AKA Dodging Duncan.
This post from Euro Semi-Final day feels more interminable than the Final itself by now, but we brought it to a close near Gladestry at the end of the Hergest Ridge in what Real County Enthusiasts know as Radnorshire.
Not many people are aware that Hergest is named after the “difficult” sophomore Mike Oldfield album that was almost rejected by Richard Branson as it lacked the singalong hits of his debut.
Mike was drawn to the area by the equally difficult first Beer Guide with its exotic sounding ticks in places like Llanfihangel-Nant-Melan, Burlingjobb and Brilley Mountain.
Gladestry doesn’t sound that exotic by those standards, but at least its 412 souls have a pub in the Guide, unlike Wembley which has none..
We actually spent the night a mile or so walk down the road in England, our plans to meet Duncan the Pubmeister scuppered by the fact that he’d taken the last affordable room in Builth Wells on Wednesday. What on earth was going on in Builth on Wednesday ? We never found out.
Not much was going on in the Royal Oak at 18:00, but the two tables closest bar were taken a couple of locals and a couple of cyclists (it’s always cyclists) so I had to check in and sit in the corner like a naughty boy. (Oh).
I didn’t even have the heart to read the latest edition of the Herefordshire CAMRA magazine (2019), which I estimate I’ve seen 307 times in pubs since it was published.
I really fancied the Robinsons in the authentic earthenware container, but cider would have invalidated my tick at the Time of Reckoning,
so it was the inevitable Butty Bach.
The presentation was perfect, only let down by a slight sharpness that meant it hovered either side of NBSS 3, and made me wish I’d waited for the Hobson Town Crier to be pulled through. Especially when That Duncan messaged me an hour later from the same seat to tell me how good the Hobson’s was drinking.
But I then I was well gone, pausing only to admire Hergest, and to hum “Moonlight Shadow” on the walk home.