Mrs RM is coping quite well with the departure of our eldest son, but occasionally will shout “Need a drink” just when I’m finishing a blog post.
A month into the new GBG year, and our nearest new Guide pub is already an hour away (in Milton Keynes).
So here’s a trip close to home, walkable (with resentment) along the River Cam.
Fen Ditton is one of the Cambridge honeypots. A mile out of town, the garden of the riverside Plough was one of the original destination dining pubs, beloved of office Christmas lunch organisers, and the place you’d camp out to watch the May bumps. More fun to stand under the A14 and hear the starting gun echo around the bridge if I’m honest, as the sight of that branded Adnams glassware can offend.
You can observe quintessential England in every corner of the village. Over-manicured garden, tasteful sculptures, six cars in the driveways, Lyons tea signs etc etc.
You can park by the church and take a stroll across Stourbridge Common to the Cambridge United ground for excitement. As away fans over the centuries will know, the approaches to the Abbey are lined with bovine danger.
And, yes, that is a pop-up tent at the top of the photo…
In a week when a herd of cows drove a walker to jump into the Cam at Waterbeach, we escaped with our lives, and took refuge in the King’s Head.
I suspect only the King’s Head in Wilburton better deserves the title “locals pub“.
No food, 4pm opening, a cheery welcome, Greene King IPA on the pumps, and determinedly catering for the boozing needs of real local folk. And there are few higher compliments I can give.
Unexpectedly, there was a gorgeous garden that wouldn’t look out of place on Grantchester Meadows housing what felt like a private house party we were gatecrashing. A pub that will never entertain the Beer Guide selling just IPA, of course, but definitely Beer Guide quality ale on this visit (NBSS 3).
In complete contrast, round the corner the Ancient Shepherds has reopened to reclaim it’s place as the 16th century gastropub of choice for retired gentlefolk, and fans of Adnams craft keg.
No doubt some people turn up just for the hand wash.
It’s the beer range beloved of every upmarket dining pub in South Cambridgeshire, with a competent Ghost Ship (NBSS 3) and the Ease Up IPA that Mrs RM rates so highly because “it’s cold“.
This was our second visit since Summer opening, as Mrs RM has rather taken to the styling, the garden and the evil craft keg. But having ate no more than 2 packets of crisps there, we’re hardly their target audience. If it ever reclaims a Beer Guide place relinquished in the last century, Simon will find much menu bemusement to amuse him here.
The best views of the wobbly old building are from the garden.
Almost idyllic, though it’ll take more than keg Adnams and canned Beavertown to drag Mrs RM up the Cam towpath again, I’ll wager