The Greyhound’s farewell party took place last Saturday evening. As there would be a lot of clearing up to do, not just after the party but because Larkin’s were due to surrender their short-term lease on the pub, James the landlord agreed to host one final session at lunchtime, the following day. This was primarily to allow local CAMRA to say farewell to the pub, but also to give those local drinkers who were unable to attend the night before, the chance for a few final drinks.
|A nice country retreat|
I pass through Leigh twice a day, on my drive to and from work, but in over 10 years of doing so, this was the first time I’d visited the church-yard. The church stands on higher ground than the rest of the village, and I’m certain there are reasons why the original builders chose this location. Leigh is what is known as an “estate village”, in so much that the village centre was re-modelled by the family of landed gentry who owned much of it. The latter lived at Hall Place, a stately pile which we would be circumventing on our route to Charcott. Hall Place was rebuilt, to its current design in 1872, and many of the handsome looking, Victorian properties in the village date from the same period.
The sun was shining, and there was not a cloud in the sky as we passed out from the church-yard, and took the footpath in front of one of the ornate gatehouses which forms the boundary to the Hall Place estate. We passed several groups of walkers heading in the opposite direction; mainly people out with their dogs.
Hale Place itself was largely invisible; hidden behind a row of trees, but also partly obscured by the hazy sunshine, and the footpath we were following also took us around the edge of a wood, but eventually we passed out into open countryside, pausing en route for a look at Leigh Park Farm, with its associated oast houses and waterside setting.
|Entrance to a Cold War nuclear bunker|
We also bumped into a person carrying out some restoration work on a former nuclear bunker, close to the junction. It turned out he was a volunteer, belonging to a preservation group which had bought the bunker, when they were all sold off by the M.O.D. at the end of the Cold War. I took a few photos, including one looking down the quite deep entrance shaft. I’m not sure that I fancied climbing down there, but fortunately we weren’t offered the opportunity; besides the pub was now close by and we were wasting valuable drinking time.
It wasn’t too long before the polypin ran out, so James drove the short distance to the brewery to pick up another. The beer in the second one was icy cold, which rather slowed down the rate of drinking, but I still managed to sink four pints. As Larkin’s Trad has an ABV of just 3.4%, the four pints had very little effect on me. As a few other people remarked, it would have been nice to have found either Larkin’s Best or their Porter on sale, but under the circumstances we were probably fortunate with what we had.
Apricity : the warmth of the sun in winter.