Aylesbury isn’t all bad. The King’s Head was one of my Top 100 pubs,after all, and there’s some pleasant (damned with faint praise) villages on the bus ride up to Winslow. I’m sure Simon will appreciate the misericords and basilicas in the parish church at Oving, whose Black Boy was benefitting from a wake when I visited.
Some of the most jolly pubs I’ve been in had wakes going on; Bolton and Pontypridd spring to mind. I’m sure you’d have guessed those two.
They were putting back the XT4 at any rate, sadly after I’d had the last hand-pull of a barrel just about to be changed. It was still decent enough, but there’s a certain angst about not getting your beer out of a newly-changed barrel. This was a proper old-school village pub, similar in style to the best canalside pubs on the Grand Union, and as good for drinkers as OAP diners.
Oving is a gem of a village, packed with black and white timber and attractive rural views, and only five minutes from the middle-class hell that is Waddesdon Manor.
To save about 20p on the price of the bus fare, I then walked across some muddy fields to North Marston. On the way I was overtaken by a lady farmer wearing “appropriate footwear”, unlike me. It didn’t make much difference when the cows with horns attacked though. I’m just glad Mrs RM wasn’t there.
The Pilgrim is a modern looking dining pub at the bottom of the hill, advertising “Guest wines” and with the tell-tale Bayliss & Harding soap in the loos. The bar has a living-room feel, salvaged by a savage fire that a couple felt compelled to endure in order to provide conversation points.
Four pumps seemed ambitious, and another XT4 here was barely adequate, and not just because of the horrific Kozel glass.
A chap in a Barbour jacket was bemused by the sight of four beers he’d never heard of. Feeling slightly panicked, he said “I’ll have the Monkey“. “Ooo you monkey” said his witty wife. That was as good as it got. I’m sure they’ll put on a better show for Simon though.
Just to warn Simon though, the last person to cause offence to the good folk of North Marston ended up in a glass case by the well;