Day 2 without pubs, though with a few posts still to bring you from last week with (Parental Advisory) a consoling pub visit in them.
There’ll be quite a few trips up the A10 in the next few weeks, as I attempt to find you something attractive about the Fens.
Five minutes up the road from RetiredMartin Towers is a large lay-by where the A10 magically crosses the Great Ouse.
Fenlanders know it as the Lazy Otter, a haven for gentlefolk who like
staring at the sweet trolley watching the river from a 1980s conservatory.
A decent pint of Adnams here over the years, good enough for it to compete the similar Five Miles From Anywhere (No Hurry) for a coveted GBG place, but having been shut for a while the planned mid-March re-opening looks optimistic.
A five mile walk round the bounds of Stretham is a good place to practice your social isolation (I met one dog walker),
and observe the joy of footpaths signs based on pubs (closed ones, sadly). Don’t take your pleasures for granted.
In the Summer of ’76, with Punk replacing Prog in the charts, this was Number One. (WARNING : Dave Lee Travis).
In my last year at Milton Primary School, we went on a Big Trip to the honeypots of the Fen Edge, including the Pumping Station at Stretham Old Engine.
A single track road past yelping guard dogs leads to the one pub, one shop, one Chinese takeaway village of Stretham.
Loads of new housing on the A142 to Soham, but it’s essentially a dormitory village for Cambridge and Ely, envying Waterbeach with its railway station. Nice windmill though (top).
The Red Lion was a basic on-off GBG Fen pub with a decent sweet cabinet till about 20 years ago, when it had a disastrous Robinsons-style modernisation,
When Kentish Paul stayed here a few years ago it seemed to have gone back to basics, and started selling Marston beers (rare in Cambs).
Joy of joys, it still is.
On the downside, one Old Boy on Stella in the Public, and one Old Boy (OK, same age as me) drinking
Lost & Grounded DIPA Stella in the Lounge.
I got a great welcome.
“Straight or Handle ?”
“Straight. Thanks for asking”
“There you go darling”
I’m afraid I go to the pub for that simple personal interaction, and the chat with the Old Boy about the weather, not for the beer.
Even a cool, creamy pint of Marston’s Saddle Tank like this.
Very much a pint in the tradition of Hinckley, I thought, like the beer twat I am.
Having scored it a 3.5 on WhatPub, it did fade a little (see also: London Pride) to a 3 as it reached the bottom, but that’s still a whole point better than I expected.
As school ended, a cheery Dad came into the Public with two lads and ordered a Fosters and cokes. The 8 year old wanted to put the jukebox on.
Dad asked me, “Is it OK if I put the music on, mate“. What a joy to be asked.
And what a great Dad, I think, introducing children to pubs, being respectful of other pub users, and letting them choose the music.
The lad gets on the stall and searches for someone called AG Tracey, who I assume is a cartoon character given the lad’s 8 years old.
I do a search. “Ah, A J Tracey“. That works. “Thanks mate“.
Not what I was expecting, and thank heavens our children can still upset us with their musical choices.
*Which is why home delivery and off-sales mean nothing to me.