AN AK AND AN UNSOLVED MURDER IN EPPING FOREST

Yet another pub that isn’t in the GBG for you, just to show not ALL my trips are to dull tickers venues approved by the CAMRAs (joke, joke, don’t kick me off the GBG21 priority list).

James has been back from Sheffield, waiting to go back to Sheffield, for 3 months now. His mates in Waterbeach seem to consider a walk to the nearest post box a dangerous venture in 2020, never mind the sort of holiday you and I would have been contemplating at 21.

On Tuesday he finally agreed to come for a walk, “as long as it’s somewhere different“.

I just got in the car and drove, without a clue.

Oooh, Epping. Even better, Epping Forest.

Free parking within the M25, my sorta town.

No maps, no WiFi, no GBG pubs, and a recent unsolved murder which hung heavy in the air as we realised we were the only folk not at the Visitor Centre cafe.

What’s not to like ?

Even a scary dog with a passive aggressive owner.

X DO NOT CALL BY NAME

Grief, where are we ? (Essex ?).

Eventually I got enough signal to upload (download ?) a bit of OS, and realised we were on the edge of posh Loughton.

At least two regulars on Pub Twitter have asked me about Loughton, a perfectly pleasant Essex/London suburb close to Birds of a Feather and Grange Hill Land, but which has barely grazed the Guide. Ever.

Apart from that huge spread of green (the Forest really is vast) I recognised the Owl, a pub run by one of the giants of the campaign to help pubs through Covid,

Least I could do was stick a few quid in the Owl’s coffers on a quiet Thursday, I thought.

We loved the walks, the getting lost, the springy ground, the rude looking tree stumps, the signs to places you’ve never heard of.

We arrived at the Fox just after 1, to a full car park and the vast garden heaving with life. There must have been 80 people, gentlefolk and mums and toddlers, on a Thursday in September.

They must all be here for the McMullen AK Mild, I assumed, though the signage looked a little shy.

And the chap in the queue for bargain pub grub actually was, on a first visit from Dallas (as in 1pm) for 40 years.

A rare treat the AK, last seen in that odd McMullens pub near Leicester Square.

A superbly run pub coping with all that Covid throws at it. Well done Adam.

I think we may have been the only visitors who walked an hour to get there, though.

32 thoughts on “AN AK AND AN UNSOLVED MURDER IN EPPING FOREST

  1. Loughton is probably best known for the Bank of England Printing Works very near Debden underground station.

    That big old beech tree looks almost as knobbly as my knees.

    It’s nearly two years since I drank McMullens and that was in the Peahen at St Albans.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, an impressive replacement for the original wood building burnt down towards the end of the 19th Century and bought by McMullens in 1936.
        The interior has been gutted but their AK was drinking well and 10am opening was just right for after Tim’s only Proper Barn and before meeting up with t’other Pubmen for our Proper Day Out.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. “His mates in Waterbeach seem to consider a walk to the nearest post box a dangerous venture in 2020, never mind the sort of holiday you and I would have been contemplating at 21.”

    What is it with the young folk? Our youngest (32) wouldn’t let us hug him or go into his house (except to pee) when we visited back in late July.

    ““as long as it’s somewhere different“.”

    Blindfold time!

    “Even better, Epping Forest.”

    Shades of Genesis!

    “Free parking within the M25, my sorta town.”

    Not sure James will feel safer when he reads about the murder there; or that one can’t pick the fungus from between their toes whilst walking.

    “What’s not to like ?”

    I’m guessing that’s where the dead body from the unsolved murder has been hidden away. 😉

    “Even a scary dog with a passive aggressive owner.”

    Indeed! And one is supposed to follow said dog as he runs all over the place. For how bloody long I ask!
    (or does the phrase ‘do watch exactly where he goes’ imply where he pees, so they can come and collect a sample to be sure it’s him?) 🙂

    “Eventually I got enough signal to upload (download ?) a bit of OS,”

    Curse your barely good enough signal!

    And, on that note, as like Porlock, this lot is enamoured with ‘forest’. I mean, Forest Way and Three Forests? Isn’t is just bleedin’ Epping for goodness sake!

    “(the Forest really is vast)”

    And here’s me thinking ‘forest’ means ‘a LARGE track of land’*. 😉
    * as opposed to Monty Python’s definition of large, um, huge, tracks of land. 🙂

    “a pub run by one of the giants of the campaign to help pubs through Covid,”

    Well done, that man.

    “the rude looking tree stumps”

    Photos or you’re just making it up.

    (looks down at the photos)

    Ah… I take it back.

    “on a first visit from Dallas ”

    Dallas, Texas or Dallas, Scotland?

    “I think we may have been the only visitors who walked an hour to get there, though.”

    Good way to work up a thirst. 🙂

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “His mates in Waterbeach seem to consider a walk to the nearest post box a dangerous venture in 2020, never mind the sort of holiday you and I would have been contemplating at 21.”

    Yes, disappearing for a month, with a friend from uni, on a circular trip around Western Europe by train. Taking advantage of an Interrail ticket that allowed us to visit eight different countries, including communist former Yugoslavia.

    No laptops, no mobile phones and just a Thomas Cook European Railway timetable to guide us. My only contact with home was the occasional post card – when I remembered to write one, so my parents must sometimes have wondered whether I was dead or alive.

    An experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world – but as the four Yorkshiremen said, “Try telling that to the youth of today, and they just won’t believe you.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Interrail tickets are still available, without age restrictions and with a range of different and more flexible options.

        The only trouble is…………😷

        Like

    1. T’other Paul.
      That might have been the same summer I hitch hiked round England and Wales to drink beer from every brewer.
      Yes, the youth of today wouldn’t dream of doing that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Martin,
        Yes, the Three Tuns at Bishops Castle and Blue Anchor at Helston being the other two brew pubs.
        I was three years too late for the Druids Head at Coseley and two years too late for the Britannia in Loughborough.

        Like

      2. Yes, still brewing but under different ownership.
        I still have late 1974 letters written by Doris Pardoe from when I organised a branch coach trip to the Black Country, that being before anyone used ‘phones much.
        Biggest news there recently was when a vehicle crashed into the front of the pub causing quite serious damage.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ooh, ooh!

      September 1980 to August 1981. Backpacked around Europe on my own with a couple of 2-month Eurail passes (staying in the UK with relatives over Christmas between finishing the 1st pass and using the 2nd pass). As far north as above the Arctic circle, as for south as Greece (which I flew back to for a few weeks from the UK to, ahem, re-visit someone I met there), and as far east as East Berlin. Nothing but a copy of Let’s Go Student Travel Guide.

      And yep, at least weekly postcards to the folks back home so they could try and keep track of my travels.

      Good times!

      (and many stories but that will have to wait till a possible visit in person) 😉

      Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like a trip, that. Youngsters these days don’t believe we didn’t have internet back then, but at least the pubs were open when they said they’d be.

        Start swimming that sea now and I’ll meet you in Ireland. Oh, pubs are closed there.

        Like

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