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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

a canal walk, a face full of midges and a pub lunch.

I finally managed to get a day off work today and after a spate of being Mr Domestic this morning I took myself off to Beeston and the canal system for a walk and a pint or two. I met other people with dogs, joggers, cyclists and fishermen and women on the banks of the river Trent and the canal. At the marina I stopped for a pint of bitter.

Alongside the tow path there were some beautiful poppies in flower and I found  some grasses that my step sisters and I used to throw at each other as 'darts' when we were kids and out walking with Mum and Dad. We used to think it was hilarious to see our jumpers/cardigans covered in these grass missiles.

The canal path took me as far as the Attenborough nature reserve where I branched off (down Meadow Lane) and enjoyed a face full of midges along the way and a discreet pee in the bushes.

the face you HAVE to pull when encountering midges.
I also stopped and watched a bittern diving around in the air and making sudden swoops into the ponds as well as three or four graceful swans gliding around the reed beds. All the time the clouds threatened rain and then would clear giving me lovely walking conditions in the warm sun.

Thinking back to the canal part of the walk I enjoyed looking at some of the canal barges with odd names and varying levels of smartness and tattiness and wondered what it would be like to have one as a home.

After an hour and a half of walking and intermittantly spitting out midges I found myself in the pretty village of Attenborough and in need of something to eat. I had no idea if there was a pub or cafe and asked about this in the Hairy McClarey dog grooming parlour. The pink and blue poodle in mid rinse looked at me dismissively  and I was told (by a lady doggy groomer who looked about nine years old) that the Bluebell pub on the main road did food all day. As I left a Rottweiler was having its paws massaged or did I just imagine that?

pretty cottage in Attenborough

Now I have a rule with pubs. Firstly, I visually scan the outside. If it looks rough and uncared for, possibly with trampy types lurking in the shadows I call it a 'Black Dog' pub and avoid it like the plague. This name stems from eating in a pub in Grantham once called, yes you've got it, The Black Dog. The food was truly dreadful with side orders of listeria and the atmosphere was like walking into a big ashtray overflowing with old nub ends. The terrible decor, cobwebs above the bar, sticky carpets and National Front members welcome here stickers didn't help one fall in love with the place.

On the face of it the pub looked OK for what seemed like a chain pub and I tentatively ventured inside. It was almost like stepping back in time to the 1980s and the brightly patterned carpets would give you a headache if you stared at them for too long. Also some pub designer clearly had a thing about wood as the place was chocker with the stuff. It was Swiss chalet with alcohol, a big selection of nuts, a lonely king size pool table and easy listening muzac floating through the air.

I had forgotten to take my glasses with me so the very polite young man on the bar read out their menu to me. I went for steak and ale pie, mashed potatoes and peas and within ten minutes there it was piping hot at my table by the window with its own little jug of gravy. Actually for about £10 (including a pint of bitter) it was very good value and as I was peckish I wolfed down every last morsel. And the staff were very attentive, twice asking if everything was OK.

After my lunch I got the bus into Nottingham and another home to my village. It was about 4pm and after my exertions I decided a little nap was in order. Great day out.


Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

What a brilliantly full day and that pie didn't look bad at all. I love your description of the decor in the pub. Brilliant stuff! Just ask the bus driver to take you via Belleau next time!

Janette said...

I love the fact that were ever you go you always seem to have an adventure! You inspire to go and have adventures of my own! Don't fancy the midges though!