I assume you’d want to see a bit of my Grand Tour of Essex, in which I deposit your pubbing hero (above) at the door of a boozer while locals stare, take his photo, and return 27.5 minutes later to see his level of deterioration.

No ? Tough.

I took him round four pubs about half an hour South-East of Cambridge in one of the richest and most attractive parts of East Angular (not Haverhill, though even that has a weird appeal).

The main topic of conversation on the way was, of course, how to pronounce the “Belchamps” that would provide two (2) ticks that lunchtime. “Bel-shamp” said the Landlord in the Red Lion, unconvincingly.

Never trust a village where they call their eggs “eggies”, I say.

We ran out of WiFi (or is it internet ? I never know) several times, and were lucky to stumble on the Red Lion in Otten.

I thought I’d join Simon in this one for a half, as I don’t like the thought of him on his own in a scary county, and also because I had no recollection at all.

Oh, yes. It’s the one with the pink walls. Narrows it down to about 3,000.

An idyllic village with pub down a dead end lane, beams and pool table, beer mats on the ceiling and foaming Citra.

It just needed a few more of the 164 population popping in, but with no food except the cheesy straws BRAPA sneaks in I guess it survives on Old Boy trade later on.

A mile away in St Paul, the other Belchamp, there were pashmina’s diners enjoying “Chicken stuffed with brie wrapped in Serrano ham served with bubble & squeak, pan-fried cabbage, leeks & bacon & a basil cream sauce“.

Note the way my own half-eaten glasses compliment this shot of Simon.

The locals obviously thought Si was the decoy while I robbed their £1m + houses, but of course I was just on the lookout for bird houses and adverts for Holistic Health.

I thought BRAPA might have struggled there, but he seemed quite pleased. Luckily, disappointment came 20 minutes west at Ridgewell’s White Horse, taking Covid bubbles to their logical conclusion.

This is the Essex of castles and windmills and fading footpath fingers.

Oh, and traditional ale dispense on village greens.

I couldn’t remember the White Horse either, but I’m certain it never had bubbles.

And I definitely didn’t remember Toppesfield, where I made Simon impersonate the Green Man to the delight of two ladies passing at the right moment. It was his fourth pub in two hours, and it showed. He assured me he had a cunning plan to catch the one bus to day to Helions Bumpstead and thence back to civilisation, but if he dies it would be my fault.

You’ll have to wait for BRAPA to catch up to read what those pubs were like; fairly typical rural Essex with decent beer, I guess.

Now, make sure you have something to eat. And drink water” were my passing words. But does he listen ?


  1. Bubble & squeak *and* pan fried cabbage. Would it have been a large portion of bubble & squeak but they were low on potatoes?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s