Slightly out of sequence due to temporary hysteria, but here you go, Dereham. In a campervan.
Miles from “London-on-Sea”, a safe distance from the self-pronounced “City of Beer“, and without so much as an overhyped town trail to promote it, Dereham competes vigorously with Swaffham to be Norfolk’s dullest town.
Or so I thought. Not only is this the birthplace of Beth Orton and the location of Stephen Fry’s wedding, but my regular beer and curry buddy Charles lives here. Mrs RM was desperate to meet the man who asked for TWO samples in Worcester.
We’d hoped to park our campervan in Charles’s drive but sadly I’d got my metres and feet mixed up. Tesco car park looked a bit scary;
So we asked the friendly landlord of our new GBG target if he’d mind us pitching in the car park, in return for Mrs RM downing a dozen pints of his finest Plum Porter. She came close.
Before settling down in the Royal Standard we did a bit of “Slow Tourism“, seeing the delights of Dereham that weren’t Denise’s. Tesco, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi, Roy’s of Wroxham; it’s got the lot. The sky was nice, anyway.
Sadly, we were in time for Halloween, but a little early for the improbable entertainment offer of Kiki Dee and Ne-Yo due in November. Astonishingly, Mrs RM can name more of the former’s hits than the latter’s.
The newish Spoons is a composite of every other Spoons, with only a nod to Mr Fry’s patronage and some of that Halloween clutter I love so much of note. Perhaps a bit more real ale being sold here than I’ve seen of late in this recent GBG entry.
We collected Charles and said goodbye to his cat, who I will still incorporate into this blog because she doesn’t ask for samples.
The Royal Standard, despite a pebble-dashed exterior and a few beams, is firmly in the “basic local” camp. Our town Guide Charles was slightly astonished to hear it had replaced the ancient George and the Spoons in the Guide, but a first sample (i.e. pint) of the Titanic explained why.
The Landlord apologised for only having two beers on (something I applaud), but his enthusiasm for the stronger dark beers from the Bateman list was commendable. NBSS 3.5 for the Porter, 3 for a Camerons seasonal that was always going to pale after Titanic.
It might have been the company again, but I thought the Standard was a corker, reminiscent of the Furnace but with more young folk in the games area creating a broad church of boozers. A working men’s boozer, the GBG for 1974 would have called it.
Partly because the other pubs aren’t great, but mainly because the Standard was, we decided to stay there. Then straight to Spice Fusion, where the spicy squid and dhansak proved Norfolk is occasionally capable of decent curries. In the absence of mango lassi (again) we went for the bottled craft.