A rare night in a chain hotel followed, as we stumped up £40 for one of those Marston places on the A5 at Gailey between Stafford and Wolves. I can feel the jealousy of Paul Mudge as I write.
The rooms are good value, better than Premier Inn, but how would the adjoining pub diner fare on a wet Tuesday night near Stoke ?
I’d had a Morrisons salad before we left, Mrs RM had clearly been hoping for something more exotic than the sub-Brewers Fayre carb fest. Perhaps she should have eaten a cuddly toy, not that I’d have grabbed one.
Breaking every law in the nation, I paused at the bar to survey the ales.
Could be worse.
The seating is no Great Western, but it is comfortable, and you get to eavesdrop on what appears to be a succession of schoolteachers from Wolverhampton out for the evening. Don’t they have a Hungry Horse in Wolves ?
Mrs RM looked forlornly at the menu 3 times, hoping she’d missed the Quinoa Salad, gave up and ordered the giant nachos and chicken wings.
I didn’t care; the Pedigree may have been 20% foam but felt a definite NBSS 3.5.
Opposite us the table of three, playing out a deep cut Victoria Wood sketch, were asking to pay £17.67 on card and the balance with a handful of coins they jingled in their hands. It was vital stuff.
The food was just the sort of glop Mrs RM has been trying to avoid. What even are those red bits ?
Other gentlefolk were by now looking through photos of family members forgotten during the pandemic. “And this is Carrie“. “And this is their conservatory in Brewood“.
A couple came in on a date. “Just for drinks” he said, before succumbing to a £2.29 bowl of chips with extra mayo, Aww.
Their conversation centred on the merits of the Wetherspoons “3 small plates for a tenner” deal and their cocktails, and Rocky Road v Biscoff Cheesecake, which was the weakest of that particular Stallone franchise I felt.
I had a second Pedigree, which was a bit flat and lacking in that 20% of foam, but still passable.
“Would you like a pudding ?” said the (wonderful) waitress in that Black Country accent I so love.
“Oooh, have you got the Somewhere Over The Rainbow Cake ?” I asked, remembering the revolving sweets cabinet.
Mrs RM looked horrified, then overjoyed.
Eva Cassidy would have been proud.*
*Mark Crilley won’t get that one, I bet you.