“And a bang on the ear”

Monday evening. I’d left Mum and Dad watching Emmerdale (a farming soap without farmers) for an hour to see what Cambridge was like before the weekend surge.

The circular route took me back to the station from the Elm Tree,

and over Parker’s Piece, home to the invention of the rules of football (US : soccccccer) and the Jack Hobbs pavilion. Here you can see the actual cricket stumps from when Hobbs scored 344 against Corinthian Casuals here.

Where are all the students ? Parker’s Piece is normally the best place to get knocked over by cyclists or joggers in Cambridge.

Most of the young folk seem to be in the courtyard of the Prince Regent Hotel (it was 12 degrees),

a bar I haven’t been in since Greene King IPA was last trendy in (checks spreadsheet) 1988.

Back then, our post-work crowd of accountants would often spend evenings on the Piece eating kebabs and singing along to nu-folk classics from the Waterboys.

The next train left Cambridge at 20:38. It was 20:18, and would take me 15 minutes to the station. A quick half then. I stood patiently at the handpumps, coins in hand, deciding whether Abbot, “house beer” or the Tiny Rebel was the obvious choice.

Sadly, I never got served, because as a Fat Old Bloke of 57 in a “Young Person’s” pub I am officially invisible, and a young beardie walking to the bar (it wasn’t busy) got served before me with a “Same again ?“.

On Mumsnet at the moment a lady called Chocolattay recalls a time when she was ignored for an hour because she was a woman eating alone.

She should try being an old bloke at the bar. I walked out immediately, hiding my huff.

As I walked down Station Road, admiring the new office blocks that have replaced the pubs round here, something hard fell on my ear* from the tree above.

Ouch !” I said. Simon would have stopped to take a photo of the object or adopted it as their next mascot; I just needed a beer in the station pub.

At the bar, two ladies perched on stools either side of the pumps, even though Chocolattay had just said on Mumsnet that Women Don’t Eat Out Or Go To Pubs Alone.

The Ticket Office staff are nice; they noticed me and said “Anything else, Bro” which is the first time I’ve been called “Bro” in a pub since 2018.

It’s a decent station bar, better seating than the Piccadilly Tap but without the noise, and without much Monday trade.

A cool, rich Night Porter (3.5) from local Brew Board and some angry indie to suit my mood.

And an electronic scoreboard that showed I was about to miss my train unless I sank that half and scooted in the same movement.

Never in doubt.

*Later that evening, whatever had fallen on my head appeared to still be in my hair. I don’t know what it was and don’t wish to find out, thanks.

18 thoughts on ““And a bang on the ear”

  1. I like the Old Ticket Office, every village should have a decent beer bar adjacent to the station, and yet very few do in my experience. Hopefully it’ll survive the inevitable massive rent hike when the landlords realise how busy it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (US : Ernglish Fooootball). I have had that happen in trendy bars as well. Very uninviting feeling at times. Simon getting turned away for being a man and you getting turned away for being old; what’s this world coming to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t even turned away, Dave, just not acknowledged ! I was the only person not being served at the bar, attempting my smile, and a young bloke just came and got served. It wasn’t because there was a half full glass on the bar in front of me, either.

      I think you’re expected to wave your card or cash at the bar staff (joke).

      In the Starbucks at Corley Services recently the server was chatting to someone on the headpiece for at least 2 minutes, ignoring me. When I finally said excuse me She said “I was waiting for you to speak”. Honest.

      A simple nod of acknowledgement of your existence works wonders, I find.


  3. As it’s grrumpy old man time…
    I went to the fashionable local brewery to buy a box of bottles. Two staff having a discussion that was more important than me. I waited patiently for 10 minutes waiting for one to come and serve me. When he did I walked away from the counter only to be asked if he could help. With a smile I suggested he clearly wasn’t able to. This was not the lovely Peak Ales who are brilliant.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Does bill051 mean you live in Area 51 in the States ?

      Good point about queues. In this case, there was only me at the bar with someone just giving been served so it wasn’t that there was a crush at the bar.


    1. Yes, bit self-defeating if there’s nothing to move onto !

      I had to go really, and didn’t fancy saying “Excuse me” loudly ! (someone will now produce CCTV evidence to shows he was actually at the bar before me !).


  4. I remember that Elm Tree as a Charles Wells pub in the mid 1970s.
    The many elm trees there that have survived Dutch Elm Disease better than elsewhere in Britain were one of the delights of staying in Brighton three years ago. That and a Sunday getting round the Harveys pubs of Lewes with Citra.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a Wells house till relatively recently, selling Banks and Taylor of Sheffield beers.

      Still has Wells beer on the bar, and sold a wonderful Pedigree when t’other Mudgie and Andrew from West Suffolk visited in 2019.


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