Back home, a day’s rest before we finally charged up the campervan and took it out on an exciting Good Friday trip.
Just up the road from Greater Waterbeach, but it’s a start.
There’s a website that tells you where you can park your campervan overnight for nothing, as long as you don’t need electricity and don’t mind the sound of howling (mainly in Chatteris).
Half of them seem to be just off the A10, like the beautifully named Earith Sluice.
Space for two large vehicles, and ideal for a leisurely walk along the Ouse and into the trio of Fen Edge villages making up the former heart of the soft fruit world. At least that’s what the GBG always said about Colne, so it must be true.
It’s no Seaton Sluice, but then nowhere much is. Sadly, the Earith, Colne and Bluntisham Tourist Office was forced to close after targeted visitor numbers (ten) weren’t met in 2016.
Bluntisham is wholly unremarkable but I know our American readers like to see ordinary England.
Mrs RM was up for a pub stop half an hour in, for obvious reasons. Yes, finding out why the White Swan hadn’t made the Beer Guide in my lifetime.
3pm opening on Friday, so there was a gaggle of gentlefolk villagers by the bay window and some lads in polo shirts puffing away outside. The only food appears to be from a Chinese takeaway behind the pub, so the Swan needs to get through a lot of beer.
No-one turned to stare, but on the other hand I’d been greeted more effusively. Most notably two days earlier.
You expect Greene King IPA round these parts, so the Pride was greeted with great joy.
Well, it wasn’t really. Clearly it would be tired and dull.
But no. It near sparkled, as did Mrs RM’s Sea Fury. And in the 20 minute we were there every beer was pulled.
Cool and refreshing and familiar (the right glass helps), both easily NBSS 3+. If it hadn’t been for the inevitable puffing and panting canines I might have stayed for another one.
Bluntisham then unveiled its modest treasures to us on the road to Colne, which sounds like an Orwell sequel that remains unwritten.
We hardly saw a soul for the next mile, the area living down to its reputation as a dormitory village for the employment hotspots of Waterbeach Recycling Centre and Milton Brewery.
If there’s a hard edge to Colne it’s presumably provided by the notorious Taggin Krew who exist solely to wind up grammar pedants.
Most Colne residents are so rich they have thatched cats on their roofs to scare away thatched mice (or the Taggin Krew).
Colne at least has an occasional GBG entry, complete with priceless Pubmaster sign.
For the Fens this is a cutting edge line-up, led by Justin-Ian as one local oh-o-wittily read it out to his wife.
The Green Man is the Old Skool dining local that gets families driving their elderly parents there from Earith for proper food. In Waterbeach they go to the garden centre.
Mrs RM had already headed out to the garden.
Note the “duck” sign.
“The beers not as good” declared Mrs RM, who shared a pint with me 2/3rd to 1/3rd. I thought it was OK and will defend my hometown brewery in foreign places.
Nervous parents were discussing potential ankle injuries before allowing their toddlers to use the bouncy castle, older folk were disgruntled that the early bird cheap menu wasn’t available as it was a Bank Holiday, the blossom was in full bloom, all was well with the world.
There was nothing to do in any of the villages except go to the pub and argue about Brexit.
Back in Earith, the village pub was now being run essentially as an Indian Restaurant with a small local bar.
Mrs RM decided that a pint of Cobra was a better bet than the sad looking IPA. Actually,it was a 660ml bottle. I had a drop, just in case the Crown ever gets in the GBG.
Here’s a pic of our decent curry to make the Southworths jealous.
While we’d been away, the free view had improved from OK to gorgeous.
Am I going soft in my old age ?