Just to prove there’s life outside the Beer Guide*, a quick trip to Blandord Forum, the Baldock of the West.
My annual music festival has Blandford (pop. 10,610) on its doorstep, but I never visited. In fact I could tell you NOTHING about the town, bar the fact we stopped to tick the Dolphin two decades ago. That’s nearly as long ago as the last time local CAMRA surveyed the pub, possibly when it started selling Doom Bar.
Or possibly because when it became a Craft Union and officially terrifying.
Before I start with the culture, if anyone has lost their Freddie bracelet I have it. If you’re not called Freddie you may not get past my brutal vetting system.
Blandford is worth an hour of you’re time, even if you’re a Freda not a Freddie. It’s got a brewery, of which less later, and some railway heritage of which it’s charmingly proud.
I found 3 shops; selling Dylan LPs, rifles and oil paintings of Oliver Letwin.
I think there’s a connection, possibly on Dylan’s “Shot of Love“. Dave will know.
Elsewhere, the quirk quotient is low,
but there’s some handsome Georgian architecture.
And a lot of flowers. I liked that.
Perhaps it’s the Devizes of the West, but where does that leave Devizes ?
As I stood to take this shot,
a chap stopped his electric bike behind my legs and barked “Admiring our Georgian architecture, hmm ?”.
I owned that I was, and we shared the view that the BBC should film period dramas here. He may be right.
I thought I’d better taste the Badger in Badger-land. The Crown had lovely red signage and a nice font for Matthew Lawrenson, and a bustling beer garden trade.
Oooh. And gentlefolk in a “Common room“.
And only two handpumps. No wonder it’ll never make the GBG.
A charming young lady seemed delighted I chose the Badger; it was almost a sign of local pride even though she’d clearly arrived from Tooting.
“We’re blessed by this summer” she said, which was lovely.
As was the Badger, a cool, crisp NBSS 3+.
I wrote down “Hissing of Summer Lawns” which I’d like to think they were playing but may have been a reflection on the heatwave still sweeping rural England.
Blandford redeemed. If only they could steal Shaftesbury’s hill...
*Only joking, obviously there isn’t really.