A second day in the Chilterns gave me the chance to finish Buckinghamshire and put BRAPA in its box. If Simon continues averaging 20 pubs in 3 days he’ll have caught me up by next Christmas, and that won’t do at all.
I was looking forward to exploring the Ridgeway but my walking boots haven’t recovered from Download, so I focused on looking for Stewart Copeland’s house in Bledlow Ridge. This was somewhere I’d been looking forward to since being forced into submission by “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” in Schwarzenbach.
I was working on the assumption it would have a Police hat on the gate, akin to the adornment at the home of Fenland’s most famous son.
No such giveaways though, so I was left with a walk through a fairly nondescript village and some exceptional countryside, certainly by Fenland standards. The early summer roses outside the flint stone houses produces some gorgeous aromas too.
The village pub is fairly typical Chilterns fayre, focusing on food but with a local beer range centred around Rebellion. The picture says all you need to know. Tasteful is the word.
Where the pub scored highly was in the all important area of early opening (11am) and cheerfulness, an underappreciated attribute in pub staff. I drank a more than decent half of IPA (NBSS 3) standing up; in truth it’s not a place the average drinker will want to sit for long.
A sign behind the bar said “No riff raff”; clearly it was time for me to leave. By 12.15 the place was packed with folk who would be putting more than £1.75 into the coffers.
Five miles north is a rather different village pub, another South Bucks Beer Guide newbie. You could walk to Chequers from the Red Lion at Whiteleaf hamlet, but I doubt David Cameron will be making the reverse journey here for lunch.
While not quite a classic, an unmodernised pub with four tiny rooms and no foody pretensions still feels like something special round here. This is the only pub in the village of Monks Risborough (that hasn’t now been converted to a £1m house), and it certainly caters to the whole community.
It was good to get a break from Rebellion, with Brakspear proving what a great 3.4% beer it is. Clearly putting on a couple of well known names (Doom Bar the other) does work in maintaining turnover. Another trad cider, an increasingly common sight in country pubs, and not Old Rosie either.
“Sixty different beers this year” said the board, a claim I liked a lot. There are probably pubs in Brum and Manchester that have served 60 different beers in the last week.
The village chat was a delight, and reflected the higher concerns of the residents. “Lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac by the Egyptians” and “That improved the efficiency of hanging no end” are so superior to the chants of “Scampi and cheps” that Simon always seems to encounter.
Even their falling-down buildings look marvellous.