15th December 2022.
We arrived back in Waterbeach to find the “worst snow since 1982”, but at least it hadn’t closed Chung Hwa.
Mrs RM helped me conquer the final new Cambridgeshire entry for GBG23, an overdue return to Chatteris,
a town immortalised on Half Man Half Biscuit’s best seller.
I can’t believe I hadn’t used that cultural reference before, but of course BRAPA had beat me to it in 2018.
But he’ll have to come back and do the Cross Keys, and they’ve just slashed bus services to Chatteris (though four school buses whizzed past us so he could impersonate a school child I guess).
And of course, Simon doesn’t give you the stuff that matters when he visits a pub, the apparently pointless steel sculptures of Fenland animals,
the library book bugs,
the Hobbit Hole I thought was a micropub but turns out to be a place where nerds play fantasy games (NO, not trying to find an open pub in January).
I hadn’t been to Chatteris since they opened a branch of the budget Tesco called “Jack’s“, and along with the bus service that’s closed too.
So you’d expect this dull Fenland commuter town (pop. 11,099) to feel a bit barren and sorry for itself, perhaps.
But, despite the icy winds, the town looked rather charming,
and had made more of an effort with its Christmas deccies than central London.
Even if they were the same decorations they’ve been using since 1982.
I’d never heard of the Cross Keys, the town’s understated hotel for commercial travellers, and fear the worst.
But it’s rather quaint, perhaps twee, and a treasure trove for those of us who believe that, whilst your own house should be minimalist, a pub should be packed with tat.
The welcome from barperson and locals at the bar discussing leeks was low-key, but who cares when the beer range is so welcoming.
Mrs RM had grabbed the sofa nearest the fire and awaited her foaming pint of Blonde. I knew just one sip of the Doom Bar would tell me a lot about the Cross Keys.
Well, my worst fears unfounded; this was a superb pint of the UK’s top selling cask beer, a cool, rich 3.5.
“Mmmm this is nice” said Mrs RM. slipping further back into her chair with her Blonde.
I presume the crossbow is there to deter visitors from asking for tasters, but I reckon BRAPA would be advised to be on his best behaviour after he walks here from Manea Station for his sixth pub of the day, don’t you ?