The last week before Lockdown 2 was a frantic attempt to bag as many GBG counties as possible, targeting (in the words of Management Consultants who’d charge $30k a day for this stuff) the low hanging fruit like Rutland.
You might think you’ve heard scant detail about Rutland (53rd on my list of favoured counties), and you’d be right. Only an hour from Waterbeach, but a scarcity of new GBG entries means my write-ups are rare.
Last year’s new entry, the Ketton Railway you see above, was a corker but the electricity had gone out and my photos were very “BRAPA after 6 pints”.
But GBG21 continues to delight, and Uppingham’s Exeter Arms had the privilege of hosting my last (well, sole) Rutland tick. Can Uppers (as it’s known to the poshos) now emerge from the shadow of Oakham ?
Famous alumni include Norwich fan Stephen Fry, the guy who designed the Humber Bridge, an ex-husband of Anthea Turner, and approximately 4,573 assorted cricketers, priests and military men.
I think I’d have got bored of Uppingham rather quickly if my parents had been
daft loaded enough to send me there. It’s actually smaller than Waterbeach, which has less pubs but a better Chinese takeaway.
This is the tiny marketplace, home of the famous Don Paddy’s (Adnam’s) and The Vaults (Adnam’s),
as well as the fashionable boutiques.
As with Northants, you should ruddle round Rutland in the Fall, as you Yanks call it cos you can’t spell Autumn.
Taking photos in town is quite tricky, as it’s overrun by 15 year old girls in hockey uniform and I’ve a honourable reputation to maintain. See also : Repton, Oundle, Stamford etc etc.
Because 15 year olds don’t make much use of backstreet pubs, there’s not many of them. But the ones they do have serve exotica like Green King IPA (the Royal Oak and The Falcon) and the only previous Uppingham entry The Crown (Everards).
Come to think of it, that all sounds like a half-decent Old Codgers Crawl, if only they’d re-open the railway station.
To top it off, the new Guide entry is a corker.
Rambling, slightly shambling, irreverent, cosy.
I was disappointed the main bar was packed with retirees and tradesmen discussing Poch to Man U. rumours (“What’s he ever won“).
So I had to sit round the corner like a naughty Uppingham Schoolboy on detention. Ah, the problems of the lone drinker, as BRAPA will know.
But I could just make out the handpumps, and with someone else brave enough to stick with the much-maligned Langton Inclined Plane (daft name) and resist the urge to see if the Pride was drinking well.
I waited while the landlady did the multiple jobs required under Covid, occupying my time attempting to identify the Fairport and Status Quo tracks without the aid of WiFi.
“Hello sweetie, what can I get ya ?” asked the landlady. I was ready this time.
This time the Langton was (almost) a revelation; cool, crisp and tasty (NBSS 3.5+). Sadly I’d drunk it before I could capture it for you, so the lacings will have to do.
I was joined by a chap with a Belfast lilt and his cheery wife, just back from 3 weeks in Portugal.
“Pint of Carling in a Stella glass, please”
I like those idiosyncrasies; it’s like when I ask for Doom Bar in a Bass glass.
And as I left, someone (hopefully the landlady) called out “Thank you, darling”.
“I SAID, do ya want a poppy” someone screamed back, above the chorus of “What You’re Proposing“. But does it even have a chorus ?
BRAPA will love it.