Reidski came up to see me last night and I thought we would go some where 'different'. Well where we ended up was different alright.
My bible - The Good Pub Guide - doesn't extol the virtues of very many Northamptonshire pubs but this one is always in it, yet I had never been there. It is - and I can say this now having driven to it twice last night - far from the madding crowds, and getting to it was rather a challenge but find it we did. However arriving as we did at 6.15 we found it well and truly shut. A check back at the bible revealed it would not be open till 7. We were now several miles of winding, narrow gated country roads away from any other pub, but where there is a significant need for a pint...well, obviously we did find another pub, but we decided we would go back to the Kings Arms as the food recommendations sounded brilliant. Back round the winding, narrow gated country roads we went and result! The pub is now open - and quite packed in the bar. In we go. The place does that thing as happens in American Werewolf in London where our heroes enter the country pub and it goes completely quiet as all eyes fall upon the strangers at the door.
There then followed a quite remarkably difficult scene at the bar in which our attempts to order some wine ended up with me having a gin and tonic and Reidski having a pint. This incident was partly explained by the local behind the bar having difficulty understanding a Scottish accent, and partly by as we later realised, the fact that the old boy serving us was clearly a customer, and not a bar man. Not a bar man by any stretch of the imagination. All of this scene was carried out in full hearing of, as well as for the amusement of, everyone else in the pub.
The bar itself was decorated as though we were sitting in the front room of a 19th century cottage. Chintz was us. And it would obviously have been out of place to add signs to this front room decor like 'Toilets', although it would be everso helpful if they could see fit to put such a sign up in future. I think there was one other woman in there, but it was a bit difficult to be absolutely certain about the gender of the person concerned. Anyway, much as I fought against it, it became inevitable that I was going to have to go in search of the ladies and that meant I had to make my way through a sea of men, and worse, ask them where the toilets were hidden. I would like to say that not every man in that pub knew I was going for a wee - but I can't. They were all so helpful; they all but escorted me to the door of the ladies loo. And on my way back to my seat, they parted in the manner of the Red Sea when Moses was on the job. Inconspicous I was not.
And what of the mouthwatering sounding food as highly recommended? Well, we don't exactly know. There was no one eating. There was no smells of cooking. There were no menus - although there were pamphlets about the cheese they sell over the counter. (I have never known a pub that sold cheese before but I am sure it is very good cheese.) And yes, we are both adults, and I am sure we really could have asked about eating, but we are both also very susceptible to being embarrassed in public,and neither of us had the nerve to enquire as to the availabilty or otherwise of any pub grub.
We ended up in a Chef and Brewer.
Which really just serves us right for being such wimps.
The Hamilton Hacker - Nice wee bit of sly humour from the April 1937 issue of the *Socialist Standard*.
12 hours ago