People do odd things in summer.  Families of Guardian readers leave their Sussex homes and camp in the Somerset levels, singing jolly songs as they cycle past pumping stations, endless bungalow and drains.  Sounds very much like March.

All your favourite places
View of drain from a bridge
Decommissioned phone box now holds craft beer recipe books

I lasted an hour; an hour punctuated by having to say “Good morning !” at least 17 times, grumble grumble, before admitting to myself it had an austere beauty.


The highlight is the Burrow Mump, built in the 19th century to provide pre-pint exercise for visitors to the King Alfred pub.

Walk to the top works off 0.35 of a pint
Micro (RIP)

From the top you can see the remains of an abandoned micro pub (above) and the riches of the Somerset levels, including Street retail outlet and Bridgwater Morrisons, allegedly visited by a famous tourist in the 1st century AD.

“And did those feet, in ancient times…”

I made sure my feet were first in the King Alfred, standing outside at 11.53am.  Of course, the door was open, the Old Boy already sinking his Butcombe (not a euphemism, Russ), but I’d at least beat the inevitable hordes of tourist diners.

King Alfred was here
Proper Pub, note lack of reservations
Best seat in the house

I was served by perhaps the cheeriest barperson so far this year.

How ya diddlin‘ ?” up there with “OK, chief” and “Cheers, Bud“.

The soundtrack was like the best bits from Glasto; Pulp’s “Do You Remember The First Time ?” and the Wombat’s “Let’s Dance To Joy Division“. For most regulars, I sense the answer to both is “NO”.

Unfussy, quirky, and high quality, just like my cool Otter (NBSS 3.5). I feel compelled to order Otter at every opportunity these days, it’s a bellweather pint.


The menu is short, interesting and cheap, so I had an almost healthy vegetable pie and chips. A pub lunch that was almost perfect and will no doubt inflame Russ and the Prof with envy.

Yum (again)

A group of chaps came in loaded with gear and began chatting to our star barmaid about her career.

Were you here when the floods decimated the area and caused untold distress


Oh, that’s a pity

Awkward pause.

We’re doing a documentary about it“.



  1. You have to have people to have reservations! King Alfred doesn’t count. Sadly reservations are bums on seats, pounds in the till. Is it better to have foody places and thriving pubs or casual drinkers who can’t be relied on/don’t really exist anymore in a lot of places and pubs closing?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The King Alfred was actually flooded during the Somerset Levels floods and even when the water went down a bit was still surrounded on three sides. It became a sort of HQ for local relief efforts when it became apparent that the Environment Agency didn’t give much of a toss.
    Even as a confirmed carnivore, I’m a bit jealous of your veggie pie, it looks lovely.
    Haven’t taken much notice of popular beat music for a few years so not familiar with The Wombats, but that track was great.


  3. “People do odd things in summer.”

    You missed mentioning in either of the two photos above this that they could be future micropub sites. 🙂

    “Decommissioned phone box now holds craft beer recipe books”

    To be fair there’s some great beer names in there; ‘Rector’s Daughter’, ‘Ghost Runner’, ‘Koontz’. 🙂

    “before admitting to myself it had an austere beauty”

    I particularly like Northmoor Green or Moorland smack dab in the middle of the OS map. Does the name depend on how much rain they’ve had?

    “built in the 19th century to provide pre-pint exercise for visitors to the King Alfred pub.”

    And future site of a micropub.

    “Micro (RIP)”

    Aha! (you can tell I don’t read ahead before commenting)

    “And did those feet, in ancient times…””

    At least some of the pastures are green at least. Lots this year are a fairly dull brown I believe.

    “(not a euphemism, Russ),”

    I always thought Butcombe was an instrument to aid in not getting willnots.
    (caution: link below not safe for work)

    “King Alfred was here”

    Are you sure he left? He could have faked his death and stayed here. Sort of like an early Elvis. 😉

    “Best seat in the house”

    Perfect! (thumbs up)

    ““How ya diddlin‘ ?” ”

    Um, diddlin’ over here sometimes has a different connotation.

    “and will no doubt inflame Russ and the Prof with envy.”

    You are correct good sir.

    ““We’re doing a documentary about it“.”




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