It was all going so well. October has brought me a string of trips to interesting places (Levenshulme), quirky pubs (Levenshulme) and great beer (etc).
So why did I have to go to the outer reaches of Milton Keynes on a wet Thursday and spoil it ?
Because the Beer Guide demandeth it, that’s why.
Oddly, the Olde Swan is lumped under Woughton on the Green on it’s Guide debut, even though tucked between the Hospital and Open University. Quite why Milton Keynes CAMRA don’t claim it is your quiz question for the day.
Roundabouts apart (and Redditch is worse), I do find MK a quite appealing mix of parkland, canals and occasional loveliness.
So, the good news first. Woughton-on-the-Green is a really attractive suburb/village alongside the Grand Union, reminding us that MK is actually in an architecturally pleasing but dull county.
Worth an hour of your time to walk through the autumn leaves, being looked at suspiciously by locals.
Then the clock struck 12,
and it was on to the Swan.
A pleasing old building, ruined by the Chef & Brewer hoardings.
You’ll have your own views on whether I’m a grumpy old man or not. If unsure, ask Mrs RM. I don’t mind Christmas and Halloween tat, if I’m honest, but they’re always the same.
“Please wait to be seated“, the sign said. I never wait, and slipped past the security guards to get a glimpse at the hand pumps to the right.
As exciting a range of beers as you’ll find in the MK suburbs, no doubt. The craft offer was Stella, Peroni, John Smith’s Smooth and Aspalls.
Sticking to my New (Beer Guide) Year pledge, I had an overpriced half of IPA and looked for somewhere to enjoy it.
In vain. All tables were set for dining.
Just then, I spied a tiny space by the loos with a couple of posing tables to the left of the bar (the half with keg fonts and no hand pumps). It screamed “Non-dining scum sit here“, which I did.
The look on the ramblers’ faces tells you I’d nicked 50% of their seating. They hated me. I assured them that the IPA was so dull (NBSS 2) I’d be gone by the time they’d decided on their drinks.
Given that they took ten minutes to decide they were all having coffees, that gave me plenty of time to be entertained by banter about “short legs” and “robust finances“. Luckily they spoke loudly, drowning out the terrible pap music.
One chap got his holiday snaps out (a short break in Aylesbury, I think). I was tempted to ask for a look.
If I sound particularly grumpy, there are 3 reasons.
- This pub is in the Beer Guide. The Coopers in Burton isn’t. This joke isn’t funny anymore.
- Despite warnings, I banged my head on the low beams.
- There will soon be overexcited parents banging on our door expecting treats for their children. I will be down the pub. But which one ?