|In the queue for the auction|
|The Flower Auction|
Meanwhile, over in the town centre, the street market was in full swing.
The town centre is a maze of streets and passageway s- and modern shopping developments have been incorporated into the centre much more successfully than in many towns. When you get tired of markets and shops, there's also the remains of the castle to explore as well as a couple of museums. It's the sort of place I might want to live, except for one thing:
In a comment on yesterday's blog Sarah on Chertsey asked about the pubs we'd visited. Over two nights we visited four pubs - all chosen from Camra's Good Beer Guide, but all in some way disappointing.
The Fox and Crown, owned by the local Castle Rock brewery, was an interesting building which modernisation of the inside hadn't spoiled too much, but the beer was served much too cold and with a tight sparkler that knocked all the taste out of it. The Castle and Falcon wasn't a bad pub but again, the beer was cold and lifeless and the choice very limited. (I don't count John Smiths as a beer, even in cask form). The Vine, when we eventually found it (a long way out of town) could have been an excellent pub. A Victorian street-corner local, the public bar still had its wooden perimeter bench seating and scrubbed-top tables but it was spoilt for us by an over-loud juke box and, again a poor beer range. Owned by another local brewery (Springhead) it offered one very strong pale beer, an alcoholic ginger beer and a honey-flavoured beer. Call me old-fashioned but whatever happened to "beer-flavoured beer"?
That left "Just Beer" - a self-styled "micropub" . This certainly won the prize for ambiance. A small, simply-furnished room decorated with brewery memorabilia. But for a pub supposedly specialising in beer the quality was only average and the short-measure was almost criminal. If drinkers were short-changed by 20 or 30p every time they bought a pint there would be a riot, but people seem to accept "pints" that are 5 or 10% short without comment - and "Just Beer" was towards the top of this range.
So, all-in-all, a disappointment. Perhaps we just caught them on a bad night - Tuesday night is the low point of the pub week and Wednesday not much better - but I had expected more. Oh well, off to the Fossdyke tomorrow!