MRS RM GOES UPMARKET IN HURWORTH-ON-TEES

Having secured our £5 pitch for the night 5 miles south of Darlington, I allowed Mrs RM free reign to book our tea for the night.

Personally I’d have been happy with Mini Cheddars and a pickled egg with my keg Magnet, but you’ll know by now that my wife has aspirations on the Prosecco and parma ham society.

She booked tea (or is it dinner ?) at the Bay Horse, a mile’s walk away in Hurworth. I’d been before (Tim Taylors, NBSS 3), had NO recollection of it, but guessed it would sell a nice burger for £12.95.

But as we approached an increasingly smart looking village at dusk I started to suspect the Bay Horse might have loftier ambitions.

It certainly looked the part.

And through the window the public bar seemed cosy enough.

But, having been greeted at the door by staff from the same training camp as Brunning & Price we observed the horror ahead.

At 18:15 on a September Sunday we were the only punters, but the greeter assured us they were as busy as ever. I looked doubtful, though to be honest you’re lucky to get a gastropub open on a Sunday evening so there must be some custom to make it worthwhile.

With 15 minutes till our appointment with culinary fate we took our drinks out to the garden, just like Proper Posh people do, and perused the evening’s menu.

The Boltmaker was superb, a cool 3.5, one of the beers of the trip.

Nothing on the menu cost less than five pints of Tim Taylor.

Have you been with us before ?” said the young man. “It’s fine dining“.

I could tell that from the Cricket Club photo, mate.

In the loos someone was reading the audio book of Nigel Slater’s “Toast“, while in the restaurant we were treated to Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World“.

This was my main course. It’s probably the actual size.

It was an experience, I’ll say that. And I like experiences.

By 19:15 we’d been joined by a dozen folk determined to entertain us with their determination to eat off-menu.

And no broccoli puree for ME !”

Oh, is it an allergy ?”

No, just a dislike

The Emerson Arms almost persuaded us in for a gin,

but as the clouds gathered I just had time for a photo of the Tees,

and then back to see a fight emerge from nowhere at the Croft Club which rather dampened our ardour for a half of Magnet. But there’s always a next time. Possibly.

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