Archive for the ‘Gloucestershire’ Tag
“Boot and Bonnet and Everything On It,” was how the regular described the classic MG body, never mounted on a frame, that a garage nearby has in its yard for sale. He had initiated a conversation with the older couple who drove up in a classic Jag E-type and before long they were discussing where to find spare parts and when the next rally trip was going to be.
Copacetic, but they were hogging the fireplace, too, although the bar was a good second choice to sit. Soon, I was joined by a newcomer in Wellies. “Where’s your car, then?” asked Mr Spare Parts. “I didn’t bring it, did I,” replied Mr Muddy Boots but in his West Country accent that came out, “Oi dinta bringih, did oi?” “How’d you come, then?” Spare Parts continued. Muddy answered, “Arn me shanks,” and slapped one of his own thighs for emphasis.
Two-thirds of the fine, old house was dedicated to the dining area through some abbey-styled windows and heavy doors. The lounge was fairly atmospheric and the carpet was another version of the red-pub-rug that we put into our dining room or the one in the Alma I spotted last week. But, if I was going to linger I would need to get out of the rapidly cooling sweaty kit and into something dry, so I drank up and headed back out to the trails.
[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]
Sides: mushy peas
Evaluation: Hungry before the bus to Cricklade, I was ravenous after a five mile run in the cold, damp air near the reservoirs that make up the Cotswold Water Park. So, the fish here needn’t have been as absolutely perfect as it was and I would still have wolfed it down.
The queue led out the door, always a good sign, and while the chips looked perfect I opted for the mushy peas which still retained pea texture and tasted like they were made from fresh (although the season for such ended months ago). I hope the people of South Cerney appreciate what a treasure they have, here.
Days since last: 5 (Oxford Fish and Chips)
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
A little out-of-the-way on this run, I couldn’t resist the name “Cat and Custard Pot.” As it turned out, the pub was worthy of the extra mileage without the moniker which has something to do with a fictional pub used as a meeting place in an old novel, an illustration from which appears on the south face of the pub sign (above).
Spoilt for choice on the range of beers, I still wasn’t sure which I was going to use for the Daily Tipple and as I was drawn to the Elmers pump clip I went with that one (Elmer was the Flying Monk for which the brewery was named, a truly mad 12th century friar). It was not at all a bad choice, either, brewed just down the road and yet a very American styled (floral hops and lots of ’em) beer.
Sitting around outside with the sweat drying in the cool breeze, I listened to the family conversations nearby (“more pooh, please,” requested a kid that had been escorted to the loo a couple of times already) and noticed the north side of the pub sign was much more modern:
Spotting the sign to the church where I would pick up the next segment of my trek, I finished my drink and headed out. This, however, is definitely worth another stop when I’m out this way next.
The 14 Fish and Chip meals this month marked new extremes, namely the westernmost (Pig and Fiddle, Bath), southernmost (Star Fish Bar, Warminster) and northernmost (Ye Olde Black Bear, Tewkesbury) fried fish this year. I fully expect the German and Dutch visits to find either proper fish and chips or local delicacies (herring, of course) that fit into this challenges remit and blow the doors off the Eastern borders. Until then, the May tally included:
||Gill’s Fish Bar
||Blue Sky Chinese Takeaway
||Roughmoor Village Fish and Chips
||Market Square Fish Bar
||Star Fish Bar
||Waggon and Horses
||Far From the Madding Crowd
||Pig and Fiddle
||Wig and Pen
||Ye Olde Black Bear
The DT’s continue unabated, as well, and while a colleague said of the Chippy Challenge that, “[I’m] going to swell up like a tick,” instead I think I’ve gained girth (though not weight) as a result of the daily drinking. Mind you, I always drank copious amounts but this challenge puts me on a daily path at many times that I might have skipped a day or two (or more!). Blasphemy, I know, but there you have it. The tally this month entailed:
The Daily Haiku has been fun and I plan to continue through the year but I won’t review these till the end of the year, perhaps to rank a top ten or twenty of my favourites but so far all but a couple are rubbish even when including the background info that helps explain them. I become more and more convinced you don’t have to be clever to be a poet at the same time that this project steers me in the direction of poets I consider remarkably clever.
And, so art brings me to religion or, at a minimum, dogma. The G-Had has been going on for a while now since my initial treatise on Hashlam. The Combat Season has given way to the Summer, it seems, with only the Bicester Hash taking a hit in May. Still on 1-per-month or more, but the prophet hasn’t been speaking to me (or through me) these past few weeks; plus, no one is ever hashing near a pub I can add to the list at a time that I can set aside to help them find The Way. And, so on to June.
We are Public Transport Geeks. However, when we attended the geek-out that was the Gloucestershire Running Day where vintage buses are put on a bunch of routes between the three major towns in the county we seemed quite normal compared to our co-passengers. Every trip included at least one guy with a complicated chart he was filling in of each feature from each bus (including the ones passing or meeting us en route). There were endlessly dull conversations on the esoterica of buses. Some folks even discussed international trips to do vacations where similar events take place annually. And, people on the routes were out waiting to take photos (it’s pretty rural out there, so make your own inappropriate assumptions about those folks).
For my part here are a few photos from our day out (we also went to an ancient pub and even older church, by the way). To start, you used to be required to smoke on the bus, especially upstairs. Here is one of the smoking amenities:
We had a conductor on each bus:
The interiors were well-preserved (geek note…screw-in light bulbs superceded in the next version of this Routemaster by fluorescents).
A herd of buses in Tewkesbury while we haunted antiques stores:
Our bus from Tewkesbury to Cheltenham approacheth:
And, here’s the one that brought us back from Cheltenham to Gloucester:
Awesome day out for the price of a bus ticket (which I already had for work, anyway).
It was our birthday weekend and we were feeling old so we went someplace that is properly old. Ye Olde Black Bear first served some beverages in 1308, so it probably qualifies.
Actually, we were just sort of hungry and I couldn’t convince Jackie the chippies in town were a good choice and besides she wanted to sit down for a while. We ordered up a rosé and were served (and charged for) the wrong one but it was remarkably good despite the SNAFU. I ordered up a fish and chips, as is my habit, and she ordered a salad which looked suspiciously like a chicken breast parmesan with chips when it arrived after a long wait. Taking it back, it turns out they just read the ticket wrong and the parm was for someone else and her salad was ready and not too bad.
The manager, some Viet Namese woman we reckoned, came in and started barking orders about cleaning up the beer garden and getting back to work, now! This was entirely entertaining, especially the bartender’s reaction: “Aww, you poor dear. It’s your day off, you should go home and do something nice.”
The front room used to be a market negotiations area but that was 600 years ago. There were a bunch of small rooms off in every direction. The entire atmosphere was almost like being on a boat. A wonderful shambles that you should at least pop into for a pint.
Tewkesbury Abbey evokes one of the great puns of British literature:
Now is the Winter of our discontent
Made glorious Summer by this sun of York.
Gloucester, soon to be Richard III, speaks these lines just after the Battle of Tewkesbury referring to the “Sun in Splendour” emblem of his nephew, soon to be the never-crowned Edward V, and of the House of York. The emblem was installed soon after the battle as a Royal ‘fuck you’ to the house of Lancaster (whom the patrons of the Abbey supported):
What makes it even more fittingly creepy is its position directly above the plaque to Edward Prince of Wales, Lancastrian son of King Henry VI. Eddie Wales was slain either in the battle or, much more likely, just after. The Sun shines o’er the Son.
While I exercise this conceit that I actually know anything of literature or political history, I’ll point out an unexpected discovery in the Abbey. Years ago I read a biography of the feminist, suffragist, free-love activist, and 19th century Presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull. I fell instantly and madly in love with this woman and sill wonder why so few of her type exist today. While I was studying some stone masonry a few meters away, Jackie called me over to this plaque (I had forgotten she spent most of her last years in self-imposed exile):
Other joys of the Abbey are too numerous to tell or show but here is a selection…such as the Publican’s Salvation window:
This tomb shows a decaying corpse with rats, worms and other vermin nibbling away:
These two modern windows by Tom Denny bear close examination to find the figures of monks and parishioners hidden within:
No large English church would be complete without George and the Dragon:
And, the engineer in me was delighted to find the only two sources of heat in this massive rock, dual furnaces along the west wall…brrrr.