I’m not sure what you’ve done to deserve two posts in a row about Cambridge; I was clearly very bad last week and got grounded for a few days.
On the five mile hike south to Cambridge you run the risk of being run over by a Toby or Boris shouting instructions to the crew of Gonville & Caius, which is barely preferable to a dull trudge.
Last Saturday’s walk took us away from the Cam and through the fields of Clayhithe and Quy Fen.
I would love to bring you tales of Mrs RM chased by cows, or even of the selkies running naked through Quy Fen*, but sadly that would be embellishment.
An hour’s slog brings you to Horningsea, home of some of Cambridgeshire’s most expensive (and flood prone) riverside cottages, and possibly the poshest pub on the A10.
The Crown & Punchbowl makes your average Brunning & Price look like a Hungry Horse. Until quite recently, it didn’t welcome drinkers anyway, but adoption into the Cambs Cuisine Group has seen the re-provision of a proper bar.
It got my seal of approval straight away for only having the two beers on from the barrel, including the Pegagus from the next village. Both well under £4 as well.
It was desperately quiet, but I chanced the Pegasus, and was served Becks. I know I speak Fen rather than posh Cambridge, but those are hard to confuse. Do I look like a Beck’s drinker ?
I think the cheery barman must have had the previous customer’s order in mind. He fixed the error, but a round of Pegasus, Schiehalliion, Orange & Lemonade and a packet or Corkers still came to £13.10.
Just as well the Milton was cool, complex and chewy (says Mrs RM), an unexpected NBSS 3.5. Schiehallion on keg was even colder and harder to pronounce.
A couple arrived in an MX5 and checked into their deluxe rooms. They were clearly unaccustomed to pub life, exclaiming “Sorry, sorry” every time they brushed my arm, and struggling to answer the difficult questions you get asked in pubs. The ones like “Can I help ?”.
Entering the toilets to a loud burst of laughter is always disconcerting; it turned out to be an episode of “Blackadder Goes Forth”, perhaps a first for pub loos.
Possibly not a first sighting of Liberty and Green handwash, mind.
When I came out Mrs RM was listening hard to a conversation about haircuts that we left before it’s inevitable conclusion (the price tag).
Not very pubby, and the blow-torched mackerel isn’t the sort of pub entertainment to drag me away from the more traditional Plough & Fleece a few yards on, or the carrot cake in Horningsea’s Garden Centre.
But I wish a few more upmarket free houses could match that beer quality.
A drama free walk back along the Cam. Nice clouds though.
*You’ll have to read that article to find out what Selkies are; I’m none the wiser.