Mrs RM was in combat-ready mode at the weekend, preparing herself for a new IT consultancy job that started with a day in Maidenhead. She didn’t make me travel with her.
To calm her nerves, I suggested a relaxing afternoon at the new Wetherspoons in Downham Market, half an hour up the line into Norfolk and only £8 each Super Off-Peak.
Fear not, it’s by no means as exciting as it looks.
This is the view out of the window of the 13:44 as it stops near Littleport for a picnic.
No-one, except my curry mate Charles, would regard Downham as a Good Day Out, but apparently folk with fishing rods enjoy the Ouse.
The case for a visit revolves around a clock,
an old-fashioned department store that sells blenders,
and a few bits of Victoriana on the pebbled houses.
Mrs RM didn’t even see this highlights package; she’d popped straight in the Whalebone to log into WiFi and send work e-mails while I ordered her a late lunch and then did the tour.
All of you who have been in newish Spoons in Oakham or Huntingdon or St Ives will be familiar with the Whalebone layout.
A few cosier areas either side of a route to the high tables and the bar, where the Six Nations is being shown. It’s not the Green Dragon and has a higher pashmina count (4).
How seriously is it taking its attempt at a Good Beer Guide entry in 2020/1 ?
The beer board doesn’t quite match up with reality.
But I only have eyes for this rarely seen classic.
“Would you like a sampler ?” I’m inevitably asked. I politely decline.
Mrs RM has perched herself by the Cutty Sark. It’s the last free table in town, and then only because it’s near the door. Spoons have slowed their openings programme but you can’t go wrong in market towns like Downham that don’t even have a Wimpy.
A Margherita shared (70/30) between us, a pint of Punk, and very decent Peculier; 6 billion calories for less than £9. Take that, Paris.
Mrs RM settles in for the free WiFi and giggles at Facebook, so I pop back for that Green Jack and a flat white (also excellent here).
Seriously, the Trawlerboys (£1.49 with my endless vouchers) is tremendous; cool, rich, complex. Mrs RM says so.
I suggest a tour of Downham industrial architecture. Mrs RM tells me to do one.