Archive for the ‘Oxfordshire’ Tag

Rose and Crown, Shilton, Oxfordshire   2 comments


Pub #2076:

“I had a Daimler,” said the man picking up drinks for himself and his wife. The conversation with the dead ringer for Prince Philip, had obviously already been going on for a while at the Rose & Crown‘s rail.

“You don’t see many Daimler Conquests, any more.”
“It got smashed to bits by a motorcycle.”
“I am terribly sorry,” the Duke of Edinburgh’s doppelgänger commiserated with believable grief.
“My son took it a few years later to restore but I haven’t seen it since.”



Wayne and Waynetta wandered in. “Alright, Michael?”  So, his name is Mike; the absolutely potty lord of the manor greeted them heartily by grasping Waynetta by the shoulders with a pinky ringed hand and refocusing his attentions, allowing the classic car owner a window of escape.

Somehow, I became embroiled in a discussion of the recent weather with (I am reasonably sure) the landlady, although she lives on the far side of the county in Thame. The snows stranded her in Shilton; “I can think of worse fates,” I pointed out, looking out to the stream and pump across the road.

“Yes, it is lovely here, isn’t it?” Indeed, and the pub is absolutely marvelous and well deserving of the repeated inclusions in the Good Beer Guide for the hospitality, alone (although the ale is spectacular, too).




Posted March 24, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Masons Arms, Brize Norton, Oxfordshire   1 comment


Pub #2075:

I had to choose at a crossroad between another pub and the Masons Arms.  I doubted that I would find myself in this bit of Oxfordshire again and opted for this one mainly because it was directly in line with a continuing path to COTW and the Rose and Crown in Shilton.  Fortunately, the pub was easily worthy a journey on its own merits.



It was still lunchtime, albeit at the late end of it, and the upper bar was like God’s waiting room, full of pensioners that probably remember the hangovers they had on VE Day Plus One.  I had met, in the two ships in the night sense of the word, a half-dozen joggers along the path to here but I was easily the least formally dressed person here so I stayed near the fire and watched some of a Cricket World Cup Qualifier with a 6 Nations themed ale.

Quite an informal pub, it has all the ‘house’ aspects of Public House right down to the personal effects in the garden.  Quite nice.




Posted March 24, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Crocodiles of the World, Unite!   1 comment


I thought the quote was, “Crocodiles of all lands, unite,” but never mind…I appeared to be on the right path.



The afternoon was spectacular and the run no more painful than any of the others the last two weeks of this sciatica flare-up.  A park on the northern outskirts of Carterton (between the Mason’s Arms and the Rose and Crown) seemed sparse save for the oversized horse sculptures.



Shilton, protected by a ford and serviced by a hand pump for water, was peaceful and took my mind off things for a while.  When asked what I run for, today’s jog is illustrative: tourism and therapy.  And, getting out on a lovely day is always a good thing.


2017: Year in Review   Leave a comment

Everyone does an End-Of-The-Year retrospective and I almost always do, too (here’s 2016’s review, for example).  Remember, this blog is about pubs and running more than anything else and most of what remains is primarily adolescent humour.  With that caveat, I bring you the Year 2017 In Review:

The Running Year 2017 (painfully detailed post to follow) was only salvaged in the last 1/3 of the year despite an initially strong start.  I started training for the Siracusa Marathon which had been cancelled at the last moment in 2016 and which was again cancelled this year nearly 3 months before it was scheduled to run.  Shit.  However, this left me in pretty good shape for tackling the London Outer Orbital Path mostly in May (while Jackie was Stateside), averaging more than 6½ miles per day and one week over 90 miles.

But, a prolonged respiratory infection hit me the first week of June (lingering for another week and with a relapse mid-July) and a spot of cancer related depression thereafter pushed my weekly mileage down significantly.  I had only managed to hit 1000 miles for the year by mid-August.

Fortuitously, I came into possession of a block of hash and a few very oily buds of home grown pot and, with their help and guidance, rediscovered the joys of hard training with no specific goal.  Well, one specific goal: I decided to try to salvage the annual mileage with a modest 1600 by year’s end, upping that to 1800 as it became clear 1600 was going to fall easily, eventually ending on 2022.  Now, if I hadn’t already blown through the weed I might target some real mileage for 2018.

So, running was all personal this year and that made it a good thing.  No races.  No hashing.  No GHAD.  Just finishing the London A to Z Runs, the London Outer Orbital Path, the Holiday Run Streak, and starting the TfL Run Project with 267 pub stops for the year in the midst of runs (and, 322 total, bringing the grand total to 2038).

Pub details (especially write-ups)

Pubs by month
16   Jan
17   Feb
20   Mar
11   Apr
74   May
12   Jun
19   Jul
23   Aug
30  Sep
28  Oct
40 Nov
32 Dec

Other good write-ups (reverse chronological order under the subheadings):

Favourite Pub visits:

The Woodman, Birmingham (pub #2000)
The Charlie Chaplin, Elephant & Castle (atmosphere)
The Queens, Crouch End (stunning)
The Victoria Tavern, Plaistow (atmosphere)
The Harp, Covent Garden (beer curation)
The Britannia, Plaistow (drunken conversation)
The Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Chorleywood (damn near perfect pub)
The Marquis of Granby, New Cross (weird encounter)
The Old Oak Tree, Southall (whorehouse as revealed at the Lamb, shortly thereafter)
The Pineapple, Lambeth (not a half-bad local this close to Waterloo)
The George, Isle of Dogs (trying to convince a middle-aged guy he’s still fuckable)
The Wattenden Arms, Kenley (surreal art criticism)
The Sir Julian Huxley, Selsdon (foul-mouthed grannies)
The Tiger, Homerton (rare to find a hipster joint so hip)
The Duke’s Head, Crayford (almost too hospitable)
Dive Bar, Hull (they gave me too much change!)
Wm Hawkes, Hull (dark and awesome, despite fucking up my order)
The Rising Sun, Mill Hill (Grade 1 Listed)
Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Harrow & Wealdston (stunning former home of WS Gilbert)
The Queen’s Head, Limehouse (maybe gone by now, but as local as they come anymore)
Ye Olde Greene Manne, Rickmansworth (more encounters with nutters)
The Castle, Holland Park (architecture and hopelessly incompetent staff)
Lavin’s Bar, Hanwell (another psycopath encounter)
The Bull, Iver (for the local day drinkers)
Tap Social, Oxford (awesome microbrewery and tap room)

Other Events:

TfL Run Project (ongoing)
Beaujolais Nouveaux Day
Socialism 2017
Notting Hill Carnival (August Bank Holiday)
Mets vs Capitals Baseball
Nunhead Cemetery
Anti-Tory March and Rally (Not One Day More, July)
My First UK Vote
My Trip To Hull (many good posts)
Shakespeare’s Globe for “Nell Gwynn”
Taping of Have I Got News For You
Anti-Trump Rally at the US Embassy

Food and Feasting, mostly Recipes:

Vodca Sméar Dubh (Blackberry Vodka)
Tom Collins Obit
Feast of St Arnold
Hot Dogs
Treasures From Trumpministan
Yellow Peril Dandelion Wine
Angostura Tinted Martinis
Iron Duke Punch
Limping Lotta’s Banana Muffins
Tafel Spitz (Viennese boiled beef and stuff)
Chateaux La Limace et Le Gaz Hilarant (Drunken Bunny Cabernet)
Tamarinds (also, growing them)
A Week Of Haggis
Lyme Bay Mead (gift from workmates)
Winter Solstice Mead (another Drunken Bunny brewing attempt)
Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch Bourbon (gift from a lab visitor)
Best Kebab: Streatham Kebab, Fish and Chips House
Best Fish: The Carp & Trout, Hampton Hill

Previously Unwritten Recipe:

Basil & Grape Cocktail (from a food section article in The Guardian): makes 2 (these were really refreshing at the end of Summer)

Put these in a blender and blitz:
3 shots of good gin (I know, I know … all gin is good gin)
16 chilled green, seedless grapes
12 basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
juice of a lime

Pour into a shaker with ice, shake vigourously, and strain over 6 FROZEN grapes in each of two glasses. Garnish with one more basil leaf in each.  Yummy.


Obits (note, Tom Collins Obit in Food, above):

Robert Blakely, designer of the Fallout Shelter sign
Unnamed Person’s Wake at the Red Lion, Southall
Bill Simonsick (one of the few truly great Americans I have known and loved)
Bruce Langhorne (one of Dylan’s inspirations and dead ringer for my cousin, Chuck)
Lord Snowdon (trivia topic at the Sportsman, Croxley Green)
Tommy McDermot (late of the Old Crown in Hayes)


Best Ludicrous Posts:

Be Careful Of Your Dreams Coming True
Unfortunate Business Name
The Man Cave, Oxford
Party On, Wayne
The D.H. Lawrence Car Hire, Sudbury
A to Z Run W for Women
Jello Biafra/Dead Kennedys Tribute
A to Z Run U for Udders
New Cds From Notting Hill Market
Julie’s In The Drugs Squad
A Cancer On The Presidency
D90B (Drunken Bunny version of P90X)
NOT a Fetish Bar
Post to President Bannon
Trumpageddon…Inauguration Day

What an absolute bastard year.



Bell Inn, Ducklington, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment

Pub #1967:

With Witney pubs all but completed, I veered off trail on this lunch run to the wee village of Ducklington for the first time since 2010.  Since then, the Strickland Arms has been converted into a private residence leaving the Bell as the only pub in the village.  It is a bit hard to find and even when I asked an aged dog walker where it was it took her a moment to remember that it was only 100 meters back down the road from which she had just emerged.



It is a fine and ancient inn.  I sat next to the roaring fireplace which was big enough to roast a calf in (or, given the time of year, burn some Catholics).  A ballistic-glass cover over a hole in the floor reveals an old well.  The smoke from the fireplace made it seem quite homey and I wish I had hit this house lo those many years ago (or indeed years before that).  If you are only going to have one in town, you could do a lot worse than this one.


Posted November 3, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Blue Boar, Witney, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment

Pub #1966:

But for the need to get back to the lab, these lunch runs could be so much more elaborate.  The Blue Boar is supposed to do a fine, wood oven pizza but it takes an hour to run to Witney and a ½ hour to bus back so I was pretty much limited to the pint.  The house is atmospheric and sprawls out behind the front bar.  The cobwebs are some sort of Halloween decoration, by the way (the place is tidy and the staff conscientious and professional…and perhaps a tad too friendly).



As is typical in the smaller towns at lunch time, I was the youngest male in the house.  Near me sat a guy old enough to be my father and near him a guy old enough to be his (which is to say, about my father’s age were he not — choose your favourite — either a) sitting in an urn on a shelf in my whore sister’s house OR b) burning in hell … a) is definitely true but I prefer c) both despite not believing in hell or, more to the point, being certain that he isn’t in the lab.  Ah, but then again, you never escape your demons, do you?

The younger buck of my two compatriots was having a post-meal Stella after a bottle of wine.  “Can I get you anything else, my love?” chirped the thin, young, middle-class woman behind the bar.

“Ooooh, I think some ice cream would do nicely,” he intoned in the voice of radio legend Geoffrey Whitehead.  They negotiated 3 scoops of a variety of flavours and she disappeared to the kitchen.

The older man tutted, “ice cream and beer…I’ve never seen such.”

“It’s quite nice,” assured the hungry fellow, convincing me we might actually share ancestry.  When the bloke I assume to be the young woman’s husband appeared with the flute packed with gelato, I was very jealous but I saw my bus arrive outside and had to down the remaining ½ pint and dash.


Posted November 3, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Eagle Tavern, Witney, Oxfordshire   1 comment


Pub #1965:

The Eagle Tavern is my favourite pub in Witney (which I can now say with authority having visited almost all of them).  Flagstone flooring, good music on the tannoy (I heard Echo Beach as I sat down with a pint of Old Hooky and along the way got Bowie, Iggy, and Lou songs you NEVER hear unless you’ve put an album on), nooks and snugs, and a friendly landlady…damn near perfection.



It also seems not to have been redecorated since 1962.  Love the Gents sign: stand closer to the bowl, you twat!  And, what’s with the full trousers drop?  And, speaking of “drop,” the Ladies features a woman I suspect needs the toilet brush after her deposit:



Ahhh, to linger here and continue talking with the first Witney denizens I’ve ever met that neither were on nor needed strong mood altering medication.  But, this visit was only the end of my lunch run and I had to rush back.  I wish I’d found this years ago.


Posted November 2, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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