MARCH ! MARCH !! MARCH !!!

I’ve always wanted to use that headline, the name of a pointless walk through nothingness to Cambridge. Reading the 35 year history of the walk tells you quite a bit about Fenland pubs.

Far from walking, on Thursday night my sister and I took two rattling trains to March via Ely, while cousin Keith came in  an even more exciting manner. “Thumbelina“(don’t ask) could convert you to the joys of the waterways, if not the Fens.

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Classic Retired Martin photography

Keith’s vessel is a shrine to craft beer, but I was confident we could convert him to the joys of cask.

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Craft Corner

Promisingly, he’d moored up outside The Ship, March’s only Beer Guide entry, but a fairly consistent one over recent years.

Ship Inn, March, 2008

Greene King signage, but a free house with Dark Star Hophead and a brown Woodfordes beer that we’d never seen before.

My Sis gave Keith a masterclass in NBSS scoring, before pronouncing both beers a 3, which I thought was a touch harsh. We settled on 3.5.

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This is what NBSS 3.5 looks like Sis

The beer was better than I expected on a Thursday night with a dozen locals in (we were March’s only tourists, ever).  The pub was modernised but pleasant, with decent seating and beer mats already out. That’s almost enough these day. A 60p portion of peanuts that was still feeding Mrs RM a day later pushed this into super-pub territory.

A bloke in combat fatigues did a Norman Wisdom routine falling into the Gents, but it’s unwise to comment on other folks state of inebriation.

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One pub in, drunk already

Our expectations for March were pretty low, and our main criteria for the night seemed to be (a) dark beer, (b) a curry and (c) something hilarious for the blog.

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That first criteria went out the window as we passed the Griffin, which looked most un-March like with it’s tasteful lighting and gem of a foyer.

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The beer range was vast and uninspiring, lacking the dark beer Sis craved. The interior was also vast and unispiring, but completely packed.  My Dad was convinced a similar Stonegate dinery was a Wetherspoon last week, and this was also a Spoons clone.

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I rated the Rev James quite good (NBSS 3), but I think the high tables and polite atmosphere coloured my sister’s less generous view. Having lived in Falmouth for a year, Sis’s expectations of beer quality are somewhat inflated.  That’s the downside of a year drinking in the ‘front and HAND bar.

We resisted the charms of a few more “interesting” locals on the way to the Rose & Crown, which a decade ago was March. It was also shabbier than Stockport’s Olde Vic back then, at least externally. I was slightly disappointed to see it looking spick and span, though the windows at least survive.

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This one was special.  It had that feel of a community drinkers pub that places like the Dove and Pilot pull off so well. The quiz night clearly helped, as this place was bursting with drinkers of all ages.

I’d never criticise the absence of a pub from the Beer Guide on the basis of one fleeting visit; I’ll just tell you that the St Austell Bucket of Blood hit the spot for my fellow drinkers (NBSS 4 apparently).  My beer of choice, which you’ll have to guess*, also brought back memories of Cornish flat beer heaven.

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All trips to provincial market towns must inevitably end with curry night in Wetherspoons. Actually they really shouldn’t, particularly washed down with that Resin nonsense.  Sis likes 13 Guns, and she has better taste in beer than I do.

So, unexpectedly high marks for March, as good a night out as you could hope for on an October Thursday in the east of England, though not quite Nuneaton.  A decade or so ago it was all fried chicken shops, now it has a greater variety of takeaways.  That’s progress.

Nuneaton doesn’t have windows with stuff like this in it though.

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What does this place sell ?

The long walk back to the station from the Spoons was uneventful, mainly because we chickened out of Keith’s pub recommendation – a point for identifying this one.

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*Here it is

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25 thoughts on “MARCH ! MARCH !! MARCH !!!

  1. I am going with the Seven Stars on the Avenue. Abbot, IPA and a third beer lines up. Your photo makes it look brighter than I would expect. Your pics do tend to bring out the best in a place though. I can only assume that store sells clothing for fancy dress parties. Or it is a tea shop trying too hard.

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  2. On a side note, are you seeing lots of canned beers in the IPA style? All those cans look a lot like what we get over here. Curious how prevalent it is becoming there. I love that they are saluting our thirteen originals. You did find something funny on your night out.

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    1. Yes, here’s quite a lot of cans in that style. I think IPA has become a catch-all word, a it like Craft or Premium, and doubt anybody has a clue what it means.

      You’ll need to explain the 13 Guns to me Dave !

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  3. I thought I had the wrong direction! 13 guns for 13 colonies. I think it funny since the beer style is a west coast thing. No original colonies there…

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      1. That is the color I like Chicken Korma to be. Was there a hint of coconut? Yours prompted me to order from a place near me. The sauce was green, different, but not nearly as good as in England

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  4. When I was a kid I had a 1964 “Locospotter’s Annual” which I always remember contained a photo of a train described as “drifting through March” 😉

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    1. Mudge, March used to be until fairly recently a key tourist destination for railway enthusiasts. Indeed, just this year a railtour brought several hundred to the town, so Martin and entourage were far from the first tourists to visit the place.

      Dick, I can’t imagine a green korma. Coconut is more than acceptable although tradition favours almond. Both can appear together. It is often a little sweet and rich for me.

      Martin, nans, unless freshly made, are guaranteed to be rubbish. That is where ‘Spoons go wrong. Even if you freshly make them, it is still an immense challenge without a proper tandor.

      I reckon the shop is simply one of the recent halloween special shop monstrosities that opens in about September in a disused retail unit for a couple of months. There is one in Grimsby in what used to be Ann Summers. I reckon they’ve reused the manakins in the window. As bad as bloody Newtonmas shops.

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      1. My evidence is that it closed down, reopened a while later as the Halloween hell hole and the sign changed. I didn’t go in under either guise.

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      2. I believe in honesty at all times. The spelling was a cock up, not an attempt at forcing logic upon the English language as if it were a female in a north Wales hotel.I believe the penalty for such matters is to write out the word 100 times, I trust given the medium that typing is acceptable.

        Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin Mannequin

        I hope that suffices and that I don’t have to be caned or sent to Mablethorpe or something.

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