Two pints down for Si, and a dead pub in the bag, with no discernible alteration in the BRAPA mood.
Child Okeford was five minutes up the road, noticeably hillier as we got into Cranborne Chase territory. Si became animated as we drove right through the village without spying the Saxon Inn, which I assured him was there when I ticked it some time in the last 20 years (I don’t date my visits and throw my old GBGs away).
“Ah, it’s in Gold Hill“, he finally said, solving the usual Guide geographical trick.
Tucked in a courtyard off the road, too.
Simon’s bladder was holding up, but I couldn’t face another lemonade/coffee combo and set off for those photos of rural beauty you love.
Yes, tonight you could have been watching a play about a boy who kept complaining about his gammy knee.
Actually, it was a bit plain, and I was desperate to remind myself what the Saxon looked like so I popped in and did my “Taxi for BRAPA” spiel.
Of course, Si was deep in conversation about BRAPA and Hull and gammy knees, so he had to be dragged away from what looked a little cracker of a local.
In the immortal word of Jimmy Webb, “By the time he gets to Shaftesbury he’ll be desperate for a wee”.
Interestingly, though not for Si, at that precise moment some prisoners (actual, not metaphorical) were painting the public loos in Shaftesbury. I only know that because it was an even bigger story than “BRAPA In Dorset” on Radio Solent.
Luckily I’d parked twenty yards away from the Ship, which looked magnificent. Despite his increasing desperation, Si still insisted I stand in the middle of the road (not the group) to take his photo.
Then he barked out his beer order and dashed for the loo, probably going the wrong way.
As he did his business I bought his pint and sat in the alcove, beautifully positioned for intrusive photography.
This shot captures the whole, joyous pub.
Increasingly, I can tell “Proper Pub” in an instant. Some would think it a bit blokey ad basic, but Martin the Owl loved it, and sang along to “Air that I Breathe” and “Summer of ’69”. As did the rest of the pub.
The beer was actually not great (Butcombe NBSS 3), but it seemed a point better in an NBSS-enhancing atmosphere.
Not an obvious GBG entry, but as a giant dog attacked Si for the 3rd time I declared it “The Best Pub in Dorset Apart From The Digby Tap“, which it probably isn’t.
We had an hour’s free parking, so I treated Si to some Hovis tourism on Gold Hill (again).
Shaftesbury looked in great nick; shame there’s just the one GBG entry.
For Si, the best was yet to come…