ANOTHER trip to Hitchin with the eldest son, before a couple of days walking in the Mendips.

James left the town for the delights of Waterbeach and the A10 when he was one, and had no memory of our house, which has just sold for six times what we paid for it in 1993. And people say capitalism doesn’t work.

I thought you might like to add this picture of our house to your scrapbooks.

I relived the walk I used to make from the heights of St John’s Road to the market place via Kershaw’s Hill.

Kershaw’s Hill is, of course, named after the 1984 single that (coincidentally) 84% of Hitchin residents bought, and subsequently named 8.4% of their children Ni(c)k. Prove me wrong.

See the source image

At the foot of the hill you get Bryan’s chippy, always a Friday treat when Mrs RM and I worked at the local hospital, and a solid looking Wells pub I ought to revisit with young John if he ever gets back from Sussex.

Nothing ever changes in Hitchin, and that’s not a recommendation.

Can there be a more desolate looking shopping centre than Churchgate (don’t reply if you’re from Skelmersdale or Haywards Heath).

The Spoons has graced the town for a while now, and I know you love to know how Tim’s emporia are bearing up.

Well, the Angel Vaults was looking a bit sorry for itself, with the uncleared plates and detritus noted by our northern correspondent Mr Cooking Lager recently.

And the perspex does it no favours at all.

And it was deserted, at least in the area closest to the bar, the Smooth drinkers having decided that £1.90 was better spent in the comfort of a Craft Union; even one with a conspiracy theorist.

The folk without an App, and that’s more than you’d think, were struggling to attract the staff’s attention, attention torn between explaining what QR codes are and fixing the coffee machine and carrying 31p in change over to customers. Table service is a disaster.

In fairness, that doughy Margherita and gorgeous if rather rough looking Tring Moongazing (NBSS 3.5) were served promptly and cheerfully.

And all for only £5.29, you know. In Hitchin, with house prices rivalling Cambridge.

Typical bants heard;

Will my breakfast be long

The usual Stella, John ?” “Aye, the usual

Will my breakfast be long

Is the Carling only £1.69 ?” “Yes, John” “Why, why ? It’s normally £1.89

Will my breakfast be long” “Too late. It’s brunch” “BRUNCH !”

As I left gentlefolk were wandering around, bemused. I know how they feel.

There’s two gents; a “standing” and a “sitting”. How quaint.

Also at the top of the stairs you find this local beauty.

Half a pint of Stella delivered to a Spoons of your choice for the first to name her.


  1. Not sure about Nick Kershaw, who looks very young in that photo. How about Semi-detached Suburban Mr James, in honour of your former house in the town?

    Manfred Mann, for those of us old enough to remember. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Manfred Mann, for those of us old enough to remember. 😊”

      (raises hand)

      Ah… Mighty Quinn and a way better version of Springsteen’s ‘Blinded by the Light’. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “and subsequently named 8.4% of their children Ni(c)k. ”

    Blimey! More seductive than a Lou Rawls record!

    “Can there be a more desolate looking shopping centre than Churchgate ”

    You’ve never been to the Qwanlin Mall in Whitehorse, Yukon. 😉
    (and if my darling wife ever chances upon this post… kidding!)

    “Table service is a disaster.”

    Yep. 🙂

    We’ve had to put up with that for years on this side of the pond.

    ““Will my breakfast be long” “Too late. It’s brunch” “BRUNCH !””


    “There’s two gents; a “standing” and a “sitting”. How quaint.”

    The brewpub we stopped at last Saturday was like that. I kinda liked it. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Drink from the taps labelled “not drinking water”. Take your kids swimming on beaches where there are no blue flags.

        You must stand up to these do-gooders.


  3. As I keep saying, to work well table service needs a lot more staff – and more engaged and attentive statt at that – which Spoons and other pub operators don’t have and couldn’t afford anyway.


    1. Table service in pubs run by single Landlords (or landladies in the case of Beckets in Glastonbury yesterday) just can’t work effectively. never mind the fact it seems to me to be increasing the risk of Covid spread rather than reducing it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. T’other Mudgie,
        Ah yes the Queen Mother that saved the East End from the Luftwaffe – but the background’s not quite clear enough to identify which Young pub she’s in.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Following Nippy’s announcement yesterday, I’d be happy to moan about table service in Spoons (if we had one here). Still, you have this pleasure to look forward to down in Englandshire.

    Liked by 1 person

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