Monday, January 31, 2011
Malmesbury and Tetbury
Gumstool Hill. His cries for attention, while prodigious, didn't particularly distinguish him; rather, it was his ingenuity: when I crouched down to take a shot of a nearby hotel, I felt this sudden weight in my lap, followed by much, much closer meowing. I walked around with little muddy cat paws on my thighs for the rest of the day.
the Smoking Dog, we decided. (Despite my aversion for those horrid "Dogs playing poker" paintings and whatnot, which Tea helpfully brought to mind, pointing at the pub's sign and smirking.)
As I went up to order our pints, my gaze fell upon the "Continental Guest Beer," Blue Moon. I couldn't help but laugh and comment on the sight from 'home', to which the bartender replied, "Oh, yes. It must be an acquired taste." That's one way of putting it, I thought. A final point on the bar: when I was up for another round, I noticed the gentleman who'd been sitting beside us chatting to the bartender. As I waited, I realized he was making good on a comment he'd made at the table about the ale being too cold, and how the management would probably like to know. The two of them were now lamenting how little you can do about the temperature of your cellar. It really is that important to them, folks, and I'm sure they'd be deeply offended by the "warm, flat beer" comments I've heard from the mouths of Canadian visitors. But, to each his own.
Malmesbury Abbey. The other pub we'd read about, The Whole Hog, wasn't far from the car park, so we decided that some refreshments might be in order.
The Whole Hog has a fantastic bar area out front, with large, well-maintained windows that look out on a square, and, according to our book, a market cross that's one of the best examples from its era in England. It was a great place to take a load off, particularly with a pint of Three Castle's Corn Dolly in my hand, and listening to guffaws, the likes of which I never would've called anything but campy British were I not there to witness the sincerity of their delivery. Good times!
We'd read about the Priory Inn in Tetbury earlier in the day, and in the spirit of perpetuating those good times, we decided to stop in, for supper, as it turned out.
Thirty-mile food zone" that they do their best to follow, and promote local musicians -- we enjoyed an excellent performance by Juey that evening -- and artists -- we bought a lovely drawing of cows in Cardigan Bay by Carole Condé that we'd been ogling all evening; it really reminded us of our trip to Wales.
So, yes, good for the conscience, clearly, but very good for the soul too. Their wood oven pizzas are delicious -- we saw more than a few take-away orders that evening -- and the treacle and marmalade tart was out of this world!
As always, check out our Picasa album for more pictures from the day.