Archive for the ‘Run routes’ Tag

The Crossed Guns, Avoncliff, Wiltshire   1 comment

Crossed Guns Avoncliff  at bar

The descent from Westwood was steep and curved and the wet tarmac incompatible with my trail shoes so once up to speed I kept an ear tuned to oncoming traffic and an eye peeled to find a soft place to bail out (because there was no way I could rapidly decelerate or drastically change direction).  Fortunately, at 10:05 am I reached the bottom without incident (literally, although often enough I’ve reached bottom, figuratively, WITH incidents).  Before me sat the first target: the Crossed Guns pub which opened at 10 am.

Crossed Guns Avoncliff

The staff were mopping the flagstone floors as I entered so I checked my shoes for mud but they were quite clean from running through the flooded roads.  I removed my hat, brushed off some of the sheen of water from my sleeves and headed toward the bar where I found an array of fine brews available.  Needing something substantial, I went for a Box Steam Funnel Blower, a vanilla porter I found to taste strongly of coffee and blackberries.  As it turns out, the Crossed Guns is one of the brewery taps for the Box Steam brewery.

Crossed Guns Avoncliff pisspots

Sitting there alone, slowly drying off and really savouring the beer, I had a good look around at this 16th – or -17th-century limestone house.  There’s shit hanging everywhere but it doesn’t come off as cluttered at all.  The room I was in had an array of piss pots hanging from the ceiling (which made me think of Dylan’s “On the Road Again,” with the lyric I still hear as

Well, there’s piss pots in the kitchen
They’re enough to make me cry

even though I’ve known the real lines for years).

I killed some time here, thinking ahead to the next pub stop, a mile and a half away but not opening until 11.  On the cliffs across the Avon, cows grazed; passenger trains whizzed through the station across the bridge without stopping; and the landlord methodically went about preparing for the lunch rush by building a fire and helping the other staff setting up the place. The lighting of the south facing windows was atmospheric and I didn’t want to leave at all, but there were miles and miles between me and my ride home and several more pubs to try.

Crossed Guns Avoncliff to bar

DT #357, 23 December 2014 (Fair Exchange Cab Sav – Shiraz)   1 comment

Fair Exchange Cab Sav - Shiraz

 

No more work is done
But Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the sun.
…… an edit of Noel Coward in memory of Joe Cocker …..

Name: Fair Exchange Cab Sav – Shiraz
Type: red wine
Recipe: Lasagne-esque chillies rellenos
Venue: house

Review/notes: This is the last bottle of the backpack full of Fair Exchange CS-S I bought as back-up wine at Thanksgiving and it has been a pleasant surprise, pairing well with just about anything we threw at it.

It was also the last day the Chemistry Research Lab would be staffed until New Year and by the time I returned from my lunch run to the Six Bells I found the lab was more-or-less abandoned.  I’ll be in at least once during the closure this year, always the most pleasant time since things are largely quiet.

2014-12-23 Six Bells lunch run

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

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The Bell Inn, Great Cheverell, Wiltshire   Leave a comment

Bell Inn Great Cheverell

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.

Holiday Running Streak Day 29   2 comments

 

There have been days when meeting the 3 mile minimum for the Holiday Run Streak have been daunting (hangovers, bone idleness, actual injuries).  Today was a joy, though.

I caught the 9 o’clock to Devizes and headed south into the slimy mud, down one steep ridge and up another and emerging, eventually, in Market Lavington.  The timing was actually rubbish, though, as the only pub open before noon is the Green Dragon (no complaints, mind; it was a self-inflicted wound I would have avoided by taking the 10 o’clock bus instead).

2014-12-20 Devizes - Market Lavington - Great Cheverell

9.4 miles out, with a beer break in Market Lavington

2014-12-20 Great Cheverell to Devizes flat out no GPS

5.8 miles back after beer break in Great Cheverell

 

I thought I could kill a little time by inspecting the pubs on offer for another day and the Churchill in Littleton Panell looked worthy.  The Owl in Little Cheverell was turned into a private residence a year or so ago to the dismay of the old fellow I spoke with there and the Bridge downhill from the Churchill got a recommendation from a kind gentleman I met at the Bell in Great Cheverell which I wandered up to just as it opened.

To be honest, the 9.4 miles run up to then had been like forced labour but the longer than planned (and greater fluid volume than planned) stop at the Bell recharged me.  Although I thought I had restarted the GPS I arrived back in Devizes with no additional miles.  This was easy enough to manually map (5.8 miles) and the voice recorder — which I failed to turn off, as well, upon leaving — showed this last leg to be 40 minutes long.  There was a bit of sunshine and mostly good surfaces to run and I made the most of the opportunity…plus, I was afraid the chippy in Devizes would close at 2 and I really hankered for a bit of cod.

Good run, pleasant company, fine ales, and a treat at the end.  Not a bad way to start the longest night of the year.

DT #347, 13 December 2014 (Aberlour scotch whisky)   Leave a comment

Aberlour scotch whisky

Beautiful and cold,
Our day off together with
JMW Turner.

Name: Aberlour Scotch whisky
Type: booze
Venue: house

Review/notes: Ten years old but not at all harsh (although not as smoky-peaty as I generally like, either — Speyside’s like that).  Would be a good introductory malt and I’d really like to try one of their more mature bottles sometime…maybe next Holiday season.

We spent mid-day chasing last minute Christmas cards in Old Town and stopped in the Swindon Museum of Art to catch the last day of the JMW Turner exhibit…breathtaking although very limited.  I especially liked the watercolours he did around Bristol when he was only 16 years old (and there was an extension to the exhibit of other landscapes inspired by Turner).

2014-12-13 Burderop out-and-back

Brimble Hill run was a might nippy this A.M. and my fingers were cold and dysfunctional so I left the GPS on the kitchen counter whilst making a hot beverage (hence the especially slow pace the last 2/10 mile).

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

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
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Royal Standard, Oxford, Chippy Challenge #119   1 comment

Cod and Chips Royal Standard

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

Fish: cod
Sides: chips and mushy peas
Evaluation: Very good for a pub, especially good for a pub with so many mouthy youths around.  Spectacular landlord here, though. You should go there.

I had originally planned on the Butcher’s Arms for the lunch at the mid-point of a 7 mile or so run but this was actually closer to my G-Had/hash prelay inspection.  Just as well, in the long run.

Days since last: 4 (South Cerney Fish and Chips, South Cerney)

Map link.

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The Crown, Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire   Leave a comment

crown cerney wick sign

“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.

crown cerney wick lounge

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.

crown cerney wick

 

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