25th February 2020
I would have worked Holt into the title, but you’d have thought I meant I was in Norfolk, and I can’t have you fearing for my welfare like that.
If anything, Wiltshire’s Holt is even posher than the one the Pashmina Paulines and Peters use for their 3rd stop on the way to the Norfolk coast.
Residents definitely say they live in Bradford on Avon, not Melksham, and hordes of National Trust card waving gentlefolk descend on the gardens, if they ever open.
This week has given me enough blog material to last a week, as well as thirteen new GBG ticks AND three completed counties.
But the Old Ham Tree isn’t in the Guide, and with CAMRA antipathy towards family brewers (see: Discourse) it might never make it. It looks quite posh, though it’s the even smarter Tollgate over the road with its show-off 9.30am opening (it really did) that made the Guide recently.
I’d set off from home without a clue where I’d stay, and this was the cheapest Booking.Com could come up with at short notice. Clean and great WiFi. All you need.
I ‘spose it could get in the Guide, I thought, and at least it was Wadworth’s.
An efficient young lady booked me in, explained how the kettle worked, cooked my meal (probably) and conducted banter with the locals while I admired the rare horizontal table football underneath the Herbie Hancock Head Hunters alliteration art piece.
She pulled a good pint, tight head, too. Perhaps the 6X lacked the Tuesday turnover to rise above NBSS 3, but a bit of richness was all it lacked.
I was being the model lone traveller. “Hello, booking for Taylor”, “Pint of 6X and the Penang Curry, please”, “Oh, thanks very much” etc etc.
You can eat where you like, but unless you’re near the bar you feel a bit out of it. Two lads, two ladies, a quiet night, but they played “Sultans of Swing” and Devo’s “Satisfaction“, just for me, and I had a second pint in half an hour. A normal pub, in contrast with the gastro over the road.
Georgia brought me a pint of Henry’s that was a top notch 3.5, wrote the bill, said thank you for the tip, and probably closed the pub at 11. What a star, she did EVERYTHING.
In the morning I found the one downside of the Old Ham Tree. A paltry breakfast of instant coffee, cereals, yoghurts and the toast I’ve cut out of my immaculate diet of Chinese takeaways and stir fried vegetables.
So I walked the streets of Holt (it takes ten minutes max) in search of something more inspiring
and stumbled on the Glove Factory “workspace hub” café, where I felt rather alone amongst the creatives and well-coutured. Its blurb says;
“The Field Kitchen is the perfect hangout for business professionals, cyclists, families and dog lovers”. Wot, no scruffy, muddy old men ?
Magnificent mushrooms on sourdough and flat white, though. Don’t ask the price.