Monthly Archives: May 2013

Another Day on the Marston Vale Line

It was far too lovely a Tuesday to do the pub crawl I had initially wanted to do so instead I managed to combine walking, trains, and a trio of pubs to produce a lovely day out.

First stop was Ridgmont – 1 ¼ miles from the village of the same name where the Rose and Crown was my first destination. I had hoped to have lunch here but the walk from the station was both entirely without charm and longer than the mileposts had promised. So instead I had a pint in a perfectly tolerable pub and headed back to the station. The beer on offer was Eagle and what I thought was called Major by McEwan’s (which I had) but I can find no trace of the latter ale on McEwan’s website.

150109 at Ridgmont

Bletchley-bound London Midland 150109 arrives at Ridgmont

The Green Man in Lidlington came recommended by the person behind the @marstonvalecrp twitter. Another twitter user, @rwjc22, said of it, ‘nice boozer but beer not great.’ He was spot on. I had a pint of Ruddles before heading away.

The Green Man

The Green Man, Lidlington

After a catching the train to Millbrook I walked through the Millennium Country Park to Stewartby from where I caught the next train along the line to Kempston Hardwick. I was heading to the Chimney Corner pub on a wing and a prayer – the internet told me that it had reopened after many years shut but nowhere could I discern whether it was still open and whether it would be open in the afternoons. The walk to the pub, on a road busy with trucks, was not at all pleasurable and I was overjoyed to find a pint at the end of it.

I was delighted with the Chimney Corner. I had a pint of Trewlawny and hoped this pub could flourish. It had only been reopened since December and clearly had some way to go but I liked it very much and will go back – although I might have to seek a safer route.

The Chimney Corner

The Chimney Corner, Kempston Hardwick


Easter Travels (Part 2): Therapeutic Drinking

I knew I would need to keep myself well watered in order to make my few days in Cornwall bearable. So after getting off the train at Par I headed immediately into the Royal Inn for a pint of Dirty Tackle (Wychwood) to steel myself for the days ahead. And then I had another.

The pub itself seemed to have only just realised that it could be better and was showing signs of getting there. I hope indeed that it was improving – it had some way to go – and wasn’t stuck thusly.

The following day J and I went back to Par station for to explore the pubs of the Atlantic Coast Line to Newquay. Asking at the ticket office for a rover we were told that no such ticket existed. And, the fella added, why on earth would you want one? There is nothing to see or do at any of the intermediate stations.

The Great Western in Newquay would have been a dead loss were it not for the views which made the dreadful food and the uninspiring beer worth tolerating.

A quick ice-cream break and it was back on the train to Bugle and the The Bugle Inn. Which wasn’t a terrible place but I would hardly be rushing back.

Back then towards Newquay and alighting at St Columb Road where The Queen and Railway was shut. I ought to have realised – the opening hours were printed clearly on the useful leaflet produced by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership – but I failed to notice. There was absolutely nothing to do in St Columb Road and the weather was turning chilly. The next pub needed to be a cracker to save the day.

It was. The King’s Arms in Luxulyan is splendid. Friendly staff and locals – even if a conversation about J’s trip to the toilet as I ordered the drinks wasn’t strictly necessary – and wonderful beer. The food was even better. I had rabbit casserole to die for. This easily slotted in to the list of my seven favourite pubs. You should go there. It is brilliant.

There were other pubs during the rest of the time in Cornwall – but, sadly, no stations. I drank and I survived.

Bradford Interchange

Flying visit to Bradford today for a meeting but did have a chance, before the train back up to London, to stop for a swift pint.

A lack of time and forward planning coupled with a need to eat had me enjoying a pint a particularly good strong ale whose name I didn’t remember in the local Wetherspoons (or it may have been a Lloyds), the Turls Green.

Being a remarkably sunny West Yorkshire day meant that the area around the pub was awash with drinkers taking in the sun and showing enough flesh to put a fella off his lunch. But the inside of this fairly cavernous pub – a typically dull Wetherspoons  – was mercifully quiet so I could enjoy a pint and my book.

When a couple of young women drinking straight from pitchers of some dreadful day-glow drink sat at the next table and began showing each other their underwear during the course of their conversation I knew it was time to leave. They are a bit odd in Yorkshire.