Archive for the ‘Hampshire’ Tag
Last month here,
A few interesting runs this month including one in London to see where Joe Meek murdered his landlady and committed suicide (and produced some of the most sublime pop music of the 60’s). There was also a celebratory run in Andover after the cancer all-clear and a literary run in Stroud, Painswick and Slad to explore the setting for Cider With Rosie.
The Cider With Rosie run included one of the funniest lines that I have forgotten to include in the original post and so include it here. I was dashing in the rain down a steep hill from Painswick toward Slad and there was an old, stooped dude working his way up the hill using a walking stick. A Land Rover pulled up beside him and the driver waved him in as I approached but the door was locked. She tried to unlock it as he pulled on the latch and I came to a sliding halt with no room to pass. They did this a couple of more times and it made me smile when he just yelled at her, “thank you, anyway.” “Tough luck,” I commented and he looked up and said, “bitches be trippin'” then moved on his way. It is hard to run while laughing that hard.
Then, the annual Holiday Running Streak began and I have been hard at it the last 10 days (with 33 ahead of me). Good treks on this one included the Trowbridge to Westbury pub dash and the Bristol and Bath Rail Trail run. The monthly statistical breakdown is as follows:
November total: 171.1 miles
Average run (μ) was 6.84 miles with std dev (σ) of 3.28.
Runs more than μ+2σ (ie, 13.4 miles): 14.3 miles on 22 Nov and 15.4 miles on the 28th.
Year to date: 2242.7 miles so 2500 is still a possibility despite the slack performances in January, September, October, and the first part of November.
Old Town Still Life at the Co-Op
The Globe was friendly enough, but I should have stuck with the lager…the Doom Bar tasted a bit ‘sweet’ like something other than Doom Bar had been in the lines (another ale? cleaning solvents?). Not bad enough to send it back, mind, but not right.
Watched a few horse races on telly whilst deciding I didn’t have enough time to catch another pub before the bus home even though it was a short gallop to the station. At 8 miles in two runs on the day, I decided to let the beer races be a draw (the earlier one winning by a furlong, while this one should be shot and sent to the dog food cannery) instead of going for Best-Two-Out-Of-Three.
I had three miles scheduled for the day’s run and had done them on the way to the hospital for a final cancer check-up (after a few years of surgeries and intermittent — but harsh — chemical treatments). Good news sent a desire to do more running to my legs and with the day free I headed to Andover for no better reason than it is easy to get to by bus and I haven’t worn trenches into the running paths there…yet.
Time was still kind of tight after stopping for a pint at the Town Mills, so the run was kept a bit short and I grabbed a delicious piece of cod in Camara’s just as he was closing for the day (he had to turn the fryer back on to cook it but did so without complaint and even upgraded the order a bit).
Directly across from the chip shop just above the pedestrianized shopping street there is an old archway — 865 years old, in fact — which leads into a nice patch of grass next to the parish church. The sign reads, “Original Norman arch c1150 AD forming west doorway to old parish church. Removed some 250 ft south to its present site in 1845.”
(Note: this post is a continuation of the 2014 Chippy Challenge, with all related entries linked to this map)
With the afternoon free after a cancer-treatment follow-up (all clear, at present), I caught the first bus away from the hospital with plans to go for a run wherever it took me. As it took me to Ludgershall and there was a bus to Andover right behind my bus, I opted for that additional one to find some virgin trail. But, first I had a bit of celebrating to do and I popped into the nearest pub to the bus station: the Town Mills.
It looked big and foodie from without but after retrieving a Corvus Stout from the bar I followed the Bob Marley music upstairs to find it is something of a party house with a circle of couches under the heavy timber beams. Like a lot of old pubs, the layout is in snugs but in this case they are each as big as whole saloon bars instead of dinky/intimate rooms.
I watched some lads on a lunch break shoot pool then spotted a horde of ducks in the mill-race that runs under the building. I see this a lot around the canals: ducks on what is essentially the watery treadmill…getting into beach body shape, I reckon.
The Welcome Stranger was a welcome sight as my hand was swelling rapidly and I needed a break (no pun intended). I took the outdoors photos then headed in the door near the sign and soon found myself behind the bar. Ushered rapidly out and around the right way, I was soon sitting at the bar choosing between Betty Stoggs and Dorset Gold. I like Stoggs but had never tried the Gold and felt adventurous.
A few minutes later, some musicians appeared fresh from a wedding at the Kimpton church. After pleasantries and an interrogation as to who was getting hitched (everyone there knew the bride, a local girl), one of the guys started getting the round in.
1: “Betty Stoggs, please.” Calling out to one of the others, he asked his preference.
2: “Oh, Stoggs is good.”
1: “Another Stoggs, then. And for [another band member’s name]?”
2: “Oh, I think she’d like a Stoggs, too.”
1: “And, a Stoggs.” Another bandmate emerged from the loo. “What’ll you have?”
3: “Ooo, Stoggs I think.”
1: “One more Stoggs, please.”
The woman band mate was in conversation about her instrument, some bag pipes, then pulled these out of the case to show the interested party. Then, for the next 6-8 minutes she treated us to an impromptu performance (YouTube video should be embedded, here):
Next, a crowd on a charity walk-a-thon came through while 40 or so of their compatriots passed by. I followed the last of this lot out and weaved through the crowd on the narrow farm track leading out to the military training area we were all soon to cross.
Overall, this was one of the most pleasant pub experiences this year.
My hand was already swollen from re-socketing my pinky after the tumble a few miles back so when I got to the Plough I ordered a pint of cider — ice-cold, y’know — to hold against the wounded paw. It seemed to help.
The pub is a proper country one and just lovely inside. A Bob Marley song was playing when I came in, the Beatles after that and someone covering “Do You Want To Know A Secret” just after that. Surprising choices for the kids in there (I was easily twice as old as anyone in the house). They have live music, too.
With no one to talk to and the throbbing abated, I moved on to the Welcome Stranger, a few miles closer to the end of my run and easily the best pub of the day (which really isn’t saying as much as it should).
This run merits its own write-up but there will still be a monthly synopsis. I’m running behind on pub write-ups, too, so some of these will turn up in a week or so.
I called ahead on Thursday because I’ve been screwed by inaccurate websites before and I knew I could change my route if one or another 11 o’clock opening pubs no longer opened at 11. But, I got lucky with the Boot in Shipton Bellinger, only 4½ miles from my 10:45 am start in Tidworth:
“Hi, I’m stopping by Saturday. What time do you open?”
“Eleven for drinks, twelve for food.” Great, just like on the website! It’s good to call ahead.
The mist was thick, the skies threatening to make it a proper rain, and there was a nip in the gusts of wind but I was already thinking about a nice stout or porter to make it worthwhile. Then, they stuck the Boot in:
Of course, this will have no effect on the eventual review of this pub…besides, it is entirely my fault as I should have specified that “I’m stopping by Saturday” meant THIS Saturday and not some random one in the distant future. No worries, I was running a bit behind and the Crown, a few miles away, was already supposed to be open:
So it was no surprise that the door was bolted as I jogged up at 11:59. I wandered to the back to see if there was an entrance off the car park and, finding none, stopped in front to consult my map for the next stop. Then, the door opened. “It’s 12 o’clock, then?” I asked. “Yes, we open at 12.” Assholes.
I’m typing this with a badly swollen right pinky finger which I dislocated (then quickly popped back into place) after tripping over a vine on one of the trails leading away from the Crown. So, I do 86 miles a couple weeks ago largely at night with 5 successful pub stops (and a bottle) and on uneven surfaces without incident. Nine miles into this one I’ve done myself serious damage and all I had to show for it was a pint around sullen and rude attendants. This day just gets better and better, I thought.
I was actually looking forward to the next place, the Shire Horse, as it is a railway pub and situated on the edge of Palestine (Hampshire). Or, should I say it was a railway pub as this unkempt garden with the playground stuff I saw at Dismaland was the only thing resembling a pub. Through a window on the former bar I could see debris that used to be bar-like but the bartender at the Plough, a mile and a half later, confirmed the place has been closed for ages.
Spot the difference: at the Shire Horse and…
I am constantly correcting the CAMRA site for this sort of mistake which is fair enough as I’m probably the first person to use it for opening times or permanent closures, but you would think the local branches would take an interest.
The next two pubs actually were open (and one, the Welcome Stranger in Kimpton, was absolutely spectacular…watch for this pub write-up as we were entertained by a bagpiper and I snagged some video) and the run finished without further incident and with enough time (just) to grab a bit of cod as I rolled back into Tidworth. 19.4 miles on the day, longest since the Ridgeway.