SOUTHWOLD – ALWAYS CHANGING, ALWAYS THE SAME

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There’s a lot to be said for and against sisters, I’m sure, but having one who invites you down to her holiday cottage in Falmouth and Southwold in successive years is hard to beat. It doesn’t make up for what she did to my Action Man in 1973, mind.

Sis had used her Birthday presents to pay for a short break in Adnamsland. How things have changed, I was always happy with a bundle of Albion Rovers programmes.

I was keen to see if;

  1. Adnams Bitter is anything special on home turf.
  2. Whether craft (my secret definition) has arrived yet.
  3. Southwold has gone completely middle-class.
  4. Anyone is drinking the cask now it’s all keg and gin.
  5. Little Sis can still match me pint for pint now she’s back from Cornwall.

If you’re too tight for time to read to the end, I’d say Yes/No/Yes/Dunno/Yes in that order.

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Even better, a chance to see my niece Emily,  who I hear has acquired good beer drinking habits in her first 3 years at Uni in Canterbury.

Southwold looked gorgeous, I have to tell you.

 

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Quite a decent view from our apartment in St James Terrace, opposite the lighthouse.

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I’ve been a bit sniffy about the town on this blog (to say the least), but you can’t beat views like this. Or the ones across the road.

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The shops show the most obvious change in the last decade (there are never any new Beer Guide places round here, just a new pier).  I won’t claim it was ever Hebden Bridge, but the onset of Fat Face, Tommy Traddles and Joules (no, not that one) has rapidly made it feel like St Ives (no, not the Cambridgeshire one).

As you’ll know, I’m a terrible hypocrite, and was quite happy to spend daft amounts on sour dough and gourmet pies at the deli next morning, just like The Times tells you to.

Ignoring the urgent call of the Sole Bay Inn on our doorstep, and the rumble in our tummies, we kicked off in the Lord Nelson, the sole Beer Guide place for many years.

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It still looks like the town’s classic wet-led pub, and to prove it announced that food has stopped at 2.10p.m. when we turned up.  We agreed that was “A Good Thing“.

And this is as good a pub as you could hope for, reminding me of the unchanging qualities of Adnams’s Castle in Cambridge.

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On my last visit here in 1998 Mrs RM and I introduced a Norwegian friend to the joys of classic Adnams pub design, the Bitter, and English banter.  She coped rather better than you’d think, having already been taken to the robust delights of Stoke, Derby and Letchworth (it’s a long story).

But she stopped short of the crisps, as did Sis & Niece now.  Mrs RM and I would have kept Corkers in business for a year.

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We settled for Bitter, Wrecked Again and Ease Up from a much larger range than in 1998. That probably tells its own tale.

Served in the hideous Adnams glass, I thought the Bitter no different from the one I have at the Castle. Cool, refreshing, good enough. (NBSS 3).  But not stellar.

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Proper pubs need a proper mix of custom. The Nelson had locals wearing raincoats, youngsters, dog walkers, women standing up for no reasons, and sophisticated pub goers correctly seated on the settles.

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More pictures of all of those, and the most expensive beach huts in England, tomorrow.

For twenty points, take a close look at the photo below and tell me what’s wrong.

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27 thoughts on “SOUTHWOLD – ALWAYS CHANGING, ALWAYS THE SAME

  1. The Lord Nelson is one of my all time favorite pubs. Beautiful town too. I seem to be in the minority, but I love Southwold. Some great morning walks too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t say you’re on the minority !
      The beach huts fetch £200,000, and that attracts the same folk you’d get in the South of France. That’s not Southwolds or the South of Frances fault.

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  2. Stayed in Southwold a good few summers ago. Lord Nelson was by far the best boozer in the rather pleasant, yet over gentrified resort. I reckoned I saw Bill Nighy supping in there on more than one occasion, but the rest of the family sent me to Specsavers! Defo was him. The question for me though is, why is there only one pub in GBG when Adnams own all the pubs and the brewery is at the heart of the town. Surely, surely, surely the beer quality should be the same in every pub in the town. Okay Yah!

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    1. I couldn’t have put that better myself. 10-20 years ago there were 3 or 4 pubs in the Guide, all good. Not as if the village gastropubs are better in my experience. More reflections later.

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  3. Forgot to say … going down there in August after GBBF and Dorset, so I will be doing my own assessment of Southwold and environs. The seafood restaurant in the wooden sheds by the little harbour/quay is particularly good and as far as I know is still BYO drink and bread – I feel a large bottle of Schneider Weisse coming on with my seafood platter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For my share of 20 points, the dimpled handled glasses and tankards hanging from the bar. Mudge already has the bar stools and Leon the twild. I personally abhor the fancy writing on the no twild blackboard. The coffee machine has no place on the bar. The range of savoury snacks is too large.

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  5. I have seen the word Twild more and more on your blog Martin,
    I think it is a derogatory name for Children,i know you have almost grown up Children who are now teenagers,we always called our Children Kids even into the late teens.
    I think the term Twilds is from people who dont like kids and probably have never had them.
    My wife took great offense to one of my best mates who used to come round our house to play chess and the like,as he was always slagging off children,which we had at the time,he was married but did not want any children.
    Sorry about this reply but the word twild really bugs me.

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    1. Don’t apologise Alan. You’re absolutely right, and I was just being childish myself in nicking the term from another blog. I will stop doing it.

      As I often say, I like children in pubs, it’s bad parents I can’t cope with.

      On the other hand, I would never call children “kids”. That’s the term for a baby goat and rarely seems to be used in an affectionate manner !

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      1. I did know it was a term for a baby goat,but where i live it is a common term for Children.
        I often hear people saying come on kids and my daughter uses the term,probably after being called it herself for many years.

        Liked by 1 person

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