A DASH TO ASHBURTON

I’m on the road again.

After dropping James in Letchworth for his driving lessons (which have cost more than I spend on Doom Bar), Mrs RM and I headed west (or is it east) for a last spell of pubbing before the plague closes us all down again.

The A303, formerly “The Stonehenge Way” is now “The Starbucks Way”, and their laxitude in paying tax meant Mrs RM wouldn’t countenance a lunch stop at any of them.

I couldn’t remember ANY of the pubs lunch stops as Hants turned to Wilts, so at noon gave up and popped in to Andover. Here’s my best pic of Andover.

The town had just survived a visit by BRAPA, with most locals still locked indoors in case he returned to the micro. We joined the braver gentlefolk in Spoons for Quinoa salad and a Punk IPA, one of which had some taste. The staff, as before, were quite wonderful, patiently explaining the new ruled designed to make pubgoing miserable safe from Covid.

Two Old Boys discussed bypasses (not the road) and their tea.

“Have you ever had a donner kebab from Tesco’s ?”

“What’s a donner kebab ?”. Cue lengthy explanation of spits, pitta and garlic mayo. But how can you get to 70 and have never had a kebab ?

Two hours later we tipped up in another Ash based town.

Ashburton doesn’t have a Spoons, but it does have a nice deli, so one-one.

30 minutes car parking (I’m not paying for an hour), just enough for a comfort break Mrs RM had been waiting for since Honiton and a half in GBG newbie the Vic.

In the Beer Guide, up for sale. That happens a lot.

The Landlady looked about to throw herself on the fire, but cheered up when she saw it wasn’t BRAPA.

Someone should buy this, it’s a lovely pub with proper seating, noisy parrot, and half a dozen smokers out in the garden by the stream.

We took the seats next to the fire and giant hare, and chatted to our hero publican about the need to “keep cash going” by eschewing cards. Pub Curmudgeon would have loved it.

Dartmoor Legend was pretty good (NBSS 3), and is clearly the Doom Bar of Devon. Mrs RM got great joy in telling the nice lady SHE was drinking the real ale while I suffered in silence with my first of a gazillion J20s (I had a sip of beer for the tick).

Yet another plain, one pump pub in the GBG. But what will the 2021 Guide, apparently sitting on my doorstep at home, bring ?

19 thoughts on “A DASH TO ASHBURTON

  1. “I had a sip of beer for the tick.”
    All that way for a sip?

    ” But what will the 2021 Guide, apparently sitting on my doorstep at home, bring ?”
    Same old, same old.

    Sorry, I’m beginning to sound like Russ, but on a more positive note, perhaps you could buy that “lovely pub?”

    ps. Did the nice landlady reveal the reason why the it is up for sale?

    Like

    1. All that way for a sip. Who goes to pubs for beer ?

      No, I’ll let Russ buy it. Or Humphrey Smith.

      I didn’t ask about the For Sale sign, too polite. But looking at the Facebook now, the Landlady only started in July. She was lovely, AND replied to my request for opening times.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Who goes to pubs for beer ?” A helluva lot more people than those who drive 256 miles for a tick!

        On the plus side though, you’ve told us about a smashing pub in a town I’ve only window-shopped in before, and never drank in. Perhaps I won’t get the chance now to drink in the Victoria Inn, unless Humph or Russ stump up the readies. My money’s on Russ, as unless they’re within the circle of the M25, Humph doesn’t likes southern pubs.

        Russ would make a good landlord, and from what he tells us, his wife would serve up a good line in pub-grub as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Russ would make a good landlord, and from what he tells us, his wife would serve up a good line in pub-grub as well.”

        Thanks Paul (blush).

        Sad to say, my stories would run dry after a few… months? 🙂

        And, alas, my darling wife is implementing the building of a man shed/pub for me in our backyard shortly. Cheaper, and I don’t have to relocate!

        Cheers

        Liked by 2 people

  2. “I’m on the road again.”

    With the Halloween version of Blackbeard on your tail?

    “and their laxitude in paying tax meant Mrs RM wouldn’t countenance a lunch stop at any of them.”

    Plus, their coffee is not only pretentious, but atrocious as well.

    “The staff, as before, were quite wonderful, patiently explaining the new ruled designed to make pubgoing miserable safe from Covid.”

    Blimey. If it makes it safe from Covid they should implement that in every nook and cranny of the country! 😉

    “Two Old Boys discussed bypasses (not the road)”

    (slow golf clap)

    “so one-one.”

    Should that be ‘win-win’ or are you implying ‘win-win’ in the past tense?

    “That happens a lot.”

    In the instructions below I’m guessing they don’t clean their toilets often? Hence the need to wear a face mask whilst walking to and from it?

    “The Landlady looked about to throw herself on the fire, but cheered up when she saw it wasn’t BRAPA.”

    LOL!

    “Pub Curmudgeon would have loved it.”

    (tell him it’s up for sale) 🙂

    ” (I had a sip of beer for the tick).”

    Is that legal?

    “But what will the 2021 Guide, apparently sitting on my doorstep at home, bring ?”

    Hopefully not a big fat goose egg, like the one buddy needs to pass in the Gents.

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From the word go, I’ve never been a fan of Starbucks and cannot remember the last time I set foot in one of their establishments.

      I viewed Spoons differently; certainly from the start and was even a fan to begin with. But even before “Dim Tim’s” foolhardy intervention in UK politics, I’d gone off the chain. Sticky tables (and carpets), that were never properly cleaned, Piled up crockery and cutlery from the previous occupants. Kids running riot and all the atmosphere of an airport waiting lounge.

      Even worse is the indifferent beer, invariably pulled through a sparkler, in order to give short measure and then a bemused look of indifference should you have the nerve to ask for a top-up! Heaven only knows what happens now that customers are forbidden to approach the bar.

      My money goes to helping independent pubs and cafes, rather than supporting national chains that are sucking the life-blood out of our towns and cities.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Couldn’t agree more. I recently visited Oxted at the start of a walk, and accidentally went into WSpoons thinking it was a regular pub 🤣🤣🤣 I left before they could find me a table. Many many years ago my daughter and I used to go to a spoons in London for breakfast, but we stopped going for all the reasons you mention. As for Starbucks….hmmm. tax loopholes and all that. I’m totally with you in supporting local.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. T’other Paul,
        I totally agree.
        I bought a Starbucks coffee on Sheffield or Doncaster railway station several years ago and wasn’t even sure that it was coffee. I’ve not had black coffees from the trolley on trains to and from the Cambrian Coast since that’s been Starbucks.
        Likewise I was a bit of a fan of Wetherspoons to begin with but the “foolhardy intervention in UK politics”, sticky tables and carpets, uncleared plates and average beer now makes them only for before 11am.

        Like

    1. Leon,
      4½ years short of 70 and I’ve never had a McDonalds – but like a kebab made with healthy salad and meat that’s skilfully calved after most of the fat has drained off.

      Liked by 1 person

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