I’m falling behind on the posts, believe it or not.  Reports on Ipswich, Theale, Melton Mowbray and the Spennymoor suburbs exist as scribbled notes and unfathomable photos.  The collapse of my trusty laptop last week hit me hard, and Mrs RM has had to interrupt her despair to get it fixed.

Yesterday she had a minor meltdown in central Cambridge as those cuddly trampoline sellers at John Lewis told her their computer systems weren’t linked up across their store network, so they couldn’t help. Then she was attacked by a big dog.

Thank goodness for beer.

The Elm Tree may not be Cambridge’s best pub, but you’ll always get a cosy seat, a strong Belgian beer and a packet of craft crisps.  Naff pub signs do the trick for Mrs RM.


I wrote about having time to choose beer the other day.  For Mrs RM, the proper beer menu is a highlight, but I still wasn’t taking more than six seconds to decide on that bottle of Westmalle Dubbel.  Within a minute she was becalmed.


Nothing much changes from year to year here. The Belgian beers aren’t cheap for bottles you can probably find in the big Sainsbury, but proper glassware and service more than compensate. Somehow it always seems just busy enough, but you’ll always find proper pub seating within sight of the bar.

Tucked away in the Kite, it gets a good mix of custom that makes it feel more pubby than some places in Cambridge.  Less touristy than the Free Press, and with no food, it survives on atmosphere (and possibly free Wi-Fi). On this occasion, unspecified Ozzy Ozbourne accompanied the Westmalle, and it somehow fitted nicely.

Gourmet crisps, mark you

The beer range in this Charlie Wells/Banks & Taylor place seemed a bit wider than usual, with some Derventio and Pennine guests. I stuck to the Edwin Taylor Stout (NBSS 3).

It’s always good to revisit Cambridge’s Beer Guide pub in the autumn when they’re at their most cosy. This is one of my favourite all-rounders, for atmosphere if not beer quality (that’s still the Maypole).



  1. I am proud to say that I have never been to a John Lewis shop, networked or not. Given the farce when I purchased a newspaper from their Waitrose friends recently, involving being sent to different tills, I’m not surprised at incompetence occurring. Too posh, too complicated.

    The model of the Brugge street scene on the bar is unrealistic. The shop signs should be in Flemish (I think, my knowledge on which Belgians speak which language is minimal). In any case, I don’t understand what such an object is doing cluttering the bar rather than displayed on a shelf or in a skip.


      1. A pub like that in Grimsby would be a great improvement on the current stock, you are right I would love to see it. However, if one were to open, it would be excellent for the first couple of months, at which point quality would start to decline, steadily at first before falling off a cliff. It wouldn’t last 6 months before it descended to the level of dross the majority of pubs achieve. The key to success in this town, I suspect, is as you preach, small range, say Black Sheep and a guest, as was tried at the White Hart before it failed.


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