I see the respected town critic Mrs RM has just pronounced on Maidenhead, and it’s not pretty.
“my presentation works in Roland the rat catcher and Cyril the cesspit emptier. It seemed somehow fitting…. “
Reader, I have to tell you I was almost keen to defend Maidenhead after her vitriol against the town as we left on Friday night.
My tick at the Maiden’s Head required a trip through the UK’s second scariest underpass,
and an art shot of the ongoing development next to the world’s grimmest multi-storey.
Appropriately, it was lashing down as I made the High Street, with its welcoming guide to the many and varied town attractions.
Duncan had told me the Maiden’s Head used to be the Hobgoblin, a short-lived chain that left us the rather excellent Ale House in Reading and, er, that’s it.
It’s what we pub folk know as a “town pub“. Not a Spoons, not a Brunning & Price, just a place you go to drink and can probably take your toddlers as well as your Primark bags in.
This one looks like a scruffy Stonegate pub; the Lost Dene if you like.
I enter to “Rock the Casbah“, and left to “Summer of ’69“. That alone tells you enough.
The lady pouring the beers actually tasted the 4Ts, a rare and good thing. The only time when a taster needn’t be a pint.
I half expect it to offer CAMRA discount, but it doesn’t, and the Rebellion Roasted Nuts is a whopping £4.20. And the seating is basically around beer barrels.
So the ale had better be good. And it is, cool and chewy, NBSS 3.5. What a time to be alive.
A Dad drags his two children in, placates them with J20 and crisps, and engages in a long discussion with the barmaid. Oh to have Simon’s hearing.
And I kid you not, the Dad then chinked his Estrella glass with his lad’s J20 and says “Cheers“.
Elsewhere the Prosecco ladies arrived to kick off the weekend humming along to “Don’t You Want Me“, an older couple discussed Brexit, and round the corner pool balls were being flung across the table by toddlers.
I loved it, though I was a bit bemused that folks weren’t all paying a third less in The Bear, till I remembered what a dump of a Spoons that is (source : Mrs RM).
The beer tasting lady said “Thank You” when I took my glass back too. Cracker.
Mrs RM’s away day dragged on beyond 5, so I treated her to a half of warm, buttery Pride (£4.40 a pint) in the bar of the Thames Hotel.
For your £4.40 you get diacetyl, sticky tables and dirty windows obscuring your view to the river.
But, hey, it’s Friday, and you’re in Maidenhead. Deal with it.