The post retirement deal with Mrs RM seems to be that I cook, take her to East Anglia’s delightful market towns, and do the arduous work of ticking pubs in grim Northern towns on overnight trips. It’s not a deal she’s happy with, so her Grand Design to build a flat pack house in Preston continues.
Today, however, she got to explore another set of housing estates to the north of Huntingdon, a town notable mostly for it’s exciting former MPs and “brave” experiment with the market at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. Even the shopping part of the trip yielded only a 99p plastic pencil case, so a result of sorts.
Using the historic definition of counties, I would judge this the dullest county town, though the adjoining country park and the nearby mill are pleasant enough. My earliest childhood memory is of boat trips on that mill pond.
Despite pedestrianisation, the town centre offers little except discount and charity shops, with only a small concentration of old buildings around the Market Square, including All Saints Church and the Market Tavern, a decent town boozer. No record shops, though plenty of top Tears for Fears and Blondie LPs in the Oxfam store.
With most employment a little way from the town centre in business parks and hospital, there were few workers around to support a lunch-time economy outside of the usual chain coffee shops.
The street art leaves a little to be desired too;
Oxmoor estate had a poor reputation 20 years ago, but you wouldn’t know it now. Some pleasant walkways take you past meadows and newish housing, though little in the way of facilities.
Mrs RM was determined to go in the lone estate pub though. Her curiosity knows no bounds. It was very friendly and pleasant, and the function room had some decent Cromwell memorabilia (nothing from John Major unfortunately).
I wasn’t brave enough to let Mrs RM try the Doom Bar, but she was happy with her craft beer, brewed within sight of the Coopers Tavern and Balti Towers (no NBSS score noted).
The town centre feels underpubbed, and the newest Beer Guide entry filled a big gap when it reopened in 2014.
It’s a large rambling coaching inn, with an upstairs tea room leading to more unused rooms. But the bar itself was pulling more cask than your average Spoons, at a scarcely believable £2 a pint for Potbelly (NBSS 3.5). It’s an ale house, though a lot of the scarily large range comes from Marston, which is no bad thing.
It’s also the sort of historic building that would have been a Wetherspoons in Evesham or Bewdley, but that company struggled to make inroads into the area until recently. Huntingdon gets it’s Spoons later this year, and I know at least two OAPs who will give it their custom.