November is the cruellest month for pub tickers. Only 30 days to visit pubs, dark by 4, discovering one in four Guide entries unexpectedly shut, and then on Saturday lunchtimes they’re often eerily quiet.
But “Rejoice ! Rejoice !”, December brings with it hordes of once-a-year pubgoers, all queueing at the bar when only one of them is ordering, all without a clue what to do.
But at least they’re happy to pay £3 for the Diet Coke they’re allowed by their employer(my NHS experience, anyway) and £15 for a plate of Xmas-themed slop.
One of my main motivating factors in retiring early, apart from hating offices, was the urgent need to avoid the Christmas Lunch. As Mrs RM will testify, I don’t do Christmas (average spend – zero). “Let every day be a blessing unto ye” etc etc.
But I really don’t know how many of our pubs would survive without the Christmas boost. Those super-profits keep pubs going through Dryanuary.
Today’s photos come from the ivy-covered faded gem that is the White Horse in Norfolk’s Longham,another place I’d never heard of before.
Saturday 1.30 pm. Six cars in the car park. Inside two old blokes at a table drinking Scotch, silently watching the John Lewis ad.
“Can I help you” said one of them.
It was the owner. I’d intruded in his house. When he realised I was after a drink rather than a chat about PPI, he warmed a bit. A little bit.
The Woodfordes was end of the barrel (NBSS 1.5), but I wasn’t disturbing him again to take it back. I left it behind the plant pot and left them to their telly.
The A47 between Swaffham and Dereham lacks the honeypot status of Burnham Thorpe, and this was the highlight of our trip;
I think it used to be a windmill. Becton is another scruffy edge-of-Fen village with an oversized church and a notable absence of lunchtime visitors.
The surviving Windmill is a workaday pub whose outdoor smokers gave me such a stare that I thought better of taking a cutting edge exterior photo.
The interior is not much better, “typical rural Norfolk/Lincolnshire unimproved” is my best attempt at description.
An exciting beer range, but “Worth the Wait” is sadly misnamed. Slightly busier here, but my half was the only cask I saw poured, and again I can’t finish it (NBSS 1.5). I’ve had much better from the local Beeston brewery; this does neither pub or brewery any favours.
Not much for Mrs RM on the design front either.
So two disappointing Guide outlets, notably not redeemed by having 3 pumps and an interesting guest beer on.
I doubt either is going to be flooded with Turkey munchers in December, but no doubt the locals will all be out in force on 24 and 31 December.