With only four Guide entries left in Essex for the year, and the rest of the country impassable due to a half inch of snow, Maldon was the only option for our Saturday by the sea. Mrs RM kindly agreed to join me for beer and chip tasting duties.
Maldon is a favourite of ours; all the coastal charm of North Norfolk without the North Londoners to ruin it. And Marine Parade is one of our best public parks, though there were no takers for the splash pool that entertained our boys a decade ago (less so the Shakespeare in the Park, methinks).
On a crisp chilly Saturday morning the walk along the River Blackwater is magical, until I tell Mrs RM I’d only paid for an hours parking and she’d better get a move on.
Not exactly coachloads, but certainly plenty of Volvos parked up carrying spritely Chelmsford OAPs to their weekly walk along the Hythe and lunch at the Queen’s Head.
As with nearly all of Essex, these places are unpretentious, well-run and attractive. Mrs RM wished I’d put an extra quid in the parking meter so we could have had a proper lunch, but that’s life with a professional ticker.
I irritate her further by stopping to photograph examples of apostrophe abuse (you can talk, says Pub Curmudgeon),
and the brightly coloured streets that rival Southwold,
We’d actually visited a week before on the way to West Hanningfield, only to find the Good Beer Guide opening times wrong, as is mandatory for micropubs.
To cheer me up, a nice big beer board only partly obscured by Christmas tinsel.
And a beer list on the table. Wow. Almost continental.
It’s a very characterful two storey building with plenty of space to hide if you want. Of course, Mrs RM chose the high table with the Daily Mail on it.
The Daily Mail, Pipers and a pint of Kings, which one sip told me was almost as good as the pint from the jug in the Dove this year.
Apparently Mighty Oak had some free beer tasting at their nearby brewery. Mrs RM looked like a sad puppy as I admonished her on the sin of beer tasting.
We would have had a pork pie but the Friendly Fryer looked unmissable (photos still on Mrs RM’s phone).
The entertainment came from a beery group, one of whom was a CAMRA member determined to get them all 20p a pint discount, even though he hadn’t got his membership card. I don’t think he was local, my note says “Whiney CAMRA“.
Another top Essex micro-cum-Tap. Shame they had to spoil it a bit with their vulgar French…
I got back to the car with a minute to spare, chips in hand. I left Mrs RM a couple.