Early on in this blogging lark I realised I could get away with any old rubbish as long as I stuck a pub at the end. This post will test that theory.
Being a good dad with an ulterior motive (always the best kind) I’ve been taking James to some intensive driving lessons in Letchworth Garden City, best known for its old knicker factory, and as the first home of Mr & Mrs RM.
Letchworth ? Yes, the only place within an hour James could get a driving test before the R rate reaches infinity, so stretched are our public services.
So it made sense for him to get to know the mean streets of North Herts, which look unchanged since this pre-war map was created.
It’s 27 years since we left “LGC”, as the kidz never called it, and headed for an inexplicably even duller Hitchin (sorry, John).
But, while James practiced stopping at roundabouts and not indicating at junctions, I explored the wilderness of Wilbury, the “nice” bit of Letchworth comprising model farms, cycle trails and berries. Only some of them are poisonous.
The lovely walk takes you to the former Three Counties Asylum at Fairfield Hospital, which Mrs RM actually helped to decommission in the mid-90s. She’s never been back to see the new houses, and never will.
She’ll also never go back to see the nearest pub, an unfussy Hungry Horse that we last visited when Greene King IPA was actually a revered beer.
Nowadays Lilley’s is the, er, beer of choice. I even saw the Lilley’s van unloading its dray of over flavoured apple juice in the town centre later.
But you expect better of me; I have a duty to score the IPA.
More than that, I have a duty to tell you that the unfussy Two Chimneys (no greeter) let me escort myself to a table (I’m 55, I can do that), though they did insist they bring the beer over on a tray.
Greene King managed pubs are cluttered and lacking in character, but at least they’re clean. And Covid-19 hates clean.
“Can’t I even take my own drink outside ?” said the Ladies who Lunch on Prosecco, allowing me to silently tut hypocritically at the failure of some people to read six pages of rules.
Now I know you’re looking for me to tell you that the IPA was better than Harvey’s, which it isn’t. But this was a drinkable NBSS 3, and at £3 a pint had clearly attracted at least one other IPA drinker out of town. Unless it was the Stevie Wonder and early ’80s “Now that’s what I call Shakatak-lite”.
Back in town, I was ready for a late lunch.
Spoons called, but ultimately the Chinese buffet at Dragon King won out.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to be at a buffet this side of 2021.
But they were so nice, the lunch buffet was £6.50, and they make you wear a mask and gloves at the actual food carts.
And who could resist a plate of pudding like this ?;