“Where’s Cradley Heath ?” asked Charles, one of the more difficult questions to answer, along with;
- “Why is that pub shut when it should be open ?”
- “What do you think of these shoes ?” and
- “Why ?”
Possible acceptable correct answers included;
- The Black Country
- North of Cradley (not the Worcestershire one)
- Staffordshire (old counties)
- Rowley Regis
- near Halesowen
- Just below Merry Hill
- West Midlands
The OS extract is a bit of a jumble, but at least there’s a station.
Only a Beer Guide pub would bring you here, I’d guess. Or faggots.
Oddly for a Scotsman living in Norfolk, Charles is an aficionado of faggots, and like the Childcatcher sniffed these out as soon as we hit the High Street.
Scriven & Thornton Fine Foods is a stunning butchers, resembling a little slice of Bury Market brought indoors. We stocked upon pork and apple pies for the journey home, pausing to scoff them in a truck stop at Welford.
That was the highlight of our tour of Cradley Heath Central. We resisted the lure of the GBG regular Spoons,
and the potential pre-emptive Club.
Plenty of micropub potential elsewhere;
On the walk to our GBG pub you have interesting street names, views to The Hills, and industrial estates of the first order.
The Plough & Harrow is the only real ale in a vast area between the Heath and Halesowen, a solid community pub in the Tipton style beloved of pub tickers.
Pleasingly, it opened five minutes early, so we were installed in the best seat in the house by 10.55am. Outside Spoons and Stonegate, a rare pint before midday.
The signage suggest beers from Worcestershire, but this is a solid line-up from Shropshire, Herefordshire and, of course, Snowdonia.
In an ex-Banks’s pub, it was necessary to go for the Original ((Mild to you and me).
The Original was fine (NBSS 3), but Charles instinctively knew it was a bad choice. The pub, though, was where you want to be if you find yourself in Cradley Heath at 11am.
Some astonishingly large sandwiches of a style last seen in a Salvation Army café in 1977,
the award winning pumpkin from the Halesowen Allotment Fayre,
and a soundtrack from 1980. Even Charles recognised “The Tide Is High“.
After a succession of modern bars and brewery taps, this was a little throwback to an earlier time, when gentlemen wore pullovers and ties and pubs weren’t redecorated every three years.
And, no, Charles didn’t leave his faggots under the table.