Back into Wales for the fifth time this year, and the mysterious village of Churchstoke.
I thought it sounded familiar, but I’d never been before, so I looked up those population stats that Duncan loves so much.
I think we should be told more about the statistically improbable male/female balance.
In fact, Churchstoke is familiar only because the bottled water I buy from Co-Op comes from there, a tenuous claim to fame.
Wiki tells me there’s a shopping centre called Harry Tuffins (sadly now the more anonymous Churchstoke Shopping Centre) which seems quite generously sized for 706 people, but I guess there’s more women than men.
St.Nicholas Church apart, it’s not a tourist draw, despite the hills. Visitors head for Montgomery cafes, or press on towards the exciting new Newtown bypass.
Anyway, the Horse & Jockey was open, which gives it near mythical status in Mid Wales.
“The landlord rarely gets the same beer in twice and the beams in the bar area are smothered with various pump clips”
says WhatPub, as if that’s a commendable feature.
The landlord, a real gem, is surprised to see me but is a superb host. “No point not being open. You don’t get any trade that way”. True, that.
Joy of joys, just the one beer on today.
Quite a lot of cider custom, said our host. But the Flying Monk was fresh and tasty (NBSS 3), which puts it in the top 20% of Welsh GBG pubs this year, anyway.
It looked a pub for the evening rather than midweek lunchtime, and the beamed restaurant area is distinctly old-school.
One for the purist, rather than the purist’s mum, perhaps. But the leatherette wasn’t bought in an MFI sale.
Very complimentary about the local CAMRA branch too, something I don’t always hear. The broccoli must be cooked perfectly here.