A few trips out before my current hiatus from pubs, all depressingly local and none giving me a tick to improve my GBG completion.
Bury St Edmunds is decent for walks and has a great little record shop where I hoped to buy the new Soccer Mommy album. Why buy vinyl in Cambridge when you can go to Suffolk to do it ?
BSE, to give it its full name, used to resemble a retirement village surrounded by a brewery, abbey and sugar beet factory.
A decade ago it gained a cinema, shopping complex and Giggling Squid, and was promptly swamped by young professionals who realised it took less time to commute from Bury to Cambridge than from Cambridge to Cambridge.
There’s a NEW Travelodge and Starbucks at the entrance to town, joining a Premier Inn by the brewery, so American tourists no longer have to cough up a ton to stay in the ivy covered Angel which was the only option 30 years ago.
Americans love the smell of sugar beet and barley, wobbly, brightly coloured buildings,
and the strange characters carved into 17th century walls, like this depiction of Simon and Tom Irvin debating cordial prices in the Nutshell.
There’s not many Americans about, or gentlefolk from over the border; perhaps they’re all in Bury’s most famous pub ?
Vinyl Hunter hadn’t got my Soccer Mommy, seven words I never thought I’d write, but the young guy and a bloke from Cambridge had an entertaining chat about local beer prices.
Apparently you can pay nearly a fiver a pint in Bury, though the Dove still charges £2.50 for Wherry and I’d literally just paid £3 in what I think youngsters call a Tap House.
Yes, I’d succumbed to the lure of the Greene King Tap, which has finally made the Guide after my groundbreaking visit in 2017.
Back then it was all “ladies who lunch with laptops“; now it was “Hi-Vis Harry“.
One of the brewery lads was pulling his own pint when I arrived; I like that. And I enjoyed a soundtrack of “Lay Lady Lay“, “So Long Marianne” and Kangaroo Air Force Ventilator.
I had an IPA; it MUST be good here.
It was terrific in 2017, now it was cool and inviting but a bit sweet, even compared to the best Doom Bar. Do you even care ? No.
Not a great place to drink. Not when you’ve got the Nutshell and the Rose & Crown and probably others.
But they’re the Tap, so they’ve at least got the tat.
On the way out of town via the park a muntjac bounded towards me, chased unsuccessfully by a chubby dog. I cheered the muntjac, who I shall call Simon, to safety.
But even though I’ll be spending more time at home, I shan’t be adopting Simon.