One of the guys at the Crown told me about the former Bell Inn recently renamed the Barbury Inn to take advantage of the name recognition of the nearby Barbury Castle. I was still thirsty so I ran the half mile to it despite already changing into my dry clothes; this was a good move as they had three St. Austell ales on (I had a Trelawny), a gorgeous coaching inn housing the bar, and 6 Nations rugby on tele. I couldn’t linger as the Sunday bus schedule is unforgiving, but I got an immediately welcoming feeling here.
That said, it was a bit odd…endearing, but odd. The bar girls, of course, quizzed me on my activities (“Been walking, then? Oh, running from where? Devizes? Oi, this man has just run from Devizes.” “Oh, Devizes? That’s quite far.” “Oh, I used to go to school just south of Devizes, and now I know the area out to Marlborough and,” pointing generally westerly, “Wootton Bassett but I’m not sure what else is around.” And, on and on…).
The manager came out and after some banter with the bar staff one of them said, “This man has just run from Devizes,” and that obliged him to talk about running but without the authority of the punter at the Crown. I would have stayed on because this was all very entertaining but, as I said, the bus is a stern mistress.