Enough of the Midlands, as Tuesday brought a trip to the prosperous South-East, which is at least well-supplied with cheap Travelodges and those odd Days Inn places. It’s just a shame they’re all in Fleet.
Logic tells me we’ve only been to Aldershot thrice in our lives, which puts it behind Goole on my league table. Two of those visits were to this “Home of Football“.
Goodness knows what Mrs RM did while I was at the Recreation Ground; I didn’t see a branch of Lush in town.
This is a classic ground, and on my last visit ten years ago Cambridge United secured a Conference Premier place, and probably their existence, with a Robbie Simpson goal in front of half of Romsey Town. Ah, memories.
The ground still has the same grime as it did in 2007 (and probably 1967); but Aldershot itself looked a town transformed. Here’s the proof;
I believe this place a few yards from the station was called “The Funky End“. Mrs RM would surely approve, but even more attractive was the plethora of Caribbean, Indian and Nepalese cafes dotted around town. A bit like those in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, their glories are clearly as much about informal setting as the cooking.
It was the impact of the Ghurka presence that made this trip. Rarely have I seen such a medium-sized town so vibrant and colourful midweek.
The Nepalese have clearly kept a fair few run-down shops going, and the jewellery shops add a lot of colour, but I doubt their custom in town pubs like the famous Trafalgar has made up for the impact of another famous event of 2007.
I’d given myself 90 minutes between trains to do Aldershot, failing to take into account the beauty of the Municipal Gardens in Spring.
The back streets to the west of town are spick and span, rather like a tidier Swindon, and hilly enough to make me feel I’d earned a pint at the Imperial Standard, a wedge-shaped gem.
I love pubs like this, full of working blokes (mostly younger than me, unusually).
Normally the new Beer Guide entry in a town is a free house, a micro, a Spoons or a dining pub. The Standard is a boozer, and a very friendly one.
If nothing else a music selection spanning “Pop Muzik” to “You’re the one that I want” proved that. I’ll spare you the banter, I doubt Simon will.
A sole hand pump dispensed an excellent Bishops Tipple (NBSS 3.5), a Hobson’s Choice I can live with. It wasn’t denting the Fosters sales, mind.
The smoking area had some art you might expect,
and some you wouldn’t
A real joy, as was Aldershot. Perhaps that new Premier Inn near the entertainment complex isn’t such a leap of faith as it might seem.