THE SHEFFORD COLLECTION

More local-ish ramblings for you before the GBG drop on the 29th. No inference should be drawn about anything, EVER.

Shefford is famous for two things.

Firstly, in 2015 BRAPA visited during his Bedfordshire Reign of Terror, and this report on his embryonic blog is delightfully descriptive of a chance meeting with Everton title winner and Luton Hatters legend Jimmy Husband.

Jimmy delivered milk, ran a nearby pub (but which one ?) and entertained reader Sheffield Hatter during Luton’s spell as our top team in bright orange. But not all at the same time.

Disappointingly he didn’t colour in and autograph Simon’s GBG back then. I suspect Jimmy was as weary as I am now reading BRAPA boring on about the number of beers back then.

One beer is plenty, often more than enough. The Shefford Tap, which has been in the Beer Guide since BRAPA weed in a potty rather than a pot plant, still managed half a dozen on a wet Tuesday in October.

But I can forgive that, as in the 4pm Golden Hour it had a buzz I’ve skilfully failed to capture in these photos.

In Stockport, this would be the Portwood Railway, an irreverent beer drinkers pub with Old Boys in the Public and lads out back and quite a trade in takeaway by the 2 pint carton (yes, I did).

DESPITE guest beers, the house Shefford Bitter was sublime, a cool, crisp, foamy NBSS 3.5+.

Just look at its face !, as they used to say in the ’70s when Jimmy Husband was on the wing.

The landlady and me commiserated on the need to “get techie quick” to check in these days, the Old Boys debated the merits of getting Britbox to watch Spitting Image, and the long version of Freebird drifted on.

It was rather perfect, just as it always is.

The banter between Landlady (“Thank you darling“) and locals is always instructive;

“‘ere, I’ve been waiting two hours for my pint

Stop whining or I’ll charge you £4.50

As, or course, are the signs in the Gents.

As I left a precocious schoolchild challenge her mum about a poorly worn mask. Perhaps there is hope for the future.

Shefford looked FAR bigger than I remember from the ’90s, when I lived just down the road in Hitchin, but is actually the same size as Waterbeach.

The highlights package centres on the Brewery Tap and the little stroll round the River Ivel and the new Morrisons (not shown).

A police car slowed to talk to a lady in an oversized ’70s fleece waving a stick. Fleeces have been banned in mid-Bedfordshire since 1978.

I tried The Bridge, looking lovely in its foliage and Chas Wells livery. Who knows, Simon may one day come back here and try it too.

The welcome was warm, the furnishings farmhouse style, the soundtrack firmly rooted in 1985 (Pet Shop Boys and Bryan Ferry), the beer a choice of Wells Origin or Wells Origin (or Old Rosie).

One beer pubs are all the rage in 2020, and I take all the credit for it.

This was nicely kept (NBSS 3), but Origin is a plain beer compared to the might of Bombardier.

A young (under 50) chap popped in, drank a Kronenbourg in 2 minutes and left, reminding me of Mrs RM.

Which brings us outside to the second famous thing about Shefford.

You wouldn’t think rural Bedfordshire and curry go together, but they do, and Shefford Tandoori was one of our top tips during a decade in Herts.

Shame it was closed; I know how Dick and Dave love their dhansak photos.

27 thoughts on “THE SHEFFORD COLLECTION

  1. I remember Banks and Taylor from nearly thirty years ago and their Eagle on the Farringdon Road that was said to be the country’s first gastropub, an idea surely not inspired by the Wolverhampton and Keighley breweries they took their name from.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Didn’t the name come from the founders’ wives’ maiden names? No recollection what the founders were themselves called but the combination lacked a ‘certain ring’ to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s a heckuva long time for any restaurant. Any idea when it was voted in the “top five”? I always find that a funny thing to post without a date.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indian restaurants in the UK are famous for their longevity and yellowing certificates.

      The peak era for curry was the 90s, with a lot closing in the last decade as younger generations forsake the trade.

      I hope to be in a good one in Dereham on Wednesday.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Regret I am unable to join you, as I have a hospital appointment on Thursday morning – nothing serious!

        Will you risk calling in at the Cherry Tree, though?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you’re in a good one on Thursday too. We had a conversation along those lines with a restaurant owner. The owner of the restaurant believed the curry trade would slowly die off as their children went into other types of work. I think we need to start a GCG to preserve curry houses. You in? Dereham means Charles doesn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Dave,
      1987 is recent for curry houses in the Midlands.
      The Curry Kuteer in Stafford was established during 1968 and has only recently changed much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always think of over 10-15 years a long time for a restaurant. A lot of them over here last less than 3-4 years. Curry Kuteer have good changes or bad changes?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s an interesting observations. Bar/cafe places seem to change in that short timescale in Manchester, but curry houses last forever, and often look exactly the same from decade to decade.

        Like

      3. Dave,
        I’ve not been since the changes – and didn’t go often before as it was a bit posh and pricey.
        In recent years the Nepalese lessees of the pub three minutes walk from me have done the best curries this side of Asia so I’ve been quite fortunate.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Curry houses can sometimes keep on, like RAF squadrons, perhaps.

        I went to the Laguna in Nottingham not long ago.

        It was even better than I remember in the 1970s.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Etu,
        I worked for the RAF for thirty years and didn’t really need reminding of their squadrons.

        Like

  3. Thanks for the mention of the mighty Hatters and Jimmy Husband. Sadly, his arrival in Luton coincided nicely with my departure for the north (Lancaster University, to be precise), so I only saw him play a few times. He might well have played when my brothers came up for a visit in November 1973 – the Town drew 2-2 at Preston and we were among the 10, 279 in attendance, but I don’t have the programme.

    I’ve been in the Shefford Tap just once, but the beer was in poor condition. I like B&T beers, but having drunk many a pint of Shefford Bitter in the (long since closed) Two Brewers in Luton and the Globe in Dunstable, I was disappointed to find the beer in such poor shape in its home town. Glad you had a better experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cask beer lottery, innit ?

      It was my first visit for a decade, possibly, and the Bitter was better than I remember. They run (though not own) the Elm Tree in Cambridge where the Edwin Taylor Stout is a favourite. And the Wellington in Bedford, I think ?

      Like

  4. “The Shefford Tap, which has been in the Beer Guide since BRAPA weed in a potty rather than a pot plant”

    I think he has Colin do that from him now.

    “as in the 4pm Golden Hour it had a buzz I’ve skilfully failed to capture in these photos.”

    They’d all gone outside to wee in the pot plants?

    “and quite a trade in takeaway by the 2 pint carton (yes, I did).”

    Was that beer? Which you took home to drink in your underpants? 😉

    “and the long version of Freebird drifted on.”

    Good song to have on whilst having a pint.

    “It was rather perfect, just as it always is.”

    I see they’re still all outside peeing in potted plants.
    (alliteration that is) 🙂

    “The banter between Landlady (“Thank you darling“) and locals is always instructive;”

    Gives one a true pulse of the place.

    “As, or course, are the signs in the Gents.”

    At least it’s better than being, ahem, home alone. 😉

    “Fleeces have been banned in mid-Bedfordshire since 1978.”

    But not pointed sticks? Monty Python would like a word.

    “One beer pubs are all the rage in 2020, and I take all the credit for it.”

    (slow golf clap)

    “A young (under 50) chap popped in, drank a Kronenbourg in 2 minutes and left, reminding me of Mrs RM.”

    Oh, I say!

    “Shame it was closed;”

    Sigh.

    Cheers

    Like

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