I left the Green Dragon and took a bit of a trundle into the next village on the off-chance the Churchill Arms was opening early (nope), and continued via Little Cheverell to the Owl which, on asking directions from an old guy, I found to be not only closed but converted to a private residence (doh!). Still, it wasn’t yet noon and I had a mile or more to go before reaching the Bell Inn in Great Cheverell and despite the heavier than expected traffic on the roads I had a pleasant little jog up to the hostelry.
As I reached the Bell and the old guy in the photo (above), the church bells pealed. “They must have known you were coming,” he said; “it was a logistical nightmare to arrange it, too,” I replied. He’d been out for a walk, as well, and we talked about my route and the unusual weather and, of course, if the pub was open yet. A woman appeared from the graveyard with a sack full of windfallen greenery; “first the bells, and now they’ve arranged a garland for you,” he suggested. “As it should be, sir, as it should be,” I left them with.
Inside, the publican and his assistant were nutty and nice each in their own way and I decided to sip the Doom Bar slowly and enjoy the show. A few lunchers arrived then a fellow came up to the bar and ordered a glass of wine. “A bottle, surely,” suggested the landlord. “Your hard sell belies flawless logic…go on, then,” returned the punter. I liked this place and its regulars immediately from that point.
I liked it even more after Mr. Noon-Bottle bought me another pint (a “Wiltshire half” was how he put it) and we continued the what-the-fuck-brought-you-to-Swindon conversation for a half hour longer. Very funny fellow, too. I owe him a beer now, but with so many other pubs to hit around here I hope I can make good on that, soon. Maybe a jog that starts later in the day should be scheduled.
Oh, the pub is great and I hear the ribs are absolutely sinful.