As promised I’ve been spending the occasional day locally, visiting some of the “wonderful” (flat) Cambridgeshire countryside. For context, the AA Guide of 1001 Walks in Britain features one walk in Cambridgeshire, and that’s at Wicken Fen.
Mrs RM and I found a ten mile circular between Snailwell and Fordham, where you’ll find quite a few owners and riders from Newmarket racecourse, the famous home of faded ’80s popsters during the summer.
In beautiful weather the walk was flat, but at least had a touch of riverside for interest. Half-way through we arrived in Fordham expecting to find beer and toilets in a fair-sized village with four licenced premises. Sunday is traditionally a good bet for all day drinking.
The White Pheasant was a restaurant closing straight after lunch (and at 9.30 weeknights), the Chequers was taking an afternoon nap, the Social Club also, leaving just the unprepossessing (I’m being kind) Crown.
The WhatPub description would have looked scant in the early days of the Good Beer Guide; “Centrally located pub opposite the church”. Not exactly going to drag you in, is it ? WhatPub also promises Greene King IPA, another brazen act of deceit. Only Doom Bar and a very limited lager range too.
There was the promise of Arsenal bottling it again on Sky, but the only sport was the half-dozen lads playing pool on the table which dominated the bar. Mrs RM being chased by the over-friendly dog was sport of a different kind.
Luckily, I was driving, so Mrs RM had to sample a pint of DoomBar (#PubMan), so I’ll take her view on trust that it was acceptable. No other obvious takers for it.
The coke was sold in cans by a friendly bar lad.
On the way back we came across the unexpectedly water buffalo, the sign for which I had assumed was a joke. Never seen her run so fast.
I promised her a pint when we got back to Snailwell but the George and Dragon was closed.
And you wonder why I’m never at home.
Outside the beer bubble of the major cities (Manchester and so on) pubs are dying slowly, and sticking half a dozen beers on the bar isn’t going to stop the trend.