a prominent A-Board advertising food hours.
The William IV is an average Marstons pub, but did a decent half of Pedigree (tight head, NBSS 2.5), and clearly home-made food. Faggots and chips and sweet and sour pork weren’t astonishing, it wasn’t trencherman proportions, but the chips were great and we cleared the plates. Less than £7 a plate too, though the 2 meals for £10 deal in the branded Marstons pub on the A38 probably explains why it wasn’t busier.
There were as many drinkers as in most Cambridge pubs on a Tuesday lunchtime too. I find Staffordshire consistent, with Marstons exercising decent quality control over their managed houses, and pubs with little demand for real ale not bothering with it.
Dad had a great day out, until we hit the A14.