Archive for the ‘Bicester’ Tag

Chippy Challenge, Daily Tipple, G-Hads in September (Update)   111 comments

fish chart september 2014

Another month and the fish continues to pile up.  Of the three pubs, the Who’d A Thought It was the best with the Bear almost surprisingly stingy (but it has become a tourist venue). The winner as a chippy, this month, would be either the fish stand at the St Giles Fair or the J&J Fish Bar (both exceeding expectations enormously).  The Shanghai Fish Bar should be closed down despite getting their cleanliness problems in order–they’re just very bad.

 

# Name Where Date Venue Type
92 Pisces Aroma Swindon, Wiltshire 06-Sep Chippy
93 The Crown Pewsey, Wiltshire 07-Sep Pub
94 St Giles Fair Fish and Chips Stand Oxford, Oxfordshire 08-Sep Chippy
95 The Bear Oxford, Oxfordshire 12-Sep Pub
96 Goujon Monkey Oxford, Oxfordshire 12-Sep Chippy
97 Red House Plaice Swindon, Wiltshire 13-Sep Chippy
98 Who’d A Thought It Lockeridge, Wiltshire 14-Sep Pub
99 Khan’s Takeaway Swindon, Wiltshire 18-Sep Chippy
100 Shanghai Fish Bar Swindon, Wiltshire 19-Sep Chippy
101 Robinson’s Fish and Chips Hilperton, Wiltshire 24-Sep Chippy
102 J&J Fish Bar Swindon, Wiltshire 27-Sep Chippy

 

This month’s Daily Tipples were weighted a little heavier on the beer and the haiku’s and descriptions a little more surreal.  More than half the DT’s were in pub visits (some new ones).

 

BEER

DT #

Date

Name

Type

Venue

266 23-Sep Palm Belgian ale The Hop Inn
245 02-Sep Raw Amarillo bitter Far From the Madding Crowd
246 03-Sep Life Sentence bitter The Plough
250 07-Sep Good Old Boy bitter The Three Tuns
252 09-Sep Backyard Brewhouse Hellbound bitter Four Candles
253 10-Sep Popham’s Pride bitter New Calley Arms
254 11-Sep Smithwick’s bitter O’Neill’s
255 12-Sep Shotover Scholar bitter The Bear
257 14-Sep Moles Mowdy Jack bitter The Bell Inn
260 17-Sep Robinson’s Trooper bitter Steam Railway
261 18-Sep Hobgoblin bitter The Bayberry
263 20-Sep Weighbridge Brinkworth Village bitter Christ Church
264 21-Sep Topaz IPA bitter Carter’s Rest
267 24-Sep Marston’s Pedigree bitter The Red Admiral
259 16-Sep 1843 Craft Lager lager The Sun Inn
269 26-Sep Dębowe Mocne pilsner Eastcott Hill
270 27-Sep Funnel Blower porter Beehive

WINE

DT #

Date

Name

Type

Venue

244 01-Sep Primitivo Salento red wine house
247 04-Sep Hope Bay Shiraz red wine Ban Quet
248 05-Sep Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cab Sav red wine house
249 06-Sep Dead Letter Office Shiraz red wine house
251 08-Sep Mendoz Parra Alta Malbec red wine house
256 13-Sep Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin red wine house
258 15-Sep Prunatelli Chianti red wine house
265 22-Sep McGuigan Black Label Shiraz red wine house
271 28-Sep Pinna Fidelis Roble red wine neighbours’ house
272 29-Sep Piccini Memoro red wine house
273 30-Sep Zalze Shiraz Grenache Viognier red wine house

CIDER

DT #

Date

Name

Type

Venue

262 19-Sep Somersby cider cider Abbey Stadium greyhound track
268 25-Sep Fatty’s Farmhouse Scrumpy cider Buttercross Inn

 

The G-Had rolled on to trail #48 and enhanced (and was enhanced by) my enforced two week vacation at the end of the holiday calendar.  Bicester HHH was marked due to the irresistability of a Bollard trail, K&A HHH notched a second attack, and my first Churn Valley HHH effort appeared.  Ease of access and choices of venues were the main attractions for the Moonrakers HHH (twice) and the North Wilts HHH (three times), and with the North Wilts 1500th next weekend in my favourite corner of Shropshire maybe the G-Had will get a chance to branch out a little (it would be nice to make the 50th GH4 coincide with another hash’s milestone).

The Blue pins are the September G-Had strikes

The Blue pins are the September G-Had strikes

 

Market Square Fish Bar, Bicester, Oxfordshire, Chippy Challenge #59   1 comment

Market Square Fish Bar Bicester cod

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: none
Evaluation: Nostalgia…when we lived in Bicester I ate a lot of this fish dragging home from the bus stop or a pub (or the bus stop via a pub).  The batter is a little thick but it is light and tasty and the fish always comes in generous portions.

Market Square Fish Bar Bicester
Days since last: 4 (Dosa Park, Oxford)
Map link.

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
February
March
April

DT #143, 23 May 2014 (That One)   1 comment

That One Penny Black pint

Fortieth birthday*
Celebrations this weekend:
Bicester HHH.

Name: That One
Type: bitter

*Not my 40th…that was 12 years ago in Holland.
Venue: The Penny Black, Bicester

Review/notes: It was a day of mis-direction, starting with the G-Had against the Bicester Hash and moving on to the beer order: “I’ll have That One.” “This one?” she asked, pointing at the pump. “Yes, but no…That One.”

That One Penny Black

The sleight of hand continued with the pint as it looked and even tasted like a thin mild but was still 4.7% abv.  Not much flavour to this one, but with the mouth of a mild, maybe I should have tried a different one.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
February
March
April

1000 posts   Leave a comment

So it has come to this…1000 posts in less than 3 years (975 days, to be precise).

In that time we have come quite far together:  712 pub stops, 4025 miles running (1740 unique miles in the UK, at that), almost 96000 views of this blog  (averaging about 200/day the last few months after slow beginnings) and tons of ridiculous shit that I should bring me disgrace.  In that same time, I have only managed my way onto one proper publication (with acknowledgements in a few others, although another paper from the Cambridge work is almost finished) and one patent, and for that meager output I truly am ashamed; but, my big bag of guilt still has a bit of spandex left and, besides, I left plenty of tired, old impropriety across the Atlantic to make room for new experiences so let’s keep piling it in.

One of my favourite pub experiences was early on at the Chequers in Cottenham which I hope has reopened since we left the area. I have some favourite pubs in various places but no one favourite nationwide yet.  The map, linked here and over to the left of the page gives you the names of pubs reviewed or otherwise used as a template for my blather in this document and makes a nearly comprehensive reference for planning a pub crawl in Oxford, Swindon, Cambridge, Ely, Faringdon, Kidlington and Bicester; many other areas are covered less extensively but it should continue to grow over the coming years.

Pub count by date...summer surge came late this year

Here are some of my favourite posts out of that ridiculous collection, if you are at all interested or just bored:

Picking on the deceased, especially one’s betters, is always worthy: Arthur Stanley Eddington plaque.    Other times, the sciences offer jobs that are hard to resist (but the job has been filled and removed from the HR site since then).  Never sure if it was an attractant or repellent, and still don’t understand what the dog had to do with it (unless it was a Cocker).

Many articles about running as tourism have been posted, but some are better than others.  Place names tend to be the best for humour…like these here.  Or this one. We actually drove about 10 miles out of our way one weekend trip for this hamlet, but the signs have been stolen so often they stopped putting them up.  Claims to never having paid for it aside, this was a nice if mistaken sightDeep in Cambridgeshire you find some good place names, and they seem to treat strangers well on Hills Road Cambridge.  Our first trip to Wales resulted in disappointment with this highway’s promise.

The daily Haiku was a feature early on, before I realised just how many pubs were going to be reviewed.  The best ones happened spontaneously like this one on a trip to London.

As I write this I am suffering stigmata…okay, I accidentally stabbed myself in the palm with a screwdriver this morning.  Still, religion figures into the blog from time-to-time as it did about the ex-masturbators and the fisting-for-Jesus folks.  In Italy, it is hard to escape the influence of the Church and so we gave into its temptations.

An eternal Dylan fan and no stranger to public nudity and substance abuse, I felt kinship with these guys.  Other times the news is just ironic on its own.  Romance is alive and well in Ireland, as this guy proves.

With luck running will continue and I’ll cover many more miles of virgin territory and review loads of worthy races (although my feelings have not changed for the ‘Finisher’s Medal’).  Barely 1/10 of 1% into the stock of pubs to visit, I should be able to maintain this pace of coverage for awhile, as well.  Best, to all, and here’s to 1000 more of this nonsense.

Bicester Hash and the mature sense of humour   3 comments

Regards to ‘Call Girl’ for this photo in the spirit of the joke

It’s not even my joke (I think it might be a Jimmy Carr, although it might be a Frankie Boyle), but it might get me banned from a hash.  Here’s what happened…

Several messages appeared on the local hash’s mailing list in rapid succession last night with the subject: BH3 Test and the content : ‘Test Message’ and a name (different each time but apparently from the same location).   Since no one else seemed bothered by this pointless waste of bandwidth, I entered the fray with something I considered fairly appropriate to the audience:
==================
BH3 TEST MESSAGE
Tuesday, 21 December, 2010 0:08
To: ********h3@googlegroups.com
TEST MESSAGE:

The first thing that is required for this joke to work is that you realise I have a massive cock…

Okay?  Then we are ready to begin:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Who cares? I’ve got a huge cock.
==================

With the sort of filth I was regularly posting to previous hash groups I was involved with (only to have had all that material chided as tame or too intellectual), I am really surprised at the vehemence of the reaction to this joke I stole from a television comedy panel show aired around 9 pm on one of the BBC terrestrial channels.

To be fair, it is a very old group (mostly pensioners) but they are hashers and you have to be surprised that anything could make them blush.  As a reminder, here are some of my milder posters from years past (click on thumbnail for better view…not safe for everyone’s workplace):

18augusttrash_Page_4 fullmoonmarch2008 jesusfreaks jonestownhash061028 working070316c

Back to new pubs as soon as I can get onto trails to run again (this fucking snow has me stuck on roads and bikepaths).

Posted 2010/12/21 by Drunken Bunny in hashing, Made me laugh

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Bicester Roundtable Jazz, Beer and Wine Fest August 2010   Leave a comment

There was a beer and wine festival in Garth Park Saturday and included a couple of jazz combos (all part of a city wide jazz festival going on this weekend).  Quite a pleasant day and I tried out a Summer Glory from Vale Brewery and Marshmellow from the Oxfordshire Ales micro brewery.  Both were very smooth rides, perfect for a warm, humid afternoon listening to some standards.  Unfortunately, I had a race in the morning and had promised myself NOT to show up hungover (or still drunk from the night before) at this one…first time in years!

Posted 2010/08/10 by Drunken Bunny in beer festivals, beer reviews

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Trinity, Bicester   Leave a comment

Out for a slow 8 mile run I fancied a break and so crossed town to try out Trinity, a bar and restaurant in a converted chapel just off the market square and the Causeway.  It is a very nice joint inside and the folks there couldn’t have been friendlier.  I had heard that the prices were a bit steep but I had a lovely pint of cider for about £3.20, not an outrageous sum at all.

There were diners in the main room and I was quite literally dripping with sweat, so I opted to move out to the patio and found a seat where someone had earlier had some jam and toast.  This was especially useful to me as it gave the wasps something to pay attention to other than my cider.  However the staff rushed out and, with apologies, bussed the table thereby taking my decoy away.  There’s something to be said for inefficiency, sometimes.

They do comedy nights, have other entertainment, and I understand the food can be very good (but I’ve heard mixed reviews, as well).

Posted 2010/08/10 by Drunken Bunny in pubs, running

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Commuter run Oxford to Bicester, Long Route   1 comment

The run home last night was intended to take me through Elsfield, Beckley (with a pub stop), Horton cum Studley (with another pub stop), then past the Boarstall Duck Decoy before depositing me in Arncott on roads I’m familiar with and which have bike lanes to jog.

There is this habit amongst landowners here–not all, but a lot of them–of stripping the trail markers off Public Paths and Rights-of-Way in the hopes that it will discourage the legal use of the trails.  Of course, they are correct, it does, however most of us that use these paths have trail maps and either a compass or, for the 21st Century hikers, a GPS bothe combinations of which result in us trampling across their farmland willy-nilly.

That’s what happened to me several times yesterday and I wound up following landmarks (pylons, hills, old Army encmpment sites, larger buildings, and farm tracks) to make sure I touched all the bases.  This added more than 5 extra miles to the trip and sent me through quite a bit of deep brush, blackberry thorns, and thick forest undergrowth.  What a bunch of assholes.  The one bright spot in all this was, as I was off trail and in the deepest brush I spotted this bra and pantyhose discarded a few feet over (ouch!):

Anyway, both pubs were closed.  It was quite humid and warmer than it has been lately.  And, at about 16.5 miles I plunged my foot into a badger hole and this morning my ankle is black and swollen.

23.5 miles total, 3h 10m.

Well, probably more like 3:25, since I stopped the clock when I entered the Plough at Arncott for an ice, cold Fosters.  Chat was mostly on the run…they seemed gobsmacked anyone would do something so stupid.  Later, it was World Cup chat and as I finished my water (following the Fosters), someone said, “yeah, even the American’s played well this year.”

“I don’t know about that.  They seemed pretty much like a club team,” I answered.

“Well, they almost beat England,” the barkeep added in.

As I reached the door, laughing, I replied, “well, that’s not exactly a stunning endorsement now, is it?”  It’s probably a good thing I run a lot.

Dyslexia run 2010-07-01   3 comments

Sometimes at first glance you see something that so obviously couldn’t be there that you run completely past it and then feel compelled to double back to check it out closer.

And, so, it came to pass that I had negotiated the Sheep Street crowds in Bicester and was heading safely out toward the field trails that would take me to Bucknell when I felt the NEED to loop around the block and take a photograph for later…turned out it was harmless afterall.

Littlebury Hotel, Bicester   Leave a comment

Rounding the last corner on the way home from a short 6 miler, I spotted the football match through the window of the Littlebury Hotel and decided it was time for a beer, a Wychert from Vale Brewery, in fact.  The crowd seemed a bit better dressed than you normally get either watching sport or in a Bicester bar, but (besides the diners, who were very civilised) they had a distinctively nasty edge that I think could easily have turned to violence.  This is probably just the luck of the draw, though.

Continuing on from there, I passed Ye Olde Pioneer and shot an update photo for that old post. R.I.P.

Posted 2010/06/23 by Drunken Bunny in pubs, running

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Spiny Norman   Leave a comment

Every night around dusk (10 pm-ish, lately) we get a wee visitor in the garden.  Very cute little guy, eh?

Oh, here’s the garden since it hasn’t been posted before (Tim the mushroom gnome from Tucson is near the roses):

Posted 2010/06/23 by Drunken Bunny in house

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The Centurion, Bicester   5 comments

Yesterday I varied the normal 8 mile loop so I could stop in the Centurion for the first time.  I immediately felt at home, which had less to do with the poster of Roger Bannister than it did with the ambiance…very much like the White Dot on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta.

The few customers there all seemed comfortable enough with the management of the place that they popped behind the bar with impunity.  It could be that I was the only one in there that never pulled a pint in the joint, but this too seemed familiar.  When I got my St Austell Tribute, the first guy I ran into told me I looked like I had put too much effort into getting there.  Several border collies tried to get me to come out and play with them and their deflated football in the children’s garden.  This was just brilliant.

Likewise brilliant was that, on the first sunny, warm day of the spring we were about a half dozen goobers sitting around having a few.  Very, very familiar.  In fact, too familiar, and I had to decline a refill and get back out on the road, but I will be back.

Play Area 50, Langford Village, Bicester   Leave a comment

This sign has a science fiction-esque, bleak futuristic hellscape sound to it: Play Area 50.  Coming soon to a cinema near you.  I like two things about this photo, though…some kids have vandalised the age limit to 100 years old and there’s the neighbourhood watch sign that seems to evoke ‘Big Brother,’ from 1984.

Posted 2010/05/15 by Drunken Bunny in Made me laugh

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Hundred Acres, Bicester   Leave a comment

There are several websites that take a dismissive tone about the Hundred Acres and an even snarkier tone about the surrounding neighbourhood that supplies most of the patrons.  That’s just the nature of the Reader’s Comments sections of websites, I guess, and I can be a bit bitchy about places as well but the Hundred Acres deserves a visit if you want a real feel for native life in a small, south central England town.

I arrived at just before a league final football match on a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed but most of the folks knew one another and were standing around socialising. This allowed me to take my pint of cider and find a seat; there was ale available but it was chilled and the run I had just finished seemed to demand a cider.  Besides, it seemed like a Strongbow sort of crowd and I was already conspicuously sweaty and oddly dressed considering it was 6 degrees C with 30 mph winds and I was in running shorts and a tank top.

A group of 3 very drunk guys came in and and greeted the couple at the table nearby, then one of them spotted me and came over and said something that I perceived as friendly and answered with something about the weather and how’re you doing and the like to which he responded with the blank look a dog gives you when you’ve just explained how to put together a piece of flat pack furniture.

We adjusted our accents a bit and had a decent conversation about some public paths through Bicester that cut through the various estates in town and then he needed to meet back up with the other two as it was his shout (invited to join them, I declined as I was already starting to shiver and need to get back home).

Nice joint, though.

G’s, Bicester   Leave a comment

From the outside, G’s looks and sounds like a place where a fight is likely to break out for no particular reason at any particular moment.  But inside it is actually a pretty hip little bar (at least, early after opening hours).  I stopped in Friday afternoon for a well deserved beer on my way home and they had Red Stripe on tap (probably a nod to George’s perceivable caribbean accent, but it was refreshing nonetheless).

The other patrons were a woman, a couple of dudes picking at each other: the tall one kept smacking the short one in the head with a football until he got bored with it and gave it to a couple of youngsters to go out in the alley and kick around (the football, not the short bloke).

Also, along with Red Stripe, the place offers a suite of other entertainments you may or may not be interested in:

Posted 2010/05/15 by Drunken Bunny in pubs

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The Plough, Bicester   Leave a comment

The standard rain for a Bank Holiday Weekend started to settle in Thusday afternoon, which is appropriate in Bicester since that seems to be when the weekend starts.  I was a bit impatient to get home and cook supper so I went ahead and ran the A.R.C. 8 min/mile route alone and a half hour early.  Only a few sprinkles hit me in the hour from my house to the rec center and on around the loop so I stopped in the Plough before heading home to celebrate.

The Plough has one of the nicer–or, at least, more older–interiors in the Bicester pub corral. The bar is in the middle of three rooms and the front opens onto one street while the back garden appears to be an old stable or blacksmith’s work area.

I had a Morris Mayhem which is like the Greene King IPA only a little darker in colour.  I took in a frame of professional snooker on tele with a couple of old nutters at the bar then stepped back out into the now pouring rain for the last mile or so back to the house.

Posted 2010/05/02 by Drunken Bunny in pubs, running

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The Star, Bicester   1 comment

Coming back from Bucknell, I popped into the Star to tick off another Bicester pub.  The place was completely empty and Mr. Personality behind the bar neither knew nor cared why…perhaps there’s a clue.  He is a Greene King place keeper it turns out, and when GK sends out someone to keep a pub-in-transition open and who has this much of a rod up his ass it usually doesn’t bode well for the future of the pub.  I left him to ‘read’ his copy of the Sunday Sport and walked about the holding-cell-like venue long enough to finish my Carling (£2.25/pint) and then be on my way.

The Angel, Bicester   Leave a comment

I ran up to the Angel after an 8 mile loop of the perimeter of Bicester and squeezed past the two guys on the doorstep that seemed unwilling to yield any space. All heads turned as I entered, and I realised the patrons aren’t used to strangers wandering in (even less so, foreigners dripping with sweat).

I had a Wadworth 6X and wandered toward the back but found that it had a drum kit taking up a big part of the room and most of the seating had been pulled up toward the bar so some sporting event could be watched on the small television on the wall.  I found a place at the bar and observed the crowd which greeted everyone else that came in with handshakes or kisses and hearty “y’alright’s.”

It seems a friendly enough place, they just don’t appear to get a lot of strangers through.  Finished and with about a mile to go, I headed out and slid my earphones back in and noticed the curtains swing open to my right and several heads poke into the window, trying to discern just who their visitor might have been.

Posted 2010/04/27 by Drunken Bunny in pubs, running

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Yates’ Pub, Bicester   1 comment

I am going to refer to Yates’ as the tardis from now on.  From without, it appeared to be just a little storefront (and a crappy one at that), but inside it is huge, well appointed and full of wonders.

Not least among these wonders are questions of sartorial physics…solved, it appears, by women too young to purchase drinks (although they try, repeatedly, with a “I.D.? Oh, just a minute I’ll be right back”).  I don’t believe I’ve seen skirts that short nor heels that tall since we moved away from Amsterdam.  Bless ’em.

For those of us who CAN have booze, the beer selection is mostly fizzy but they do have John Smith Extra Smooth on the chilled taps.  As this was my post Alchester RC club run, I was actually fairly well satisfied with a Foster’s and a comfortable leather chair by the window onto Sheep Street.

Posted 2010/04/16 by Drunken Bunny in pubs

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The Shakespeare, Bicester   Leave a comment

The Shakespeare is on the far side of Bicester from my house so last night’s run through Chesterton and Bignell Park was the first real opportunity to drop in.  I had a John Smith’s Bitter and got caught up in the eight-way discussion going on about what you would do with the winnings if you hit the lottery.

The streets in the neighbourhood are all authors: Shelley, Spencer, Burns, Byron, Swift, Browning, Bunyan, Kipling, Hemingway, and on and on. There’s a sports ground behind the pub, a community center in front of it, and a few shops just to the left of the joint…it would be easy to miss if you didn’t know it was here.  That’s too bad, because it has the immediate and tangible feel of a community gathering spot.  I can see a future wherein I finish many runs with a pint here and then finish the last mile-and-a-half back to the house.

Posted 2010/04/13 by Drunken Bunny in pubs

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