The pub-ticking, gig-going life can be a bit repetitive. 3 trips to Bristol in a month, 2 to Salisbury in a week. Until the embargo lifts, I don’t even know if I’m visiting pubs not long for this Beer Guide world.
Anyway, my last two ticks in Wiltshire’s GBG17 chapter were fairly typical of the county, if not the town.
As you’ll see from the state of my Millennium Navigator, the trip down the A354 from Salisbury to Cranborne Chase for the End of the Road is a well-worn path, made more exciting by a campervan and tiny lanes at Tollard Royal.
Before we got the campervan we used to stay in Salisbury Spoons Hotel the night before the festival, always astonished by how basic and pubby the GBG pubs were (the one with the mummified hand apart). Nothing new in the Guide for a while though.
I’m sure Quidhampton wouldn’t see itself as a suburb of Salisbury, but it only took twenty minutes to walk there from the station, and the one street village lacks the separate life of Wilton.
With little Saturday lunchtime trade, they seemed uncommonly pleased to see me, and it was a comfy, if entirely average village pub. Locals relaxing to a soundtrack of “Hotel California“, “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and “Summer of ’69” – almost Mudgie heaven.
The Exmoor Ale was an exemplar though (NBSS 3.5), far cooler and smoother than the disappointing stuff I’ve had in Somerset.
And they said “Bye” when I left.
Sports clubs continue to bulk up the Beer Guide without apparent reason, though the dreaded “Rugby” club may well be a secondary tap for Hop Back.
A giant complex, with a caravan park, playing fields alongside the Old Sarum earthworks, and children running wild fuelled by fizz (not prosecco). Simon may at least get lost when he arrives here in 2043, if “Rugby” hasn’t been banned by then.
I don’t know if there are any clubs in the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors; but Salisbury Rugby Club is surely a contender.
The GFB was OK (NBSS 3), which made it at least as good as the often slightly disappointing Hop Back outlets in town, but at least those carry the potential for some BRAPA type pub behaviour.
Blokes in check shirts drinking Thatchers and discussing interest rate differentials were my only company. I was rather distracted by Raheem Sterling’s late goal and sending-off down the road at Bournemouth, clearly being shown for my sole benefit.
At least no-one asked me if I was interested in playing for the Senior XV.
A bit of humour goes a long way in pubs, but for that you have to head for the loos.