I had to pop back to take my Dad to a health clinic today. It’s not my 50th birthday, so don’t go grassing me up.

Dad is OK (and wants golf back), perhaps better than when I left, but my heart sunk at a return to dour, featureless Cambridgeshire.

No overnight stay, no pint in The Sun, not even a sneaky Crispy Beef from Chung Hwa (closed Tuesdays; why can’t old people time their hospital trips with Chinese takeaway opening times ?).

I stretched my legs at Stretton.

Actually, I really didn’t. The tiny village of Stretton has big “Access only” signs at both entry points, and the road north reaches a dead end at HM Prison Stocken, unwitting star of Rutland’s rise to the top of the Covid league.

The Ram Jam services is one of two dozen on the A1 North which give you the deep joy of a minimal slip road back onto a dual carriageway full of lorries ferrying figs to Ferrybridge.

Until a decade ago the Ram Jam Inn was a popular stop on the Great North Road for legends as diverse as Geno Washington (of Ram Jam Band) and me, who stopped here for a half of John Smiths Bitter once. And my Dad, who had to stop here for a pot of tea and scones whenever he travelled to see relatives in Leeds. Possibly their 3rd trip since Waterbeach.

Not only is the closed pub a sad site, the service station isn’t much cop either.

Who’d stop at a Spar when there’s a Greggs not far off ? Sadly, the days of pub stops on the A1 are long gone.

23 thoughts on “RAM JAM

      1. My trusty 1980’s Leicestershire & Rutland Guide to Real Ale Pubs listed the Ram Jam as having over half a dozen exotic beer choices, so not all good! Must have been very busy back then, even the most beery beer pubs never had more than four real ales.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mark,
        My trusty June 1979 Leicestershire & Rutland Guide to Real Ale Pubs listed the Ram Jam as having Ruddles County and Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter and states that it was “the Winchelsea Arms until 30 years ago” so that’s about 1949.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Is that the one with the terribly rendered barmaid on the cover? The Ram Jam and the Crown at Old Dalby stuck out as proto-beer exhibition pubs at a time when most were gloriously tied Bitter/Best/Mild pubs at most. I always planned a visit with the hope of putting a tent up in the garden, but never got round to it.


      4. Mark,
        Yes, that’s the one.
        I never know “rendered” was a Leicestershire euphemism but she certainly looks properly rendered and only just awake.
        Of the Ram Jam Inn it tells us “The present unique name derived from the name of a strange concoction brewed by a former Indian batman sergeant landlord. the recipe died with son of the landlord”.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. They cut down a big old Bramley orchard next door too, I shed a virtual tear whenever I google earth it. The nearby Jackson Stops is scant consolation, dreadful hopless beer from one of my local monopoly brewers, and whilst the bar is gorgeous and home to the famous Nurdles bench, it’s also tiny and usually full so you often have to sit in the restaurant. Good for a substantial meal though. In truth there’s really little point our passing the stellar food and beer of the Wheatsheaf in Greetham, unless we’re heading for the bright lights of Grantham and The North (Newark).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, drab now. The Jackson Stops had a year or two in the GBG, hateful place, and as mentioned two “No entry except for access signs” and no parking there. Olive Tree in Clipsham similarly gastro. Micro in the prison ?

      I’ve only been to the Plough in Greetham ! (and that was good years ago).


      1. The Plough was a firm CAMRA favourite at one time, then the gaffer left to run the bar at the Grainstore in Oakham and it’s been a bit denuded ever since. The food at the Wheatsheaf is some of the best I’ve ever had in a pub, and yet it’s somehow not really ‘gastro’. Friendly and unpretentious. Dartboard! Decor’s a bit stark under the current regime.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The GBG also acts as our travel guide. When visiting the Olive Tree in Clipsham we read in GBG about the topiary on display just a mile up the road. Well worth a visit but it did take the best part of an hour off our drinking tour of Rutland

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “The deep joy of a minimal slip road back onto a dual carriageway full of lorries.” How true, plenty of similar “excitement” on the A11 as well!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Ram Jam” sounds like a fairly modern name to me, but there it is: chiseled into stone with vines growing over it. Just goes to show how much I have yet to learn about these things! Shame to see it fallen into such a state; here’s hoping it can be saved and restored.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew you’d ask that, Mark !

      Must admit I assume ram-jam meant “eating to capacity”, a bit like the old pub in Waterbeach was called the “Slap Up” a century ago, but there may be even more interesting explanations;

      Unfortunately it’s a goner, unless someone rebuilds that road (not impossible) and bypasses the pub, like some of the pubs mentioned in Roger Protz’s book.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Mark,
      Yes, that name chiseled in stone looks more than seventy years old so maybe my local beer guide isn’t as ‘trusty’ as I thought.


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