First of all, I send my best wishes to Simon Everitt as he attempts the Everest of pub-going that is Aylesbury. Should he not survive, I’d like to register a pre-emptive claim on his marker pens.
Safer ground for me east of Leicester, which sounds like a Michael Palin play waiting to be written. As you can see, there’s not a lot between BRAPA’s favourite city and Oakham, bar some decent walking and the sound of rustling curtains.
Actually, a quick bit of over-analysis suggests this is one of the great GBG deserts, at least since the Marston pubs along the A47 dropped out.
So let joy be unconfined at the Guide arrival of the Cheney Arms in lovely Gaddesby (top centre of the map).
A CAMRA research study, due to report in 2021, will probably conclude that all pubs with the word “Arms” at the end are probably posh and deserve their own category along with micro pubs, Clubs and Wetherspoons. The objective test for a “posh pub” is the Baylis & Harding soap in the loos.
Smart pubs are fine, though, particularly when the staff are as cheery as here, and they retain a proper drinkers bar away from a formal-looking restaurant.
The proper seat above was the perfect place to observe folk in suits and ties, and ladies in black strapless dresses, imbuing the feel of a posh social event rather than a Sunday lunch session. Well away from that hubbub, I could have been in a Sam Smiths local as the light poured in.
My Everards Tiger, in it’s pleasant little stem glass, was as inevitably an NBSS 3 as the sight of a lady fussing over the black pepper. More great condiment drama no doubt awaits Simon.
The journey into the suburbs of Leicester takes you through a succession of Barsbys, Croxtons and Beebys, culminating in the exciting new residential developments of Scraptoft, a future sink estate if ever I saw one.
Oadby is a highlight of any trip to Leicester, giving us classic Draught Bass in the Wheel and, formerly, farmyard fun in the Cow & Plough.
New to the GBG, the Black Dog is a very different Everards. Recently refurbished in the way the Project William houses are, but very “not posh” (though I didn’t check the soap in the toilets).
This is a “Book Pub“. The walls were decorated with Penguin Classic (no Camus, but this is Leicester). The Gent with the handle was reading Moby Dick. He started it when he was 22, so only 15 years to go.
Despite the difference in poshness, the Tiger here cost exactly the same, so I had my pennies counted from my plastic Lloyds bag ready, to her evident glee.
You can guess how I scored the Tiger.
I score the pub banter a NBSS (B for banter) a 4.5 though. Lots of complaints about Spoons prices, and manholes, plus some classic misunderstandings;
“I love Bass but it’s brewed in Belgium now”
“Yes, it’s brewed to a margin, that’s the problem”
“Banks isn’t brewed in Birmingham anymore, it’s been taken over by Marstons”
“You can’t trust a chap who drinks out of a handle”
and a lot of unrepeatable stuff about moustaches you’ll get verbatim from Simon, if he survives Aylesbury.
By the way, if you can see that photo at the top twice I have no idea why. I’m sure it’s a sign of the End of Times.