May 2023.

I’ve always had a vague ambition to travel every road in the UK and pink it in on my Philip Navigator atlas. Sound familiar ?

One road that had always escaped me was Fen Lane, just off the A1 in the triangle farming wilderness between the Vale of Beauvoir, Grantham and Newark;

Sadly, Fen Lane itself lives down to expectations,

but Staunton-in-the-Vale (pop. 243) has a lively industrial estate and docile cows.

In contrast with a lot of the UK, Staunton was about to go Coronation barmy.

EVERY house had the approved bunting up, except the house of the Lord which retained some dignity.

Americans currently visiting our ancient churches should be aware that creatures like the once shown on St Mary’s do still exist in some parts of the UK (mainly Lincs).

In the churchyard there’s a memorial to the crew of 61 Squadron Lancaster W4270 that crashed 1 mile north west of St Mary’s Church on 18 February 1943.

It’s worth a stop off the A1, particularly since the eponymous pub is nearly always open and serving food like “.Pan Fried Lamb Rump (cooked pink), rosemary & garlic wet polenta, green beans, confit tomato, jus”.

We stopped at 15:00 and there were still gentlefolk deliberating over pudding (Raspberry Ripple & White Chocolate Posset,
meringue, raspberry crumb, sable biscuit), but I was only there for one thing.

We’d been before, possibly 20 years ago, so I must have had the Bass (Harvest Pale and Adnams Mosaic your lesser choices) as this is a stronghold for Britain’s new favourite beer.

In truth it was well-presented but a little too foamy, NBSS 3 I reckon, and the soundtrack was a polite as the welcome and the other customers.

Nice place, though I reckon the pubs the other side of the A1 might be a little more earthy. If they’re open. And Long Bennington might not have Baylis & Harding in the gents. You pays your money etc etc.

The family tree on the wall is a delight;

even if it does remind me of those Pete Frame posters detailing the history of Fairport Convention.


  1. Driven past that pub many times whilst working and liked the look of it. I’m an absolute sucker for painted brick signage, ghost signs for the future. Everards do it a bit, I wish more pubs advertised their ‘Noted Burton Ales’ and ‘Good Stabling’ this way, it’s a nice way to honour our past without having to remove the cushions from the bar and ‘jus’ from the menu.


  2. Life is too short to investigate the full history of Fairport Convention. Just listen to the sublime stuff from the Sandy Denny/Richard Thompson era.


      1. Currently reading a biography of Sandy Denny, “No More Sad Refrains”. Never knew she was sacked out of Fairport for being pissed all the time. Shame. Still, IMO, the best English female singer ever.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s the trouble with gastro.

    “Could I have the pan-fried lamb, and the gravy jus</i?, but with chips, seasonal greens, and mint sauce, please?" always gets a "no."

    Stick to the Bass and then go for a curry, if there's one to be had anywhere around…


    1. Bass in the Star, Bath was £19.60 a jug last week.
      And only £3.60 a pint from the mirror box in Bristol’s Avon Packet.
      I doubt if I would go in the Asda if it was free.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But only £3.60 from the rare mirror box in the Avon Packet – with “Bass is it ?” the second day I went in.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, the Avon Packet and two or three other Bristol pubs with their Bass from free flow “mirror box” pumps and the two or three Midlands pubs with their Banks’s Original from metered pumps are, as far as I know, the last half dozen out of many thousands of pubs, nearly all in the Midlands and North, that had “Electric” dispense in the 1970s.
        I can’t find a picture of one, only those Bass mirrors that are ren a penny since that factory opened in Wrexham.


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