Archive for the ‘Waterbeach’ Tag
The Sun had 6 very interesting ales on the pumps in the upstairs bar including one that topped out at 8.4% ABV; alas, I showed up too early as these were lined up for their May Bank Holiday Beer Festival which wouldn’t commence until 6 pm. I was there to start a run out through the fens, anyway, so I just had a refreshing pint of Foster’s and called it even.
This is a pretty nice pub with a billiards table room, a garden and a lounge in addition to the bar I couldn’t get up to and the saloon I was sitting in. The landlord is right friendly and showed me a few of his stock of exotic beers (former Soviet client states seem to be a speciality). I was wrong in an earlier post that they are closed weird hours (or as weird as it seemed at the time), it is just that there is no custom anywhere in the village on Thursday so they don’t bother to open till 5 that day…it was just my normal bad timing.
A rastafarian came in for a Fosters and asked about my camera, so I showed him the photos I had taken and then he fired off a shot my way; it was fairly lucky for me that there was no flash…I would have been blinded on my way out of the pub. Not as blinded as if I had drank the 8.4% beer, but it still would have been difficult on the loose, uneven public footpaths through the farms.
Waterbeach continues to surprise me. About 7/8 of the way through this article on the lack of St George Day celebrations I spotted this line:
“The village’s Beach Social Club will host its second annual sausage competition….”
I got no indication that Waterbeach was at all that way the last few visits, not that there’s anything wrong with it.
The White Horse is a pretty big pub in Waterbeach, just off the green and not too far from the rail station. I got there for a Cambridge Hash House Harriers event by biking the 7 miles from my house. I rode through the crowd of hashers and round back of the pub to lock up and was met by the landlady who was having a smoke in the garden. She urged me to leave the bike within the gates and I pushed past her spaniel to do so. The dog came along on the run with one of the hashers, so it was good to get to know him first.
Opted not to have a beer before the run (the pub probably wasn’t even open yet), but afterward having hung out with some other finishers in the parking lot in front of the bar for awhile I joined the queue. Whilst in the lot, I had spoken with this guy about a Nissan Micra he had parked out front with a For Sale sign advertising it for £350; this turned out to be one of the bartenders and he took my order ahead of the rabble which pleased me as much as it upset them. I had the first of several Gem Ales from the Bath Brewery (I had some of this a few weeks ago at, I think, the Prince Albert in Ely and really liked it).
The pub has a snooker table in a lower bar down by the Gents, and two other bars next to one another at garden level. The garden is huge (maybe a half acre) and easily accommodated the large circle of hashers that eventually formed out there. While waiting for the circle ceremony to start, I noted several really delicious looking plates of Sunday roasts and vegetables going out to some of the other customers; they also have a large menu of Thai food.
The staff is really friendly, here, the location is convenient, and the taps are plentiful and properly attended…what more could you ask?
The bike ride along the barge tow-path on the River Cam was more strenuous than I expected due, largely, to the wind. The appearance of The Bridge pub was a welcome resting stop. I first saw it from a bridge over the river, through some willow branches. The back yard looks pretty inviting, and I locked the bike back there and entered through the dining porch and on into the dining room.
The place is huge and really geared toward the restaurant end of the business. I was the only person in there a) alone and b) just drinking, but there was a nice cubby hole for me to sit and watch the crowd and long for the mounds of food coming past.
This pub is part of a chain called the Chef and Brewer, and other reviews I have since read say that the layout is pretty generic and uninspired, but I’m a stupid American and I really liked the massive timbers and the dark decor and, like I said, the food really looked and smelled great (and the menu shows it to be reasonably priced. It IS something of a family themed place, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Finally bought a bike, a dutch bike but I still haven’t had a chance to go to Holland to do it (been very busy). Instead, I went to the Bike Man on Abbey Walk near Newmarket Road, this repair shop piled with police-recovered bicycles. They repair these and give you a good price and a 6 month warranty and will buy them back less depreciation (so if you are on a short stay, it makes a cheap rental).
On the way, I got lost in a neighbourhood nearby and spotted this cool old bakery:
My bike is a Gazelle, built in 1968 or 1969. I pieced that together based on the drum brake on the front and the 3-speed hub that was of a design they only produced those two years. Word is that this fantastic design was also fantastically expensive to produce and that the dutch, while appreciating fine workmanship, also appreciate cost-to-return analysis and that there just wasn’t enough improvement to justify the extra guilders. I’m thrilled to find it.
Front drum brake
40 year old 3 speed hub
From the Bike Man, I rode out to the west side of the River Cam and worked my way north. Along the way I found two WWII bunkers protecting who-knows-what…there are no utilities crossing the river there, and the only nearby structure I saw was a river lock upstream a ways. Maybe it is just a frontline to Cambridge or watching over the rail lines there. Dunno.
The trail becomes more suited to foot traffic, and barely even that, at the Bridge Pub. I stopped in for a pint (of course) after photographing the milieu. More on the pub, later.
The ride into Waterbeach rail station was short but it was getting nippy and pretty windy. I pressed on through Landbeach then out Cottenham Road to, surprise, Cottenham. This was toil with the wind kicking up to 35 mph (55 kph) but my trusty Gazelle made the ride fun. Lots of debris on the road…beer cans and McDonalds wrappers and shit.
Thought I was lost in Cottenham and stopped at the WWI memorial to consult my map, an Ordnance Survey that covered a range that started a few miles north of where I was standing so it was useless to me. Fortunately, there was a pub (The Chequers) right there and I could hear Pink Floyd blaring out of it, “Wish You Were Hear;” a good omen. More on The Chequers experience shortly, but they directed me to Wilburton and home.
Light drizzle had started before I was out of Cottenham, passing the church with the vaguely eastern/onion dome ramparts. Nicer weather and I’ll do this trip again.
We had a half hour to kill waiting on the bus in Waterbeach on Saturday, so we popped into the Brewery Tap Pub. There was a very young girl (about 18) having drinks and sitting there with a baby, two old guys plastered to the bar, one one of whom whilst ordering a shot and a beer had forgotten that he had already paid for them and felt it necessary to argue with the ancient barwoman.
We opted to sit over here
We ordered and I felt like I should help grandma barlady pull the pint, she was struggling so; eventually we had our items and settled back to listen to the garbled Elvis Costello song skip about in the CD player in the bar. The old woman probably thought it was supposed to sound that way (“bloody punk kids!”) and I think the others were well beyond making a comment or complaint (it was almost noon, so they had gotten an early start).
The place appears to have a connection to the Waterbeach Barracks across the street, mostly a British Territorial Army (like the Reserves, back home) post, but there are some Americans stationed here as well. Posters of insignia are all around although most of what you see in the above picture are beer ads. I think the panther above the mirror might have something to do with the Barracks, tho.
But, all good times must come to an end and we wandered back out to continue our journey.