The run continued from the Red Lion and soon I found Standlake where I had been informed the Bell was open, and indeed it was. There was some acoustic Clapton on the tannoy and the modernisation of the place didn’t put me off (an admirable effort was made, I think, to leave quite a bit of the original stonework exposed).
I had a Westons cider to start and was deeply impressed with the sort of liquorice/fennel seed back taste at first but soon tired of it and decided it would be best to cleanse the palate with a lager. This was when I started talking with the Aussie barmaid and the young man hanging about behind the bar.
He turned out to be the grandson of the owners and a wealth of volunteered information about the place, but I feel it would be a betrayal of confidence to say just how many covers are being done in the house. I think it sounded a bit light but then again they might not be at a struggle at all (the place looks really nice but Standlake is sort of remote albeit in a posh bit of the county).