When the going gets tough, squeeze a Jam reference into your blog post. Life After Football will get it.
A trip to the Herts/Essex borders west of Bishops Stortford and Stansted Airport is a rare treat for me.
The “Stort”, as BRAPA will no doubt call it, is a dull old place, but those tiny lanes leading to London overspill estates in Harlow are full of great pubs. Green Tye, Allen’s Green and my Doom Bar pick at Sawbridgeworth all await Simon if he ever finishes Essex.
The Road to Perry Green and The Hoops takes you past 37 public schools, 3 rugby clubs and one of what Twitter helped me authoritatively identify as “a bird”. Thanks, Twitter.
The main activity in Perry Green (pop. about 12) is visiting garden centres and the pub. My sorta people.
I thought that a white boarded gastropub in Hertfordshire’s stockbroker belt would be a horror show at 14:30 on a Friday in July, but despite being again diverted to a table in the garden where everyone was I loved it.
And it was all about the ebullient Landlady, buzzing around, chatting and casually ridiculing the regulars, creating the sort of happy atmosphere not seen in many pubs since last March.
“Do what you want. Not YOU, obviously !” she told waistcoat man (top), my pub man of the year so far.
“You finished your food YET, Marcus ?“
“YOU can come here ANYTIME you like, my love !” she told me as I followed her instructions and paid in cash.
Every table had its own characters, blissfully unaware that BRAPA was at the moment mere miles away in Broxted.
“That’s where I did my dog first aid. The glass of Malbec cost twenty quid” my personal conversational highlight.
A Courage Best like pint (local Much Hadham First) was a decent if unspectacular NBSS 3, but it’d be worth a return visit after the 19th to revel in the sort of atmosphere you’re told only exists in the East End.
I sneaked a look inside on the way to the loo, and was a bit less convinced.
And then stumbled across the main reason why folk visit Perry Green; the gorgeous estate of Henry Moore, including this sculpture called “BRAPA after six pints contemplating an ESB at Kings Cross“.