Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Swanage Day 2: Saturday

Swanage Saturday is about three things: playing golf, going on a pub crawl, and eating charred meat out of white bread buns while sitting in the dark wearing a head torch. It's also about starting the day with a nutritious full English breakfast washed down with a can of Stella.

Golf

Fortified by this we walk the mile or so to the lavishly appointed Kirkwood Park pitch & putt course - 1058 of the Queen's yards of pure golfing majesty. And graced, on this occasion, by one of the greatest rounds of golf ever played. I refer to none other than my own calm, precise yet swaggeringly virile and masculine 64, good enough to win by four shots from Andy's workmanlike, worthy but ultimately utterly inadequate 68. By the end he was a broken man, ruthlessly impaled and run through by the rapier of my own pitiless genius.

And so begins the legendary Swanage pub crawl. I haven't collated the photos as yet so that link will have to wait, but here's a summary:

East

Formerly The Peverill, and since subject to a not entirely welcome makeover, this is now a sort of up-market sports bar. Which was quite handy, as it happens, because we were there just in time to catch the end of the England-Australia rugby World Cup semi-final, drink a couple of pints of Grolsch, play a couple of games of pool, and move on. To....

The White Horse

A nondescript sort of place, formerly a bit of a lottery beer-wise but now serving some quite good Ringwood Best and Fortyniner - Ringwood seem to be making a bit of a push into Dorset, and a good thing too, I say. Just the one here and then we moved on to....

The Purbeck

Home of the legendary test-tube rack of J├Ągermeister, as well as very good London Pride (both pictured), as well as more pool. They also have an intriguing bit of above-the-urinal reading in the gents' - tune in for the photo link later to see what I mean.

Then on to the gruelling and physically demanding middle section of the crawl, and where we usually lose track, in later recollection, of exactly what pubs we went to and in which order. Well, not any more. Photographic evidence reveals the truth, and it goes something like this....

The Ship

This place has gone a little up-market as well, since we first came here - they've gone all gastro-pubby on our ass, as well as getting rid of the dartboard. It's also had a bit of a beer rethink - it used to serve some slightly ropey local Dorset brew, but it's gone all Ringwood as well. I had a pint of Huffkin, and very nice too.

The White Swan

This illustrates nicely the benefits of real ale consumption - leave aside the sculpted physique, manly musky odour and uncanny attractiveness to the ladies, what drinking proper beer also does for you is allow you to enjoy a pint (Ringwood Best again) even when there's a power cut (which there was). Suck it, lagerboy!

The Anchor

Third step in the "difficult" middle section, this one stands out from all the others by virtue of being on the other side of the road. Other than that it's not especially memorable. More Ringwood I think.

The Red Lion

This was always the banker location as far as getting in a decent game of arrers was concerned. That may still be the case, but on this particular occasion things had been moved around somewhat to accommodate some artists performing as part of the Swanage Blues & Roots Festival. Which was all fine; we were in no fit state to object (let alone chuck darts) by this point anyway. Very nice Timothy Taylor's Landlord as well.

The Black Swan

Phew. Last one. More blues action here, though a bit of disappointment on the beer front. Normally they do very good Shepherd Neame Spitfire, but by the time we got there they'd run out of, well, pretty much everything. So Guinness it was.

The point, in retrospect, is that all of these pubs are within about a mile of each other. So there's no wasting time with too much walking about between pubs, and more quality time sitting around drinking and talking bollocks.

And so to bed. No, hang on, there was a barbecue to be had yet. So we got back to the tent, sparked up the barbies and loaded them up with meat. And I mean a lot of meat (see left). That's what you need (plus bread) when you've got a skinful of ale to soak up.

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