Probably an inadvisable title, but an irresistible one. Unless you can think of a better one. “Going off to croak in Basingstoke ” maybe ?
Perhaps I’d be better off giving it the unofficial title of “Greater Hartley Wintney”
But I come to praise the Base (as the kids call it), and the newish Premier Inn is the perfect starting point for a tour of the highlights.
To get the feel for a town, just do 4 things;
- Walk aimlessly for an hour
- Breakfast in Spoons; observe the ratio of Professional Drinkers to Gentlefolk
- Visit the local museum (if it’s free)
- Have a pint in the Beer Guide pub and mark it in pink in your GBG
The aimless walk was a gem. Observe the brutalism,
the quite gorgeous pedestrianisation,
and see what you could have won if you’d turned up a week earlier.
Luckily you’ve still time to catch T.R. Dallas at the Irish Centre this month (top).
I thought the town was great, with some little alleys, a decent slope, and a sense of well-being as long as you stayed clear of the Festival Place shops. The Staines of the West, I say, and they can have that one for free.
The Spoons (sadly named after M********d) was everything you want from a Tim Martin establishment. Pokey, dingy, full of early morning Carling drinkers, and serving an excellent “small” breakfast at 11.55am via the app. At only 500 calories, I could have had four of them. Instead, I had four flat whites.
I carried the resultant buzz into the town museum, the best I’ve been in outside Doncaster, which is another accolade to be proud of.
The highlights are some tiling from a pub called the Grapes (wild guess) and a recreation of a 1960s Basingstoke kitchen (or a 2018 Shoreditch cereal café , who knows).
Still feeling the love for the Base. I climbed to the Bounty,
It’s a great looking basic pub, three rooms and an outside toilet. The sort you’d make a long detour for.
For once, you could guess what I had and you’d be right.
Really great flat Otter (banish that image) enjoyed to a soundtrack of “This Charming Man” and some grime that Mrs RM would have recognised, but not me.
Sadly, it was just me enjoying the calm. But I did enjoy it, and I stayed as the barman began to whistle a strangely familiar tune.
It turns out it was the radio, but I complimented him anyway.