25th February 2020
A last tick in a GBG county is always highly anticipated. The thrill of getting the pink marker out,
of writing off or bigging up an entire county, of knowing you won’t to need to slog down the A421 for a while.
Last up is Watchfield,
Nicely placed between the twin cultural highlights of the White Horse and Swindon’s Magic Roundabout, but for me it will always be the last McDonalds before home on trips from the South-West.
It looks like it’s entirely comprised of the Joint Services Command military training centre behind a mile of high fences, but there’s actually a pretty village that Oxon stole from Berks in1974. Newbury Tim no doubt still campaigns for its repatriation.
It’s peaceful, bar the buzz of gunshot from half a mile away.
I’m always suspicious that village pubs without lunchtime food that open at 2pm will have just decided that 4pm is better today, but the Eagle is as good as its word.
One for the purists, this, and a kick in the teeth for the handpump counters,
“I’m glad you were open” I tell the Old School Landlady.
“No point being shut if I’m up” she says, sagely.
Even if you are only open for the Old Boy sipping a half of Doom Bar and watching BBC News.
He’s very chatty, debating the Council Tax increase in Filton (don’t ask), the diesel ban in Bristol (don’t ask) and the family dining pub in the village (“that’s no pub“).
“There’s going to be a price rise next week” says our Landlady.
“I said there’s going to be a price rise next week”
“Sorry, can’t hear you. Bit deaf”
“You’ve got selective deafness, you”
If he wan’t in the pub he’d be drinking Magic Rock cans in front of the TV on his own.
Great place. Great Gents. A Proper Pub. Stafford Paul knows what I mean.