There are certain towns you can rely on to give you ONE new tick in the Guide every year; take Skipton, Newark or Windsor/Eton (which is a bit like Newcastle/Gateshead except Eton isn’t as smart as Gateshead).
I turned up the week before the date and venue of that wedding was announced; otherwise our American readers can be assured I would have remained in situ until May 29th. I have yet to find an Englishman not obsessed with the Royal Wedding.
Given my vitriol for nearby Maidenhead on this blog, you may be surprised to hear I rate Windsor as one of our great towns. Honest.
Of course, the main reason US tourists come here is to see where David Cameron boarded as a 13 year old. They ought to come for suburban pubs like the Vansittart and the tourist pubs on the cobbled streets by the castle. They looked gorgeous.
And I admired for the first time the wonky shop (it may be my eyesight).
So no chance of mobility scooters and 9am Smooth drinkers, just weekending couples escaping Maidenhead, and American tourists escaping Heathrow. The banter is all about dinner arrangements, and the chances of a ticket for the Royal Wedding*.
There’s small rooms and creaky stairs, but it’s not going to win any “Pub Curmudgeon” awards for proper seating.
But the welcome is wonderful, chattier and cheerier than any micro, and I was given some sort of club discount on a half of Church End Goat’s Milk that was worth a rare NBSS 4. That’s the first time, in at least 200 pub visits since August, that I’ve actually seen our Champion Beer of Britain.
It takes the Crown for beer in Windsor, though across the Thames into Eton you’ll find the Waterman as good as ever.
Fortified by overpriced deli items in Eton’s Budgens, I walked the couple of miles through the fields (NOT corn fields) to the rather less genteel Eton Wick.
There’s an alligator on the roof of the Greyhound.
It’s clearly there for the BRAPA visit later this year. Hopefully it will eat Simon and not Tom.
The Greyhound is the last pub in the village, and is fairly busy with what I’d call “Berkshire Tradesmen” at 4pm. A pub that’s busy at 4pm is normally a winner, and this is a companion piece for the Queen Charlotte.
The half a dozen blokes were all on Carling, another good sign in my book. Carling would have invalidated my tick so I stuck to the Rebellion, a decent and well-priced drop (NBSS 3)
It was the best £1.75 I spent all day (it wouldn’t have bought a packet of Pipers in Eton). Where else could you hear lines like this from people in woolly hats;
“That Dog…t’s a got a thick daughter a’nt he ?”
“That’s his f*****g wife !”
Thank goodness Sir Humphrey Smith wasn’t around.
As I’ve said before, Berkshire gets these basic boozers in the Guide with regularity, even when they don’t pepper the bar with weird guest beers. More power to their elbows.
*I’m joking. You’re only eligible for a Royal Wedding ticket if you attended all the previous home fixtures.