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ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section

ALE Summer 2004 No. 314

I was having a pint or two with the usual suspects in the Queen's Head at Newton when it was suggested that a voyage into deepest Suffolk was long overdue. So the following Tuesday the gang of six headed at the unheard of hour of 10.00 a.m. in search of fine beer and a little entertainment in a folk musical way. We had to pick up Mac Rutherford (author of the book Cambridge Circus) on the way, and he arrived with a suitable hangover from the night before clutching at a carton of juice and hidden behind a large pair of sun glasses.

First stop was at the Quy Mill Inn [see pub review in the next issue of ALE]; they say an army marches on its stomach, and this was no exception: a round of bacon sandwiches and a fine pint of Adnams bitter and we were on our way again. We picked up Dave, a wandering minstrel, from Snailwell on the way and made it to the Victoria at Earl Soham, where the rather pleasant landlady served us with a magnificent pint of their Victoria Bitter. It was a warm day so we sat outside and watched various drays pulling up at their own brewery.

Tony, God bless him, had volunteered to drive us, then took us to the King's Head Low House at Laxfield, the most wonderful of pubs [it certainly is that - Ed.] with various rooms, no bar but a taproom at the back where all the beers racked and served directly from the cask. This ancient 16th century pub has settles, low-slung beams, an amazing fireplace, stone floors, and a wonderful agricultural feel to it. It used to be the home to a variety of folk singers who would turn up with their instruments and just play on a Tuesday afternoon, but for a change had moved on to another pub. We had lunch, very good too, washed down with another pint or two of Adnams bitter and a reasonable bottle of red wine. Knuckles had the smoked kippers that he thought were superb; Mac, David, and Tony had the steak & ale pie, and I had the local bangers and mash - yes, we all ate well.

The next quest was to find where the musicians were. Our destination turned out to be the Queen's Head at Stradbroke where this band of elderly and young talent harmonised superbly, jamming all afternoon giving us a lot of fun. Copious quantities of Adnams were supped, though the quality was not as good here. We split up into teams to play pool, and it was the very sign of a misspent youth that Knuckles was the best player, but having put him with Mac, who by now was firing on all cylinders, evened things out a bit. Dave partnered Tony but that was not too good with Tony being too sober, so it was David and I who claimed victory on the sporting field of battle. Dave then picked up his guitar and was enthusiastically welcomed into the throng, and we all joined in with the singing.

We then left for home enjoying a curry in Bury St Edmunds on the way and getting back to the Queen's Head in Newton just in time for the final pint that Knuckles had phoned through to make sure we were in time for. A good day out with great friends, and I can't wait for the next one!

Jerry Brown


ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section
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