That’s right, lure you in with a KLF line and then burn a million quid in front of you. (Hoping even Pub Curmudgeon will get that reference).
One of the downsides of following the Beer Guide trail is that you’re limited in the number of pubs you can revisit (if you did all the pubs in Leicester or Birmingham on a crawl you’d be dead).
Equally, if a town such as Wymondham never gets a new Guide entry, you might not visit for years on end, and miss its remarkable transformation from quaint middle-class town to quaint middle-class town in just 20 years.
So here we have a proper train station, a dismantled railway, a moot hill, several pits and some Abbey remains that managed to hold our attention for more than 5 minutes. Perhaps a first.
Scarcely believably, this tiny place apparently has 14,000 residents, presumably living in the sprawling suburbs to the north.
The other remarkable feature of Wymondham is the number of Conservative Women Outfitters, on a par with Great Malvern.
Despite that, it’s clearly not as essential a stop on the Norfolk tourist trail as Dereham, but attractive enough to count Bill Bryson and “the bloke out the Darkness” as residents, it seems.
We didn’t see Justin in town, but there were about 300 Retired Gentlefolk on stroll(er)s, staring intently at buildings like this .
Abbey apart, officially the standout is this Market Cross, surely a future micro pub if the Tourist Office ever gets bored. They could call it “Cask at the Cross”, or something equally witty.
That might allow it to confuse people looking for the Cross Keys, the other occasional half-timbered Guide pub.
That’s impressive enough, but you really come here for the 14th century Green Dragon, which is where Mrs RM was headed, at a ferocious pace.
Now it’s at least a decade since I last came here, and I had an image of a museum piece of a gastropub, selling Adnams and Wherry to the grey parade.
I got the beers right.
But everything else about this place was local boozer heaven. BRAPA will love this place, and I know this one will still be here when Si gets here in 2025.
A cheery, unpretentious public house, with couples and mates talking rubbish in a mid-afternoon drinking session.
Two blokes were holding a conversation on Skype with their wife (presumably only wife to one of them), who seemed to be trying to get them to do some shopping. I didn’t rate her chances.
They seemed set for the duration, as was Mrs RM who was enjoying a Moongazer/Facebook session of her own. The beer was as good as that lacing suggests.
All the women in the pub were drinking pints, which I don’t comment on lightly, but I think it says something about the character of the pub. Conversations about trips to see the Ashes in Oz, events from 1986, and pilgramages to Wicklewood (five miles away) were absolutely thrilling.
We may have caught it at its best, after the lunch trade, but this was a joy of a pub visit, with a tight range of quality beers and enthusiastic topers in an atmospheric pub.
NB Next time you meet me, ask about Wicklewood PCT.