Another week, another fashion city for En Brogue to jet off to. It’s a hard life for some. As a result Grenson and I decided we might as well head off on another minibreak of our own. En Brogue and the fashionistas may have Paris in the Springtime but Grenson and I will always have Ponty!
Good old Pontypridd in South Wales was where En Brogue and I met (student love, aren’t we cute?!). I thought Grenson would enjoy researching a bit of family history. I could also meet up with my old school friend who now lives there and enjoy researching a bit of pub history.
However, despite Grenson being an excellent traveller, I decided a stop off on the way would be a good idea to break up the journey. As a result, the first part of this break was spent in Devizes. No specific reason for choosing this town other than it felt like a pretty decent halfway point between London and Wales, and also … well it’s just an intriguingly strange name isn’t it?
If I had to choose a word to sum up this choice of abode, then the stand out winner would be…characterful. First off, it’s in a row of houses built circa 1550!
That alleyway is surely the sort that unsuspecting tourists may wander into and inadvertently end up being transported back in time, like Nicholas Lyndhurst in Goodnight Sweetheart, (a very confusing TV show from the 90s which was inexplicably popular despite being completely ridiculous).
The apartment was through the iron gate on the left and comprised of one room with a little self contained kitchen and dining area, and another room with bedroom and bathroom in the eaves.
(n.b. notice Grenson just escaping shot above).
I loved it. However, I did find the fact that the iron gates mentioned above were the only front door. i.e. there was no front ‘door’. It spooked me out a bit, I don’t mind admitting. I’m still not entirely sure that I didn’t miss the big door that was meant to be shut behind the gates?!
Anyway despite the gate/door conundrum, you can’t help but love a place that provides doggy treats on arrival and crockery of such devastating brilliance as that shown below.
As for Devizes itself … it’s an interesting place. Prior research led me to The British Lion which was apparently a stalwart in ‘The Good Book’. Alas, they only allowed me in the beer garden (overgrown grass, wobbly benches, next to car park) with Grenson. This was very disappointing as the pub looked great (friendly locals, good ales, pool table).
The next pub, recommended by the lady at The Hat Apartment, was the Black Swan. This improved my mood no end. It was no ordinary pub at all. In fact it seemed to be an antique shop that also sold beer and food!
Basically everything inside was for sale!
How brilliant? I enquired about food and was told that the kitchen opened at six and there was no need to book. So I ordered a pint of Wadworth 6x (Devizes is overshadowed by the brewery so drinking anything else would have been sacrilege … it’s also handily a big favourite of mine), and settled down, before heading back to freshen up for dinner.
However, upon my return I found all of the curtains drawn. This was odd, but then again, it is a place that sells everything inside, so odd was relative. I hesitantly entered to find places laid out and candles lit on the tables. I found a few people sitting at the bar and enquired about a table for 1 (plus dog). They looked at me as if I’d walked into someone’s living room and asked to sleep on the sofa. After a second or two of awkwardness, when I wondered if I was actually talking to paying guests rather than the owner, I was finally informed that the kitchen was closed. This was at 8:30. Either the kitchen was only open for 2 hours per night, or something strange was going on. Grenson and I left promptly. Not feeling in the mood for any more pub confusion we ended up getting a fish and chip supper to take back to our apartment. This was purchased from ‘The Best Plaice’ fish shop. I would suggest a name change to ‘The Soggy Batter And Manic Depressive Chips Plaice’; what it lacks in pun-tasticness it makes up for in accuracy.
So not the best of evenings, to be honest. Still, the bed was comfy and the next day we rode for Ponty!… Part 2 to follow.
The Man and the Dog.