Where better than Henley Spoons ?
It gives me a chance to visit this near GBG oasis for the first time since Mrs RM’s uncle lived in Shiplake, home to some excellent Brakspears Bitter/Ordinary/Gravity/Whatever.
Henley really is the Stratford-on-Avon of the South, a tidy but hugely overrated town that nevertheless attracts coachloads and pashminas by the hundreds.
Wetherspoons did a decent job with the Catherine Wheel, and you can stay here for £46.80 if you’re not picky. Who said England is overpriced ? The parking was cheap, too.
I know many of you are deeply worried about the availability of the nation’s favourite beer at the moment. I’m pleased to report the Doom Bar was ON, along with some homebrews.
I stuck to 3 flat whites. I like to get my money’s worth.
You’ll know that Simon and I are students of pub toilet art. Henley’s Spoons has basic, but intriguing, graffiti (top). And a mere three spelling mistakes in the first name alone.
Anyone who has met me will confirm I look nothing like Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal, former leader of the Mongolian People’s Republic.
But what was in the ladies ? I may never know.
Barring the perennial back street Bird in Hand, Henley hasn’t graced the GBG for years.
The pubs remind me of those in Shakespeare’s birthplace, too. Excess signage, words written on ancient walls, and no mobility scooters gracing the exterior.
Of course, Henley was once the site of one of our great low ABV brewers, and a 3.4% beer that pre-2007 was a staple of the earthier Oxon pubs.
Nowadays folk come for afternoon tea via boat from Slough.
And stay in the Relais and consider themselves well out of the brutishness of Berkshire.
And they’ll never darken the doors of the Bird in Hand, that’s for sure.