Bell Inn, Seend, Wiltshire   Leave a comment

Bell Inn Seend sign

For years, I have seen the Bell as I rode the bus route between Devizes and Trowbridge and have long meant to take some time to tick it off the list.  It turns out to be one of the places I’m most eager to come back to for another visit (perhaps regularly).

 

Bell Inn Seend Corvus Stout

 

I got here quickly in a mad dash from the Brewery Inn to make sure I had time to catch the bus; the pubs were nearer each other than I had estimated so once I topped the hills it was only a couple of minutes total (rather than ten or more).  This was good, though, as it allowed me a relaxed walk around the premises and a visit to the garden to take in the view of the valley while changing into some dry clothing in the light, misty rain.

Bell Inn Seend view

They have a sign outside that they do fish and chips takeaways on Wednesday and Friday evenings, which is attractive to me in the Year of Fish and Chips. Much more so was the lovely kitchen I spied on my snooping around and the note on the sign board about everything being fresh and local.  Moreover, for £2 more, you can turn any main into a 2-course meal by adding a starter or dessert.  I see a spring roadtrip this way for some dry weather hiking and a pub lunch.

Bell Inn Seend kitchen suppliers

It’s a Wadworth house so I had a Corvus stout (always an exceptional choice especially kept as well as it is here).  The only issue I had was the sign of the Bell: Wadworth has their own signage shop at the brewery and mostly makes unique signs for each of their pubs but this one is frightfully similar to the one you pass on your way through Devizes (although close inspection reveals the loving details in that one that this one is missing).  Yes, I am a petty prick.

Bell Inn Seend

 

Brewery Inn, Seend Cleve, Wiltshire   1 comment

Brewery Inn Seend Cleve sign

While the Brewery Inn was relatively empty, the bar itself was rammed largely due to the charming and agreeable landlady running the show but also, to some degree, because everyone at the bar was a friendly sort to begin with.  Unable to push close enough to read without my glasses (too fogged, smeared and dripping with rainwater and mud from the mucky trail I took from Bowerhill to use), I pointed at the last pump handle and asked, “is that a cider, madam?” “It is, indeed,” she answered instinctively louder than the guy sitting in front of the tap who volunteered, “ooo, aye, a fine cider that one, young man.”  I think that’s what he said, as it all came out as a single word.  It turned out to be Cheddar Valley Traditional cider, which Mr NoSpaceBetweenNotes pointed out used to be made by a small brewery but is now part of the Thatcher’s collection but is still the same formula as always and in some ways the quality control is better although ’tis sad to see the small ‘uns sell up [spewed in 3 seconds flat in his otherwise delightful West Country drawl].

Brewery Inn Seend Cleve cider

With my legs caked in mud and cow shit and my shirt soaked in rain from without and sweat from within, I moved to a table to check out my route and cause less offence.  Encroaching on others was not seen as a problem by the parents of the two little boys who kept tossing a cushion around and then crashing into my table with increasing ferocity.  I drank up faster than I had planned (this otherwise would have been a good house in which to linger) and as I was returning my glass heard the erstwhile father character say to one of the boys, “calm down, now, you might hurt yourself.”  Muttering my thanks to the lady of the house I added, “yeah, they’re definitely on the road to injury;” a two count and the guys at the bar started laughing and wishing me well for the day and to return soon.

Brewery Inn Seend Cleve

Bear, Melksham, Wiltshire   Leave a comment

Bear Melksham sign

 

I didn’t make any notes (well, there were mental notes that I forgot before leaving the house) regarding the opening times of pubs in Melksham except that I knew at least one opened at 10:30 and another at 11.  I soon found that none of the ones I spotted on the trot in from Semington were these.

Arriving at the King’s Arms, which was signposted as opening at 11, I found the doors locked (of course…it was 10 minutes till) and was confronted by a thin, middle-aged bloke with the needy smile of a Christian zealot.  Obviously, he must have thought, this underdressed man sweating in the rain needs my help and to be saved from eternal damnation; “are you alright, there, sir?” he asked and offered in the same breath.  “Atheist, here,” I corrected more politely than I am usually capable; “not in the market for fairy tales.”  Taken aback, he quickly asked, “how…how did you know?”  Pointing with a wiggly forefinger at his face with its needy eyes and practised rictus and his tidy and casual but unmistakeable suburban missionary’s garb, “what else would cause, you know, this?”  I thought a quick trot around the town would be in order and I could stop back by when the God-botherer found more fertile ground to plow.

Five minutes and half a mile passed and I was ready to head back when I spotted the Bear with a key bit of information: it is a Wetherspoon so the bar had been serving since 8 or 9 am.  Ideal.

Inside, I chatted with the very pleasant bar manager about the run I was on and the beer that I ordered.  I could easily have leaned on the bar and talked to her for a couple of rounds but thought it prudent to stick to just one and found a table in the busy and very modern interior of this mock Tudor inn.  The sun emerged as I was considering a second and I decided to go find a fish and chip shop that might be open (although the first I got to didn’t open until 11:30, and the second at 11:45…ten minutes early for each of them, a theme that I only realised on the bus ride home).

Bear Melksham

Posted 2014/11/23 by 1pumplane in pubs, Run Across Britain

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Robinson’s Traditional Fish and Chips, Bowerhill, Wiltshire, Chippy Challenge #113   1 comment

Robinsons Traditional Fish and Chips Bowerhill cod

 

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: none
Evaluation: Good lord, this was spectacular.  Ever so slightly undercooked at the centre of the incredibly generously sliced portion the flesh melted under the slightest tooth pressure, steamed inside the jacket of sinfully delicious batter and with a fragrant vinegar that must come from Elysium.  I hope this crappy estate appreciates this little treasure, this diamond gleaming atop the pig shit.
Days since last: 1 (Marmaris, Swindon)

Robinsons Traditional Fish and Chips Bowerhill
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DT #326, 22 November 2014 (Brewers’ Blizzard)   2 comments

Brewers' Blizzrd Bear Melksham

DT #326, 22 November 2014 (Brewers’ Blizzard)

Back to the running
With 8.8 miles, three pubs,
And a great chippy.

Name: Brewers’ Blizzard
Type: bitter

2014-11-22 run route
Venue: The Bear, Melksham

Review/notes: It’s the Saturday before American Thanksgiving (the only holiday I really like) which kicks off the Holiday Season for us.  Drinking and eating too much must be tempered by a bit of strenuous activity, so I am pledging to run at least 3 miles until the Saturday after New Years.  Today, I got up early with Jackie (who had to work) and caught the bus to Semington whence I ran to Melksham (my first visit) then looping back to Seend.  I finished at the Bell having just left the Brewery Inn in Seend Cleve and a wonderful chippy in Bowerhill.  Mud was everywhere.

In Melksham, I arrived too early for the chippies and other pubs, so I hit the Bear, a Wetherspoons so I knew it would be open, serving at the bar, and cheap.  The Brewers’ Blizzard was awesome–floral, alternately sweet and bitter, and with a varnish-y finish. Definitely could have chosen worse,

Brewers' Blizzrd pump Bear Melksham

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Marmaris, Swindon, Chippy Challenge #112   1 comment

marmaris swindon fish and chips

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: dunno
Sides: chips
Evaluation: Chips and fish from the freezer.  This place does a decent kebab, though.  When you’ve been out drinkin’ and need sustenance, you do what you gotta do (and I needed a fish and chips as it has been 7 days since the last one); the kebab was really tempting, though.
Days since last: 7 (WingLoon, Oxford)

marmaris swindon
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DT #325, 21 November 2014 (Hardy’s Bankside Shiraz)   Leave a comment

Hardy's Bankside Shiraz

Unsuccessful week
In most of the ways that count.
Time to get loaded.

Name: Hardy’s Bankside Shiraz
Type: red wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: Decent fillets, some broad bean and parmesan mash with roasted potatoes…perfect start to a drinking evening.  The wine is okay at £4.99 but not worth full price (same as the rosé a couple of days ago).  That’s all…Gotta dash!

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Posted 2014/11/21 by 1pumplane in Buy Me A Beer

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