[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]
Archive for the ‘Royal Wootton Bassett’ Tag
Cell phone in a pub:
Ought to be a law….
Name: Arundel Sussex Gold
Type: golden ale
Venue: The Five Bells, Royal Wootton Bassett
Review/notes: Needed this after a day of house hunting. On the bright side I can safely assume I have seen all the shitholes available.
Beer had a distinctly Juicy Fruit gum finish to it, not unpleasant but a real surprise.
Couple across from me got their kid settled and put some electronic device in his hands, then got out one for each of themselves. A civilised pub, like the Free Press, will ban you for this (or for hearing the phone ring or for even talking about your fucking phone).
[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]
I claimed awhile back to have gone to every pub in RWB and no one corrected me to include the Phoenex (yes, that’s really how they spell it). But, with my daily mileage and my weekly kebab behind me and a bus every twenty minutes, this seemed like the day to put things right. The bar used to be the neighbourhood Workingman’s Club and you can still take advantage of the drink discounts by joining, but as this was just a quick one for rehydration purposes I deferred the membership for now.
A private party was being set up in the back room which was enormous and could probably hold 500 people safely. The woman singing at the sound check had a great voice and Dave, the manager, told me later that she can be even louder once she gets rolling. I, on the other hand, was mostly quiet with my pint of Carling and her private serenade as the soundtrack to some sloppily played international cricket (India v. Pakistan).
They’re open Monday-Thursday evenings, Fridays they close mid-afternoon, and all day on the weekends. Go visit.
Famished from the shamefully slow race and the rain-soaked runs to the start and from the finish of the Broad Town 5, Oscar’s Grill was a welcome sight and I dragged my wet, tired ass in for a kebab. The reviews have been good for this one, but it should be noted that this is a small town with an inordinate number of pubs nearby so the judgement rendered by the other reviewers might not be of the most reliable quality.
However, the small kebab was made of good quality döner–neither fat nor dry and salty but not perniciously so. Veg was standard for kebab shops which is to say: awesome. The pita was yummy and the blackened bits from heating it over the charcoals enhanced the fresh bread.
I was wary of the chilli sauce, though, and the first bite confirmed my fear that it was catsup based. This concern turned out to be meritless, though; the chillis ground into the base were sneaky devils and quite warm and flavourful from bite two onward. Well done, Oscar.
Planned a run today, anyway, but there was also the Broad Town 5 mile race the start of which was 3.2 miles from a bus stop in Wootton Bassett so I signed on for it. This was the first race I’ve been in since the London Marathon a little over a year ago as well as the first since I entered the 50-59 age group–which the running club sponsoring the event calls “Super Veterans.” Yikes…I really am old, but at least I’m not in the 60 and older group, which they refer to as “the Poor Dears, Bless ‘Em.” Don’t ask me my t-shirt size, fer fuck sake, just see if I have a favourite hymn I’d like played in the unfortunate but inevitable case, etc.
The jog to the race HQ was in a steady and drenching rain and included a steep downhill start from RWB and then a relatively flat bit out to Broad Town School. Assuming the rain would continue , I stayed in the wet kit and stashed my bag with the organisers and took shelter with a bunch of club runners under a marquee (it was also the day of the School Fête). Five minutes before the start, the clouds dissipated and the sun broke through along with some blue sky.
The race didn’t have a big timing clock and the starter was a guy hollering “mark-set-go” as a single word before anyone could really jockey for position on the line. There were probably 150 of us so the normal crowding in the first mile was minimal. Except for the strong winds (20 mph steady, 40 mph gusts), the conditions were perfect.
I would have been happy to break forty minutes on this loop (I stopped timing my runs a couple of years ago, so really didn’t have a metric on my capabilities). At the 4 mile marker my watch showed 30 minutes and I felt pretty good; the crest of the dreaded hill (not much to speak of, really) was just a few dozen yards away so I decided to blow out the last mile at as high a pace as I felt I could maintain…just about 6 minutes for the last bit, passing a bunch of wheezing folk along the way. Without a clock or anyone calling finishing times at the end, I have to guess–for now–that my watch is correct: more than 36 minutes but nowhere near 37 [36:38 officially, and 32nd of 153 finishers so not too bad].
After a 5 minute break to stretch a hamstring cramp, I found my way out of the Fête and got back on the road to Wootton Bassett just as the rain resumed, stopping at Oscar’s Grill and the Phoenex [sic] Bar for well earned snacks and a beer. Roughly 12 miles on the day and a successful race showing in the grandpa division.
Just below RAF Brize Norton you run into the village (more of a hamlet, but the pub and church make it technically a village) of Black Bourton with its little ale house, The Vines (although it is more of a restaurant than a pub…more technicalities). The host seemed technically friendly but there was an actual frostiness to my less than white-tablecloth-ready appearance. I had a quick lager and got back on the road for a run and a bit less ambiguity.
At the end of the run that took me to the Royal George (may she R.I.P.) and to Riff’s Bar (my new favourite despite the beer selection) I was entering Wootton just as the bus was leaving but it was a good thing as I headed to the Cooperative to do my dinner shopping the Crown Hotel turned out to be, for the first time in my experience, open. Hooray! I have now punched the last spot on my Royal Wootton Bassett pub ticket.
I had a Bob from Wickwar Brewery which was an interesting but not challenging ale. As I sat down, a conversation I later found to be about probate was continuing with the tantalising statement, “If I am declared incompetent to conduct my own affairs….”
The cook was a very young man and the cook’s togs he wore were more circus clown than clown that can gut a partridge in 30 seconds, but he, like the entire cast of characters, seemed friendly enough. At one point he started singing dreadfully and everyone stopped and looked at each other than back towards him, which brought their gazes in line with me. “Talk about incompetence,” I said and everyone laughed and went back to their own little dramas. As I left, everyone said goodbye, an unusual occurrence in this shy country.