Quite a lot of posts from Northumberland now, courtesy of Mrs RM’s faultless driving and the fact you can at least rely on pubs to be open on Sundays.

First stop Stamfordham, in the wilderness between posh Ponteland and posher Corbridge, and a couple of miles from Hadrian’s Wall (which one day I’ll walk).


The village is really just a few terraced streets either side of a giant sloping green, slightly reminiscent of Reeth.   If the Premiership footballers (or they are till May) live in Ponte, goodness knows who lives here.

No-one was up at 11.45 on Sunday morning.  I like having villages to myself.

Stamfordham at rush hour
Terrace, North Side
Not a bank.  Or a micro pub. Yet.

Improbably, the Swinburne Arms is one of two surviving village pubs.


Even more improbably, the door is open at 11.50.  So I go in, expecting to be greeted by a booming “We’re not open yet !” like BRAPA was in Boldon on Saturday.

Proper flags

Or  greeted by folk in pashminas sipping coffees before lunch.  There are coffees being drunk, but only by brightly coloured gentlefolk (top) from the 17th Prudhoe Cycling Chapter.

Aw reeet” they say.

The Swinburne isn’t a Prosecco and Peroni pub.

Proper  pub, proper carpet

US readers will be astonished to hear we talk about the weather while I wait for the landlord to bring the teacakes. They tell me it’s “bitter“, I reckon it’s mild.

Elevenses stop for chap in Middlesbrough kit

I like the beer range a lot, and can read the pump clips, but go for the middle one.  Only now do I notice it’s a gentle pastiche of a certain well known bottled ale (not Punk IPA).

Go for the middle one

I only had a half; I’d told Mrs RM I’d be back within 5 minutes (she was in the car trying to get internet).  But the early opening gave me another 10 minutes to savour that cool and complex Alnwick Brown Ale, which was (drum roll) an NBSS 4.

Broon Ale

You won’t see a better head on a beer today.

What does the sign say ?

On my Grand Tour of the Pub, two other elderly cyclists said hello (they looked 75, but cycling ages you fast, they were probably 30).

They insist I read the hilarious sign on the wall, clearly believing it unique to the Swinburne. I resist the urge to tell them I saw it at the George in Devizes only last week, and assure them I am only the second of those from the excluded list.


They tell me the pub opens up when they get there, and basically survives on their custom (the beer quality suggests it sells more than coffee and tea cakes occasionally).  The power of the grey pound.



  1. Cracking proper pub that. The Plough is the stuff of your nightmares – pashminas, food, nowhere to have a pint etc. The Alnwick Brown pump needs updating though, to Nearer to Newcastle than Zoeterwoude.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Not necessarily.
        On Saturday herself weakened and demanded I take her to the pub and horse copious amounts of cider into her.
        We’ve now moved to the ” we’ll only do Saturday nights ” stage before normal service is quickly resumed.
        I never knew three weeks could be so long.
        But,more importantly,she’s still off the coffin nails.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “What does the sign say ?”

    It looks to be something about underage, then the bottom bit asks that before ordering make sure staff, something something. 🙂

    “US readers will be astonished to hear we talk about the weather while I wait ”

    Heck, we do that over here all the time as well.

    “Only now do I notice it’s a gentle pastiche of a certain well known bottled ale”

    I think the “nearer to Newcastle” gave it away. 😉

    And that sign does look familiar.



      1. “I guess you have weather, Russ, but I doubt it’s the main topic of conversation in sports bars ?”

        Good point. I think the only weather they talk about in sports bars is “weather” their team will win or not. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “It’s the same here in “Weatherspoons”, as folk call them.”

        (slow golf clap, then doffs hat)

        Well done sir!


      1. I believe it was for a while, in fact the penny has dropped now. When S & N closed the Federation Brewery in N’castle they transferred production to John Smith’s at Tad. Last time I heard they aren’t brewing anything at John’s in Tad so I’ve no idea where they brew it now? Probably Marston’s (Seriously somewhere in Holland actually).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Worrying where things come from is just basically wrong. That way leads to an obsession worth authenticity and thence madness. Outsource all production to the place with lowest production costs. Probably Wolverhampton then.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “Worrying where things come from is just basically wrong.”


        When I first met my now wife, I thought she was Eskimo as she hailed from way up north. Turned out she was half
        Indian (feather, not dot). When it came right down to it, it didn’t matter where she was from, I loved her all the same. 🙂


        Liked by 1 person

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