Just like John Peel kept you waiting to see if the Sex Pistols or Sheena Easton were Number 1 in his Festive 50, I’ll keep you hanging on to find out if Fife or Bedfordshire take top spot in my Top 10 counties. Calm down, Dave.
It won’t be Cambridgeshire, though I’ll probably miss it when (if) I leave.
On Monday I visited a Cambs pub I’d never visited before, though it’s possible my parents brought me here as a beautiful bonny baby for dripping on toast or whatever folk ate in riverside pubs in the ’60s.
Due to embargos and the like I can’t reveal why I was headed to the Pike & Eel in Needingworth, so for now you should assume I like visiting village lock ups from the 1830s;
That will make a nice craft bar in GBG22, or a place to put BRAPA for its original purpose if he ever revisits St Ives.
In truth, folk come to the dull bungalow-filled village of Needingworth (if at all, to be honest) for the Old Ferry Boat in Holywell, a place competing with the Tiny Rebel bar in Newport for the title of Britain’s oldest pub.
In contrast, the Pike & Eel is one of numerous places that folk called Keith and Doris pitch their boat at and enjoy lasagne and a half of cider shandy.
This boat failed to make it back.
It’s not a pub ever likely to grace the GBG, you’d think. But, to paraphrase OJ Simpson, IF IT WAS, you might be surprised that the Guide entry in 2020 wasn’t the Boat Club Hut with its ghosts of faded Bass from the ’70s.
The Pike & Eel looks a hotch-potch of styles, and even in sub-zero temperatures there are more outside than in enjoying the football field of a garden. We’re a hardy lot in Cambs.
That couple weren’t eating. Oddly, there was no food being served, which made me wonder what purpose it served, stuck at the dead end of a track out of an isolated village.
BUT I had a great welcome, as so often the case since 4 July, and chose my own seat. There was no-one about.
What can I say ?
Well, you get Robbie Williams and Climie Fisher, and the glow of satisfaction that you’ve had the first pint of Ghost Ship of the day so the next bloke in gets a decent beer.
Mine, in contrast, was a bit meh. It started at 1.5, wobbled to a 2, and after my trip to the posh loos somehow limped to an OK 2.5.
IF it was in the Beer Guide, it would have been a limp start, except for the lovely staff. But it couldn’t ? Could it ?