[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]
Evaluation: Absolutely delicious and quite a generous portion. Very hungry after the 15 miler (and 4 pubber…follow links backward from the Dumb Post if you are interested), this was just what the doctor would prescribe.
Days since last: 1 (Three Goats’ Heads, Oxford)
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
[*kpw = kebab per week for 2013, as noted in an earlier post and the 11th entry for the 2013 Challenge]
Not my first trip to the Calne Charcoal Grill and likely not my last. The meat is meaty and not filled with salt or filler, the chilli sauce and salad are spectacular, the pita tastes fresh enough to be homemade (albeit doubtful). Quite pleased I decided to do the run through Compton Basset and into Calne, today. I believe those were my last two pubs in the area, though, so I may be awhile getting back for another of these tasty treats.
The London Road Inn was a fantastic find coming off the run from Compton Bassett. Several interesting brews on the pumps, a middle-eastern landlady whose accent sounded more like a Russian spy from some Cold War era animated cartoon, and a group of punters that are genuinely fond of one another but, as one seemed to indicate, so bored with knowing everyone else’s business that a stranger willing to talk was made to feel quite welcome.
I had a Moles Elmo’s Fire, which was rich and smooth and hinted at some chocolate. A look around told me this was as quirky a venue as the inhabitants would lead you to believe…there was a back room that is a skittles hall (just move the chairs and tables away and let the other punters know the way to toilets involves a detour).
One story (there were several) involved the speaker spending an hour on the phone to his mobile provider’s call centre in India. He had explained to the person a detailed issue he was having with continuity and signal dropout to which the service person answered, “yes.”
“That’s what foreigners always say when they don’t understand you, isn’t it?”
Me and the landlady answered simultaneously, “yes.”
The Talbot was closed when I first walked by, but on my return it was still closed (watch is a few minutes fast). I had a look around and spotted one of the ceramic brewery plaques on so many of these old pubs–this one in spectacular condition:
Once inside, I ordered a Mole Lang Syne (holiday beer from the Moles Brewery) which took forever to pour (I think they just tapped the barrel). By the time I took a seat, a dozen other drinkers had poured through the doors, fore and aft, and been served (some fast drinkers were awaiting refills). That was alright, though; I had mine and some time to look around the old house.
Calne has its own music scene and benefits from its position between Bristol, Bath, Chippenham, Marlborough and Swindon; but the one act that grabbed my attention I only spotted when editing the photos: Clark and the Kryptonites. Unfortunately, they already played and I’m sure they will be too big for the venue by the time the world tour is over.
A beautiful morning despite the damp and the walk from Calne town centre to the suburban estate where the Jenny Wren sits crosses in front of ever more modern housing. The pub itself is not beautiful on the outside but the staff seems nice and it was decorated gaudily for Christmas (it looked like someone had exploded a dozen of Santa’s elves in there…but that’s a GOOD thing this time of year). I was just up for the one (6X) and hurried on my way but had I known it was going to be so friendly (and lively by the time I left) I would have budgeted more time.
Sunday with seven and a half miles, three pints (one, two, three) and a can, really required some nourishment and I felt lucky to find a kebab shop. The doner was tasty and seemed to be more meat than connective tissue and the chips started out fantastic. But, either the chilli sauce (again, spectacular for what it is) or the steam-table-stored meat (or both) left the chips in a half-inch deep puddle of juices I poured onto the street. It is probably better at busier hours (pub closing time, I think, more so than mid-afternoon).
I hate to end a run with a dead-pub memorial (see the rules, here) but the landlady at the White Hart says the King George is being converted to a pizza place. Calne is not saturated with pubs and this beautiful old house of Cotswold stone shouldn’t have seen the last of its good days and memorable evenings. RIP.