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 wanted to join in with the conversation round the corner (probably about Kane), but I couldn’t so had to stare at the fireplace and pretend I had internet. At least when the Guvnor pulled the curtains to set up the TV there was some laughter about it being “Squeaky Bum Time”.

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.


  1. I hate Moonlight Shadow. If there were a beer of that name I would refuse to drink it. There aren’t many songs that cause me to drink up and leave a pub, but that and Bye Bye Miss American Pie are among them. When I went in the Crow Inn in Sheffield last week the latter was playing as I took my seat and the barman was pouring my beer into a glass. I explained my response to the song and he *immediately* turned the sound down. That’s what I call customer service.

    He turned it up again for the next track, The Who’s Baba O’Reilly. I told him I had first heard that song in a live performance almost exactly 50 years ago in Dunstable’s Civic Hall. This made me feel very old – which of course I am – but also unaccountably happy.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I had a Wye Valley HPA again the other day – no note of honey this time, and a fine pint at the Farmer’s Arms, Nottage.


  3. Hergest Ridge is a very underrated album IMHO. Not as good as Ommadawn though. And everything he’s done since has been completely unlistenable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gladys isn’t a female name that’s popular just now. I wonder if that is an aversion of the parents to having prospective suitors asking if they can feel Glad all over?

    Similarly chaps called Justin (hung like a hamster, being the implication!)

    Oh dear, time for another beer, methinks :o)

    Liked by 2 people

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