March 2020

Day 3 of The Distancing.

As part of my public service responsibility I’ve created a hand-washing guide you can use to the accompaniment of Julia Jacklin‘s paean to avoiding bodily contact.

Well done William Gibson

Go to https://washyourlyrics.com/ if you’d rather wash to “Aqualung” or “God Save The Queen” or “Subterranean Homesick Blues“.

The blog is just about keeping me sane, but I’m not feeling up to any drives outside the county, even if they are still allowed.

I’ll persevere with the Fens, even though I must have walked every inch of public footpath over the years.

Who knows, this may be the last (or only) blog post on Wilburton you ever read.


Look at the last post if you want to see the big map. I’m bored.

One of the very few places you’ll read about Wilburton is on BRAPA, but even then he forgets what the village is called, though he does have a pic of Michaela Strachan.

Michaela Strachan has never taken the Ely Zipper, I’ll wager that.

Sign last cleaned in 1988

A weird agricultural village of 1,348, all patiently waiting for the next bus to Ely (it’s next Tuesday).

Some gorgeous large houses out of character with your typical Fen Edge village.

More posh
Almost Flemish
St Peter’s

The ONLY reason you’ll have heard of Wilburton, even if you live there, is because they hold one of the county’s largest non-CAMRA beer festivals, next to this wonderfully simple play area.


I did my usual two hours exercise, taking in the weird,

No idea

the wonderful,

Too close together, guys #SocialDistancing

and the wide spaces.

And that’s the highlight !

A lady on the other side of the street shouted “Hello” at me, caught my attention, and waved. Unless she was my sister (you can never be too sure in the Fens) I think it shows how friendly people are being at the moment.

Two dogs chased me up Mill Field Lane as I approached an isolated farm, and I emerged on Twenty Pence Lane to what passes as civilisation round here.

No surrender
Seen better days

Fen folk have an obsession with keeping red phone boxes. Perhaps they intend to turn them into micropubs when all the Proper Pubs have gone.

Someone smashed it up to nick the phone book to use instead of loo roll

Behind the phone box (above) you’ll see the King’s Head, which seems to have finally bitten the dust.

Not promising, is it ?

Perhaps the most mysterious of UK pubs*, as Si said back in 2018.

I must have driven past here 30 times in the last 20 years at different times of the week, and NEVER seen it open.

It even had a year in the GBG back in the ’90s, a dull locals pub with Adnams Bitter and a sense that even though I’d only come from 5 miles away it wasn’t a pub for me.

This is the extent of what the internet has to say about the King’s Head.

The ever helpful WhatPub
What happened to BITE ?
Were you there ?

Nothing. Zilch. Not a bean. Unless you were at the WTG Lip Sync Battle.

There is one clue. A 2009 post from Drunken Bunny (here) who we really ought to find out more about.

2009 was about the last time I saw these City of Cambridge beers, now produced in Attleborough and ambitiously priced at £16.99 for a four pack at Wilburton’s legendary Garden Centre. I’d save your money for toilet rolls.

No. I didn’t.

*Though the Blue Horse at Great Ponton near Grantham might have run it close.


  1. Is this real life? How far are you off taking a bucket and sponge on a walk and cleaning signs? I’m starting to look longingly at collapsed sections of drystone wall and thinking of fixing them like some blokeish version of a yarn bomber.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, and as you and Paul have no doubt noted, family and colleague who know you’re “into beer” know no better.

        I could kill a gift pack of Doom Bar right now 😉


  2. The Kings Head was still open up until the lock down, and hopefully will re-open. It’s open in the evenings Monday-Saturday, but sadly lacks many customers these days – as with many rural pubs. And the non-CAMRA beer festival had to be cancelled this year. Great photos and description of the village!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve, top update.

      I’m relieved the King’s Head may re-open. I popped by in mid March and the complete absence of info fooled me.

      Shame about the beer fest on the green, I know it’s a Wilburton highlight.


  3. Unfortunately I witnessed the phone box getting smashed up. Delighted to see it has been done up and is now a community book sharing resource. I originally proposed the idea to the parish council many moons ago and donated the £1 for its purchase. Who knows what future for the pub. Times have changed and fewer people go out. Covid may be the final nail for so many pubs sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, they didn’t every open weekend lunchtimes for a while and then not on Sundays at all I think. It was actually the phonebook in Witcham after seeing it on a walk that inspired me to write to the parish council. It was mindless vandalism. A particularly nasty group of people arrived in a car… had an argument… one got out and after much drunken shouting he took it out on the phone box. At least it wasn’t a passer-by who was injured.

        Liked by 1 person

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