You can’t really avoid Diss while travelling to the occasional new pub ticks in the Waveney Valley. It’s one of our preferred Norfolk towns. A decade ago it had one of the UK’s premier analogue Hi-Fi shops, and I still have bits of valve amps in the garage waiting for Mrs RM to stick on ebay.
Train travel round the area is unusually good.
We stopped at Bressingham to remind ourselves what an overpriced Norfolk attraction looks like. Dad’s Army memorabilia and a steam train ride for £8.99 was an offer to resist though. All Norfolk outings are priced at something and 99p; you can speculate as to why.
Bressingham is where people in metropolises (metropli ?) like Diss and Eye go for a coffee and oversized pot plant with their pre-school grandchildren, when staring at a giant lake starts to lose its appeal. For some folk, staring at a giant lake will never lose its appeal.
I was surprised to read Diss only has 7,500 inhabitants, as it now has a 3rd major supermarket and almost one coffee shop for every adult.
It’s the Farrow Ball shop that tells you Diss is on the up though. And some attractive quiche shops tucked into little alleys we’d never seen before.
Pleasingly, it still has some unfathomable survivors.
QUIZ TIME – What does this shop sell ? Clue – it’s not quiche.
Lots of pastel colours, some pleasing tiling and a few wooden features on the side of the Saracen’s Head.
Pub wise, there’s not a lot. I’m always bemused by folk claiming that every pub has a vast range of beers. In Diss it’s Greene King IPA, Adnams, Wherry and Doom Bar. The Cock (top) in the attractive Fair Green suburb used to be a regular Guide entry, and still looks the pubbiest place in town.
No Wetherspoons, but it does now have one of those modern Marston’s dining pubs, a phenomenon noted by Pub Curmudgeon. Remarkably, the Thatcher’s Needle had sold 3 pints of Pedigree by 11.30 on a Thursday, which I bet is more than many locals in Derby manage.
Richard Coldwell was questioning the quality of Pedi these days, and I certainly haven’t come across as many good examples of it as I have of Draught Bass. Perhaps because it was the 3rd pint pulled in as many minutes, this Pedi was the best I’ve had for a while, full bodied and distinctive (NBSS 3 – 3.5).
There were proper tables to sit and enjoy it as well. You know what these places look like; they’re certainly more pubby before food service starts. The table of four septuagenarians were perusing a superiors (not 2-for-1) menu over coffee, debating the local NHS and berating their husbands. They were having a grand time, even over the oddest ambient soundtrack imaginable.
Pub Curmudgeon also wrote ” a pub is something that is immediately identifiable and conveys a distinct body language that it is somewhere that is genuinely open to all” and that is definitely true of this Marston’s place.
The furnishings are still an acquired taste though.