Current licensees Charlie and Caroline had moved in just before that event - in fact they were the last ever new Ridleys tenants. In their fourteen months at the pub they've really turned the place around. What had been a frankly gloomy and run down interior has been transformed by the judicious use of new lighting, a light/bright colour scheme and lots of natural materials mainly wood.

On the real ale front, three were available on my visit - Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and the delicious Old Bob (a Ridleys recipe). However, Charlie was intending to increase the range to four once the students returned in October. The quality of my samples was absolutely top notch.

Food here is all home-cooked and reasonably priced. The Steak and Ale Pie has a locally famous reputation, as do the Pizzas (from £3.50). You can also get tapas at £1.50 each or three for £4. Sunday lunch (£4.95) is very popular.

Charlie and Caroline are especially pleased that the pub now attracts such a wide mix of clientele with folk from all walks of life mingling happily - a real sign of a proper pub.

When Ridleys originally refurbished the Alma they installed a telephone box, filled it with water and introduced a shoal of piranhas. Unfortunately, one of the larger ones turned cannibalistic and began eating its colleagues. It now swims, bloated and fearsome, in splendid isolation. Now why does this somehow seem appropriate in a Greene King pub?

Anyway, that's no reflection on Charlie and Caroline who are to be congratulated on doing a great job here - give it a try.