Out for a run before rushing home to pack, spotted this sign:
Archive for November 2010
Out for a run to enjoy a sunny Armistice Day, I had done a few repeats of Headington Hill and was heading back to work, but as I passed through the Plain noticed that the Half Moon door was ever so slightly ajar. A sign, surely.
A hippy girl was the only other soul, sitting around doing some maths revision. She hopped up and pulled my pint but had to run out for change of a twenty, leaving me there to look around. The house has a bohemian feel to it, especially odd in a Greene King gaff but it seems fairly authentic. Probably the more artsy kids at Oxford and Oxford Brookes use it, and there were a lot of music adverts to back this up. Friendly enough but it felt an awful lot like a youth joint. I enjoyed the low, autumn sunlight on the wooden decking for precisely as long as it took to give my beverage the attention it deserved then dragged my decrepit ass back out onto the street…feeling a bit colder from the sweat drying but oddly invigorated as well.
Sadly, even if I had beed invited I couldn’t have gone. With the general poor behaviour of most of the actual attendees, I deem it a great honour to have been intentionally left off the list (“you know SR will just get naked and throw up on the cake, and we have Fatty to do that”). Still they are two of the nicest folks I know and I wish them all the best…I even dashed out to Tesco for some vodka this morning.
Желая Вам обоим любовь, здоровье и процветание,
(which I believe translates to “Get moose and squirrel”). Congratulations, guys!
Upper Heyford is a sleepy village just above the Oxford Canal, but they have a cracking pub, the Barley Mow. I wandered in about 2/3′s of the way through a 21 mile run and had a lovely pint of Chiswick and a very friendly conversation with a splendid couple of flatboat dwellers that were in for lunch and seemed completely gobsmacked that I came in all sweaty (in this weather) and fancying a pint instead of some sweetened, non-alcoholic tipple (but I soon set them straight). The landlady was quite nice as well and the food the boaters were served looked marvelous (and enough to keep you afloat for days, even splitting it with someone). I could very easily have stayed put and had a few more bevvies and a plate of lasagna myself, but the walkers I had run down a mile or so back were arriving for their lunch and I made my escape out across the abandoned RAF base. It’s the first village from Bicester on the #25 bus, so you really ought to try it out.
An early start to the day found me leaving the Banbury rail station and running down the towpath of the Oxford Canal. The wind was furious and there was a nip in the air so when I spotted the Great Western Arms across the canal as I reached Aynho it seemed ripe time for a pit stop. The friendly young barmaid promptly served up a delicious pint of Ali’s Ale, the house brew named for one of the proprietors and supplied by Hook Norton (which is always a good thing).
I’ve always been something of a rail buff, spending quite a few weekends in the 70′s hopping on freights in Griffin and Atlanta, Georgia, to find out where they would end up. My granddad had been a brakeman for Southern Rail, as well, so all the Great Western RR memorabilia around the pub was pretty interesting.
As I said, it was pretty early so there weren’t any other customers, yet. In chatting with the staff I found out that the place only reopened in June 2009 after some ‘dodgy’ landlords left it in a shambles. I spotted the ‘measures act’ statement, as you do, and made note of the size of their standard wine glasses and spirits measures, but was especially happy to see that the spirits had proper spouts on them and none of those awful, inverted, idiot-pour contraptions that are at every other pub in the land. Well done!
I didn’t hang about too long, as I had 13 more miles to go before I got home and there was a very real threat of rain. This pub is a bit out-of-the-way, but worth a visit if you just happen past.
Last Friday evening around 5:30, I was the only customer in the Anchor, a huge house that boasts the best pub grub in Oxford. If the price of the beer (£3.40 for my Castle Rock Harvest Pale, £4.50 if you want a Peroni) or the level of service (the place was teeming with strapping young men that just couldn’t be asked to take an order), the food would have to be sublime. I have my doubts. On top of that, it definitely seems geared toward the food end of the business layed out as it is in a manner that would discourage mingling or indeed a crowd of any sort. Pity.
On the plus side, the beer seemed well kept and there were four taps with Wadsworth 6X and Heny’s IPA and two guests. The fireplace in the small area that still kind of looks like a pub was blazing and there were newspapers scattered around. I’ve been to worse and less friendly ones…but not many, and not twice.