Wednesday, 2 February 2011

George Inn, Nettlebridge

It’s Sunday again.  Time for a walk … And this week it’s off to Nettlebridge for a stroll through the forest and surrounding countryside before popping into a nearby pub for lunch!

The walk through Harridge Woods follows a stream which flows past caves, ruined water mills, cottages and dormouse conservation areas. I love the sound of running water and also exploring old ruins so I was in my element. After two hours we were back at the car and ready for the short drive to The George. 

The George was until recently known as The Nettlebridge Inn.  It’s been rebranded and the menu offers fare akin to a Harvester – “All meals include free salad” pronounced a chalk board at the entrance to the car park.

As I approach the bar my eyes scan the pumps – Thatcher’s Gold? Check. Oooh Rich’s on draught too!  And what’s this? Lilley & Sons Apples and Pears? I’ve never heard of that one before. And that’s not a cider-making name I’ve come across either.  I’m not really an apple and pear lover though, so I decide to order the Rich’s.  “Are you sure?” says the barman, “I saw you looking at the Apples & Pears – would you like to try a bit?” Now I’m not one to turn down a free sample, so I acquiesce.  It’s a different taste – reminds me a bit of nail varnish (not that I’ve ever partaken of nail varnish, what I mean is, it tastes of the smell of nail varnish) but it slips down easily and I’m thirsty! The barman tells me that it is produced “down the road” and I make a note to check it out later. 

I order a pint and consult the menu. The chauffeur laughs, and tells me that he knows what I'm going to have. I huffily tell him that I have to have the thing he knows I'm going to have because I'm doing research for the book I'm writing "I'll have a pint of cider and a tuna baguette please". I explain (or make up on the spot) that this is the reason we have been visiting so many pubs and I have been mainly choosing the tuna baguette for lunch ... it hasn't been, it's just I think I'm addicted to tuna baguettes, but I like the idea. And so here we are ...

No baguettes on offer here though, but I can have a tuna and mayonnaise sandwich on granary bread.  And so I do! I take a seat at a table and wonder if “All meals” includes sandwiches.  The place is reminiscent of a Harvester inside as well - it’s packed with people having lunch and seems very popular.  But it’s not really a pub anymore. I wonder if there is another bar elsewhere, but a quick look seems to indicate not.

My sandwich arrives, thick bread and served on a bed of tortilla chips (bleugh).  I take a mouthful and decide that what this sandwich really needs is some red onion.  I sneak to the salad bar!  Putting a few bits of red onion, cucumber and sweetcorn on a plate I return to my chair and set about customising my sandwich. Delicious. (Although half goes into the handbag for later!)

When I get a phone signal I google Lilley & Son. Hmmph. They are actually the distributor for The Original Cider Company range (Broadoak, Bristol Port etc.) and Apples & Pears is made for them by The OCC. I feel a little cheated, because I thought I’d found a new cider farm to visit …

Cider – 3   Tuna Baguette – 3 (in original form, 4 after I’d souped it up!) Atmosphere - 1

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