On this blog it’s now Monday, sometime in early April, and I’d arranged to have a quiet pint in Edinburgh with the legend that is Stafford Paul before my convoluted return to Waterbeach (3 changes, £28).

I had an hour before our 11am meet-up, and momentarily entertained a jog up Arthur’s Seat, but entertained myself in Calton Cemetery and up on the hill instead, as toilet facilities are limited on the Seat (oddly).


For our American readers
Proper hilly city

Ten minutes before opening at the Abbotsford, just enough to get a shot of a classic New Town building I’d missed.

Future Brewhouse & Kitchen

Then I hovered outside the Abbotsford, looking shady.

Mrs RM went here, so must be good

And waited…


And waited.

No sign of Paul.

The staff opened upon the dot of 11, I peered in to remind myself of its treasures, the regulation Old Boy scuttled past me with his £3.60 in hand.

Paul is NEVER late for a pub.  I knew he’d have been in a couple of bars already in order to save pubs, but I was so worried I called him.

Paul, are you OK ?”

I’m in the Abbotsford with a pint of Kelburn. Where are you.”

What ! How ?

Never knowingly seen without a pint

He wasn’t there when I peered in, so he must have climbed down the laundry shute or something.

Anyway, he’d made sure the Kelburn had been pulled through, so it was an easy choice.

Fantastic pumps remind me of Hamburg

Worth coming for the handpumps alone (compare with these), but also a gorgeous cool, silky Red Smiddy, as rich as the wood.  How often do you get NBSS 3.5 beer at 11am on a Monday ?. Five beers didn’t seem too much here.


Proper seating, immaculate service, and some very cheery company from a couple from Nottingham who Paul had already met at the CAMRA AGM.

Look at the scummy head on my beer”  I gabbled to them.

Scummy head !!!

Marvellous pub.  If I’d seen the subsequent comments then I’d probably have stayed for a haggis lunch.


I should have stopped there, but we had to go to Bennets Bar, didn’t we ?


You’ve got about 4 hours to decide whether that one needs an apostrophe.


  1. The Abbotsford is a wonderful pub, both in terms of pubitechtural value and the diverse range of high quality beer they serve. And oh the Haggis dinners. Proper Pub Food! It surely must get into any ‘Top 20 Pubs’ in the UK?

    Thought you would have explained the Scottish High Fonts for the benefit of foreign readers?


  2. That Capital Building isn’t one to get too close to. It is the former head office of the Caledonian Insurance Company, which became part of Guardian Royal Exchange, for whom I worked for a few years starting in the late 70s. It was notorious for being popular with ‘jumpers’ and in fact one of my colleagues at GRE in Leeds went up there to end it all after being disfigured in a bad road accident. I’ve never been in the building but always check the rooftop if ever passing.


  3. You found a decent beer (and from my local Brewery). Celebrations have broken out across Scotland. A motion has been laid down at Holyrood seeking a new national holiday.

    BBC Scotland has declared you to be a “national treasure” and there is a petition calling for St Martin to replace St Andrew. Not many of those fonts around these days – used to be the mainstream (air pressure) method of dispensing cask beer but the imperialist handpump gradually prevailed.


    1. Not sure about being a “national treasure”. Sounds a bit like battered haggis or kilts.

      I have to keep saying this because some folk jump on the rubbish beer them – Scottish pubs are generally fantastic, and often busier then their English equivalents.

      Take back control over proper beer dispense, Duncan.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But you are joining a pantheon of greats including James Kelman, Muriel Gray and at least one of the Krankies. Not sure why battered haggis or even smoked sausage isn’t a staple south of the border. Something for the Scary Hikers to look into surely (may have their name wrong).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, the Abbotsford is a wonderful pub with it’s marvellous interior with an island-style servery, the now rare Scottish High Fonts and Autovacs to guarantee a Scummy head – and none of that “we’re not open yet, you’ll have to go and wait outside” nonsense.
    It was ideal for my third pint but a but too soon after breakfast for a Haggis dinner.
    I’ve known that Nottingham couple for nearly thirty years, mainly from parties in Wolverhampton.


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