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.

Bucolic of sorts

Five years ago the railway station at Downham improbably housed the National Cider Pub of the YearNational Cider Pub of the Year, now sadly back to a waiting room.

The case for a visit revolves around a clock,

Correct time shown

an old-fashioned department store that sells blenders,

All your non-needs

and a few bits of Victoriana on the pebbled houses.

Note spy camera
Unflattering pic of Vic

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.

Mrs RM makes a dash for the Punk IPA

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.

No need to try before you buy

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.

Sailed from Denver Sluice. Possibly

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.

Not bad

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.

Starting point for tour of industrial heritage


    1. I’m too busy wondering why RM isn’t subbing his piece before submitting it.
      Several phrases repeated.
      Anyway,I’ve done my filth quota for the month with whisky-flavoured condoms.


  1. Entertaining article & photos as ever, – Trawlerboys is brewed by Green Jack not Green Dragon, – Old P having that mellow effect


  2. Interesting that ‘Spoons are advertising price reductions on 30 March 2019 if we leave the EU as planned. What is not clear is whether these are permanent price reductions or whether they are on 30 March 2019 only.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been through Downham Market on the train a few times,and passed it on the A10, several times as well, but never taken the time to stop off there.

    I must do so on one of my Norfolk trips; although I shan’t be calling in at Tim’s place,

    Am booked on a trip around Harvey’s Brewery on 30th March, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting for me that you describe Theakston’s Old Peculier as “rarely seen,” as it is one of the brands I have occasionally seen over here (in bottles); while presumably more common beers like Pedigree, Landlord, and indeed Doom Bar, I have never seen even once.

    Some breweries evidently make a play for the US market, even if just in a small way– getting their bottles into a few select shops– while others decide it’s just not worth the effort?


    1. Good point, Mark. Brand recognition (and a memorably name) clearly a factor in pushing beers into US market.

      Some beers appear in but not on the bar. You can pick up Old Peculier (and Bass !) in our local supermarket but of course that’s not real beer (sorry !). I did have OP in Sheffield’s Head of Steam a few months back, but I guess that was Yorkshire.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Mark, that’s because those who know have decided that it’s not worth sending mass produced c**p quality BBB like Doom bar and Pedigree to USA, you have enough mainstream innocuous beer already. I’m none too sure why Taylor’s doesn’t appear, however they are only a small-medium sized company. I’m guessing, but Theakston’s footprint in USA may be due to them being owned by Scottish Newcastle in the late 70’s and 80’s and keeping some of the larger company DNA in their outlook? Having said that, there is nothing like cask Old Peculier which is still all sent out in wooden casks.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Doom Bar and Pedigree but that the Americans go for an unusual old family name like Theakston, especially if it’s followed by an oddly spelt peculiar beer name like Old Peculier.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks for your replies here, everyone. Yes, Samuel Smiths is all over the place in the US, though only in bottles, and then very often a huge focus on their fruit-flavored beers for some reason. The size of the brewery doesn’t seem to offer a complete explanation, as I’ve seen bottles of St. Peter’s over here, and that is surely quite a small brewery, right?

        There is something to the idea of a super “English sounding” name maybe being part of it. Certainly a brand like Worthington’s (which I’ve occasionally seen in bottles) sounds more obviously English than, say, Doom Bar, just as a name. And I recall seeing bottles of Bombardier over here when they were going all out with the “glorious English” look of their branding a few years back.

        The one I see fairly frequently but can never bring myself to buy is Well’s Banana Bread beer– it just doesn’t sound like something I want to drink!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Mark,
        So really it needs to be a super “English sounding” name like Theakston, Worthington or maybe Ruddles or Wadworths,
        or a fruit beer such as Well’s Banana Bread Beer – which I’ve drunk from a cask some years ago and it wasn’t bad – or one from Sam Smiths or St Peters
        or ideally a fruit beer with a super “English sounding” name.
        Maybe Theakstons Plum Porter would do well – except Titanic use up the entire British plum crop each year.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Fair points. Just shows the importance of branding. ‘English’ sells in America, then you boil that down to ‘what the average American perceives to be English’. Probably some rose tinted view of 60’s Brittannia, cheery cherry chintziness and Merrie Olde Englande from those I’ve spoken to and from the English zone in Epcot.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. “Fear not, it’s by no means as exciting as it looks.”

    Pfft. It’s got a Denver sluice, a common sluice and a moat! 🙂

    “This is the view out of the window of the 13:44 as it stops near Littleport for a picnic.”

    You lot really need that HS2 thingy I’d say. 😉

    “All your non-needs”

    Crikey. That could be a rhyming slogan for them. 🙂

    “Note spy camera”

    Are we certain that’s not a Dialect’s eye peeking out from his stone imprisonment.?

    “Mrs RM makes a dash for the Punk IPA”

    When has she never? 🙂


    Old Peculier for under two quid sounds pretty good!

    “The beer board doesn’t quite match up with reality.”

    Ah. Hence the sneaky word “from” on the blackboard (sigh).

    “But I only have eyes for this rarely seen classic.”

    Fond memories of that one for me.

    “Mrs RM has perched herself by the Cutty Sark.”

    I thought you meant the whiskey!

    “Not bad”

    On all accounts; price, calories and taste. 🙂


    PS – And once again I am waaay behind in post replies (sigh). It’s mostly due to car trouble, crappy weather and catering. Hopefully I can catch up this weekend. At worst it will have to wait till the end of the month when my darling wife goes up north without me for six days. That will surely give me plenty of time to catch up. 🙂

    And with that, I have to take a quick perusal of both Pubs (Hermit and Meister) and then get cracking on my darling wife’s annual Valentine’s poem (as I’m out of town all day Wednesday attempting to read the VINs on roughly 150 vehicles buried under more than 75cm of snow!)


      1. “NB “Read the VINS” ?”

        The Vehicle Identification Number:

        Turns out it was only 60cm (2 feet!) of snow that had fallen on them over the previous three days. Trying to dig through that lot to read the VIN under the front windshield (driver side) was not a lot of fun. 🙂

        Get to do it all over again on Friday at another dealership (sigh).

        So, still woefully behind.


      1. That’s exactly what I was going for SM*… the alliteration. 🙂

        * – I know, not your ‘official’ moniker but it’s getting late and I didn’t want to use Mudgie’s nick for you and vice versa. 😉


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