A bit of a dull but necessary post now, as Mrs RM takes over expert driving duties on the way to a triumphant completion of the Home Counties (what even ARE the Home Counties ?).

Dull, because it involves a few flying visits, as Mrs RM hovers anxiously in car parks while I nip in pubs for a quick half, under strict instructions NOT to pay the outrageous £1.50/hour charge. I didn’t get where I am today by paying to park.

So at Woodstock, which was HEAVING, I scampered the 400 yards to The Crown Inn, necked half of “Rude Not To” (3.5), was called Sir 3 times by the barman, and was back in the passenger seat within 7.5 minutes. BRAPA would be unimpressed by that.

But I don’t think I missed any pub action in a gastro winding down from the post-lunch surge. Did I ?

The next half hour was spent trying to find fuel. Anyone reading this in 2070 (I’m insisting this blog is maintained after my demise) will be amazed to read of a time when vehicles were powered by fossil fuel, rather than carrot juice or whatever, but the end of September into October was the time the evil Lib Dem voting South stopped moving. I saw fights in Amersham.

Luckily we’d filled up leaving Millport and had enough to reach the outskirts of Oxford where we joined a 3 miles queue of folk waiting to put £3 worth of diesel in their 4 x 4s at BP Yarnton. Pub tickers really should have been given priority for fuel.

Another half an hour and Mrs RM parked up at The Lamb (top) this year’s annual new entry in Wantage.

Mrs RM headed immediately to the spot under the beams with the best internet while I headed for the bar.

Unless she’s suddenly grown to 7 foot, the Duck or Grouse sign was a bit pointless.

Oddly, this was a “Young lads pub in smart town“. A rare category entry in the Guide, but not the first in Wantage. In Cambridge the equivalent pub would be the King Street Run (the pub, not the event).

“Witty” sayings painted on ancient beams said things like “Preserve wildlife, pickle a squirrel“. You get the idea.

Once again, great beer. Arkells in a Fullers glass (takeover imminent ?) was a cool, rich 3.5+. Best Arkells in the GBG ?

Another half an hour, the drizzle set in and Mrs RM definitely was not joining me in the Royal Standard.

A great shame, as she’d have hated it as much as I loved it.

To complete a trio of Oxon oddities in Wallingford, following the gentlefolk gastro and the young lads local we have the Old Boys at the bar boozer. The layman may be unable to tell the latter two apart; it’s a life skill.

All I need do is share my hurriedly scribbled notes.

He’s good at fractions, it’s a common denominator

“Never heard so much BS. Less sense than a gnat’s cock

Do you ever stop for breath mate ?”

Oh, and the beer, another Rude Not To made in a railway siding (HS2 sidings) was a 4. Yeah, you read that right.

As I left, I hear “The North starts at Banbury. DON’T ARGUE !”. Can’t argue with that.


  1. “Home Counties” is cryptic crossword clue-speak for “SE”, so they must be anywhere south of Banbury and east of … if only you’d stayed a little longer to find out where The West starts.

    Liked by 1 person

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