The next day in Mid Wales turned up a genuine corker on the Brecon Canal.
Despite the heavy food trade, and the families in wellies walking the canal (joking, I love to see children in pubs, just not their obnoxious parents), the Royal Oak in tiny Pencelli was a model all-rounder.
I’ll overlook the odd table reservation.
There were loads of tables of different sizes so I didn’t feel I’d be getting the stares from the families of four like I do in micropubs, where all the seating assume large groups.
At the bar I was acknowledged with “Hi, be with you in a minute” by a startlingly good barperson who then almost chided me for taking the smallest table.
“Oooh no, have a bigger table through there with the view“.
I rarely get such consideration as a sole drinker, and I decided to stay for a late lunch.
You can tell good staff when they day “I’ve got the lamb pie left” rather than “We’ve only got“.
The lamb and mint pie was the easy decision, choosing between Rev James, Plum Porter and Tiny Rebel was tougher.
I whinge a lot about mediocre beer, but this Rev J was marvellously rich and fruity (NBSS 4), the sort of ale where you go “taste this!”
And yes, they were selling plenty of cask.
The Landlady along to “3 Little Birds“, seemingly operated by her daughter from the house across the road, and retired gentlefolk hummed along to “Kiss Me“.
If only the pie hadn’t had one of those flaky lids that make such a mess.
Having walked out on the canal from Brecon I thought I’d just carry on to Talybont and redo the Star.
Being the summer holidays and all, it was shut, and 4 van loads of squaddies were drinking Stella in the sun outside the White Hart.
I made do with an Americano and frankly scary chocolate flapjack at Talybont Stores amongst the lycra, and set off back.
NB Eight children and four adults passed me on their cycles on the canal towpath, and every child said “Thanks Mister‘ or” “Cheers”
The youth of today, eh?