On Common Ground
This year saw the recce party’s numbers grow to five as a recently retired Fish ditched his Werther’s Originals, set Sky Plus to record Countdown, and took his place in the back of the Landrover.
Accusations impugning the necessity of our trip (‘You’re just off on a jolly’, perhaps by an envious Jolly?) were still ringing in our ears as we arrived at The Bell in Sapperton. Despite the absence of Alederflower (last year’s favourite) this proved to be a pleasant opener as we basked in the early spring sunshine. Next port of call was Minchinhampton (by proxy?) for lunch at The Weighbridge. Extensive road works made access slightly tricky and are a sore point with the landlord who has fallen foul of the council’s estimation for completion (not factoring in drinking tea, scratching bollocks etc.). The ale is very good and their signature deep filled pies are delicious but be advised that the dining area is small so if you’re planning to lunch there on a Friday you might want to book.
Onwards to Nailsworth, home of our new Sunday opponents the Nympsfield Commoners. The King George V ground is quite a way out of the town and is accessed via a very narrow road, as we discovered when we tried to play chicken with a tractor. The ground is picturesque but very open and I imagine any cross wind will be felt by everyone. Sandy seemed very keen to add the motorised roller to the Colin’s Construction empire but we managed to drag him (and his preoccupation with Viz’s latest triad of characters) away as we headed back to Stroud. The Egypt Mill in Nailsworth looks like a good bet for Sunday lunch (or did from the outside as we drove past!).
Thankfully The Ale House in Stroud is still open but has the same number of customers as on recent visits-two people at the bar and Finn the Irish wolfhound. We tried to see if we could book the adjacent room for our Saturday night meal but the landlord wasn’t prepared to cook after 9.00pm, which seemed a little short-sighted as he was turning down a guarantee of twenty good drinkers. Having said this, the beer is still top notch and remains my favourite watering hole in Stroud.
Hunger eventually led us to Sorrento, the Italian restaurant opposite The Imperial. After a very good meal ‘the workers’ hit the hay to leave the retired gentlefolk to sample The Imperial’s range of malt whisky. I’m pleased to report that the hotel is still very good value for what we’re paying and we’ll be dining there on the Saturday night, with an improved menu from last year.
Finally thanks to Timmsy for manfully volunteering for the transport manager’s duties, and I wish the chairman and his new workforce a prosperous summer.
Pictures courtesy of Mushie Jones (just to prove they weren’t in the pub all the time):