HITCHIN, HURTS

More local pubbing.

Well, Hitchin is only an area away, next door to where I drop James off for his driving lessons. Covid-19 has just cancelled his driving test, AGAIN; perhaps they’ll give him a licence anyway if it happens a 3rd time and he can drive me to a pub.

We lived here for 7 years, dreadful place, but useful for our Hertfordshire workplaces. The only good thing about Hitchin is top PubMan John, who seems to escape for the Sussex coast as often as he can.

Hitchin.PNG

I walked from Letchworth to the northern suburbs of Hitch, admiring the half-hearted McMullens signage at the Millstream,

the ghost of the Nightingale (my favourite pub while it lasted),

and the rather dull looking Irish pub opposite McDonalds.

I headed for the Victoria, one of only two GBG entries and, like Leeds United, returning to the big league after a couple of decades away.

When I told Mrs RM I’d been to the Vic she said “The grotty old man’s pub !” and to be fair those would have been my exact words too. She also said something about local CAMRA Guide selection criteria that is probably actionable so I’ll save that for the Patronised Podcast.

Back in the ’90s it was wheezing, standing at the bar, and IPA and Abbot.

Now it’s ladies in pashminas, babies in cots, scatter cushions and craft. Well, three of those.

It was also very good, for a neighbourhood food pub.

Can I have a burger please ?” I mumbled through the muffling mask, noting the house specialty.

I beg your pardon !” said our equally muffled barmaid, before clicking and showing me to a lovely table underneath the Canaries memorabilia.

A “Beer” person would have had something called “Hopfest” by Mad Squirrel, but I’m not a “Beer” person and had the IPA. If you can’t get a decent GK IPA in one of their Guide pubs there’s no hope, is there ?

It was pretty good, too, almost persuading me to award a rare 3.5 before getting back in its NBSS 3 box.

A cheery place, full of youth and experience in equal measure, and (now I reflect) about 75% female.

The music ranged from what I’ll call “Ambient Casual” to polite covers of Sabbath and Whitesnake hits.

The lady opposite, silently chastising his beau for a second Guinness, described her burger as “Marvellous, the best burger ever“.

It wasn’t quite that good, but I couldn’t fault the value or the carbs or the heat of the Sriracha fries.

The Ladies who lunch were on fine form as the bottle was emptied, recalling a local squash player who seemed to have been awarded a game despite being carted off to the local Treatment Centre.

“Simon had a diabetic incident…. And he STILL beat us ! Ha Ha Ha Ha”

It was great theatre, and pretty good Pub, although I could have done without the theatre of the loo door slamming in my face when I opened it with the Footull (top).

*Life Lesson No. 1,344 – Wash your hands BEFORE going to the Gents if you eat the Sriracha fries.

24 thoughts on “HITCHIN, HURTS

  1. “dreadful place” – a little unfair, I’d say, although admittedly my close knowledge of Hitchin is limited to 1974-82, when I worked for the Comet newspaper and used to regularly frequent Hitchin Folk Club – it’s certainly less boring than Letchworth and far less chavvy than Stevenage or Luton

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was dreadful in ’93-2000 and it’s only got worse compared to Letchworth, which has vastly improved this last decade.

      In its defence, it had very good chippy, Indian restaurants and Chinese takeaway, but a pallid air hung over it and the shopping centre is grotesque.

      I’ll revisit the Half Moon soon; that might offer some redemption.

      Like

  2. “has just cancelled his driving test, AGAIN”.
    I had driving tests cancelled THREE times, twice by them because of snow and once by me with fractures from a cycling accident I was reminded of today because coincidently I knew the speeding driver whose car I was trapped under and he was mentioned in a 1970s What’s Brewing I was perusing this morning while looking up what beer festivals were originally for.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. T’other Paul,

        My cancelled tests were on 8th January and 8th and 18th February 1985.
        I passed on May Day 1985.

        Hand signals nowadays tend to be very impolite.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Delightful writing and photos as always; you spoil us, you really do!

    “and (now I reflect) about 75% female.” –That must’ve been nice to see, happily disproving the stereotype that a lot of people believe about drinking establishments.

    But I’ve gotta know: What’s going on with referring to chips as “fries”– is nothing sacred?! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “perhaps they’ll give him a licence anyway if it happens a 3rd time and he can drive me to a pub.”

    Third time’s the charm. 🙂

    “who seems to escape for the Sussex coast as often as he can.”

    Ah. Kinda like those ‘first prize is one can of Foster’s; second prize is two cans of Foster’s’ type of places.

    “I walked from Letchworth to the northern suburbs of Hitch”

    You really need to make your OS maps more legible. I read ‘Baldock’ in the top right as a word with an extra ‘C’ in it, and got to thinking just how many Jewish people live there. 😉

    “(my favourite pub while it lasted)”

    You should quantify that to mean in Hitchin, not the whole of the British Isles.

    “and, like Leeds United, returning to the big league after a couple of decades away.”

    (slow golf clap)

    – and no; I don’t know how to do slow golf clap emoji’s 🙂

    “When I told Mrs RM I’d been to the Vic she said “The grotty old man’s pub !””

    Sigh. She knows us so well.

    “Well, three of those.”

    I’m guessing the baby thing is the odd one out.

    “If you can’t get a decent GK IPA in one of their Guide pubs there’s no hope, is there ?”

    Pfft. What goes around, comes around. I’m actually going through a phase of enjoying Old Speckled Hen in cans over here. 🙂

    “and (now I reflect) about 75% female.”

    That’s probably why all the grotty old men drop in. 😉

    “silently chastising he beau”

    Is that one of those self declared pronouns?

    “or the heat of the Sriracha fries.”

    And, according to the menu, dirty fries at that! 🙂

    “*Life Lesson No. 1,344 – Wash your hands BEFORE going to the Gents if you eat the Sriracha fries.”

    Oh, well done sir! 🙂

    Cheers

    Like

  5. I want to know more about the sriracha fries incident or is the memory too painful to recount ? They look delicious by the way !

    Like

  6. There’s pubs where a ramshackle collection of odd chairs and other furniture adds immeasurably to the patina and ‘character’ of the place. And there’s a refurb that’s so achingly trying to achieve that look by mixing up the auction lot of chairage it fails completely. Nice looking place for a pub I’d be unlikely to get past the GK livery though.

    Liked by 1 person

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