The last instrument from Cambridge was packed up at 9:55 and on the road to Oxford at 10:15. This facilitated my escape to Great Barford where I changed into running kit, and dashed along the River Great Ouse paths with sun and snow and a freezing 20 mph wind in my face by 11:00. A relatively short run of just over 8 miles showed me a bit of very nice parkland along bike paths and then some even nicer river walk area right on out to the far western stretch of Bedford. A loop back through a heavily immigrant neighbourhood that seemed more (or should I say “moor”) like the Sarphatistraat in Amsterdam than anywhere I’ve seen in Britain dumped me on a busy street with this tantalisingly pagan sight just ahead:
If this was a pub, I would not be able to resist and I was drawn to the golden calf like so many others before me that have wandered the wastelands countless years on end and then… BUGGER! No pub for me! But, just across the street was what surely must be the brewery tap for Wychwood Brewery (one of my favourites), the Hobgoblin. In I went to the smell of stale beer and even more stale human funk; this seemed so much the better when I realised that the entire venue was only populated by me, the manager, and an almost too young to be out alone bartender. I felt quite at home.
The bar was impressively dark wood and brass and the bartender was carefully polishing the brass with some pungent solvent when he noticed me. I pointed to one of the several pumps that separated us and asked him what was on and he replied, “all we have on tap is Strongbow and Fosters.” Fuck me. That’s when I noticed the poster for some Metallica (I guess) tribute band and the fact that the sparse furnishings were ideal for a rock and roll bar. Shit!
I downed the Fosters pretty quickly and went to the loo upstairs to change into my street clothes. On the way down I noticed the poster that would have tipped me off so much earlier: TWAT Club…Tuesday Wednesday And Thursday drink specials. Hobgoblin…more like Knob Gobblers, I think.