Dockenfield, extreme southwest Surrey, and we were back in Ed Wray's Ed Mobile for pub two of this exciting tour of those awkward rural pubs, south of Guildford.
Ed's new SatNav device tried its best, but the phone kept falling out of the holder. I'm not the worlds best navigator, far too easily distracted by my own chatter. So it was left to Colin's incredibly intuitive map to help to get us from A to B to C ......
Look, he's even numbered them 1,2 and 3 with this specific blog in mind. How clever!
What could go wrong?
Milford was up next. This one wasn't such a difficult 'tick' for me as it has its own railway station, but as it mapped out (excuse the pun), it was a relief to tackle this with a like-minded individual #PubMan
It couldn't have looked any more Brunning & Price, either in setting or style of the building. Sadly, I failed to capture it from the road, but at least you've got me posing weirdly outside the entrance:
The huge carpark was heaving, we struggled find a space! Wednesday lunchtime, wow. It seems the Refectory, Milford (1757 / 3186) has a particularly loyal following, even if it is 90% sea bass chomping toffee nosed geriatrics. We felt suddenly very under dressed as we loitered in the reception area. Remember how underwhelmed I'd been by the low key Brunning & Price Haycutter at Broadham Green? Well you cannot deny this was the full shebang, leaving no stone unturned in its lavish baronial hall poshness. I tried to capture it as we walked through but couldn't do it justice.
Finally, a barman/waiter type shuffles us embarrassedly through the pub into the beer garden, where I suddenly felt like I could breathe again. We were forced / strongly encouraged to order through a stupidly counter intuitive App, one to rival the Black Horse at Otley, the Railway in Southend or the Wadworth pub in Old Basing for 'BRAPA's Top Shit Apps of Pub Lockdown Life' - soon to be made into a Channel 4 documentary to be screened at 3am over Christmas after a revamp of the Girlie Show. Luckily, the sunshine, a great pint of Shere Drop, and the ability to breathe fresh air alleviated my angsty mood. A toilet trip was predictably stressful, the arrow took me the wrong way, and when a helpful diner pointed me in the right direction, his elderly mother looked me up and down in pure disgust. And was that Jo Brand is the raised area just outside the gents? Surely she's too 'real' to come for lunch here? Back outside, I was relieved to see Ed hadn't driven off without me!
Next stop, and I'll allow you to scroll back up to consult Colin' map, we continued our journey east towards the main road which would eventually take us back north towards Guildford.
Hard to get a good view of the pub frontage here, we tried in vain .....
But at least on arrival at White Horse, Hascombe (1758 / 3187) we could for the first time today walk inside and say 'ahhhh finally, we're in a pub that feels like a pub!' Not quite sure the giant Perspex screens were strictly necessary , but at least they had a White Horse emblem on so you could make a case for these screens dating back to 1760, making this the first pub in the world to make preparations for the 2020 global pandemic. It was still incredibly posh, and a group of men talked about Fleet Street whilst drinking white wine out of an icy bucket. They all looked like Terry Wogan, Prince Charles and Mike Baldwin. My Otter bitter was strangely given off a Tiny Rebel 'tropical fruit bomb' effect. Farming implements festooned the walls in what felt like quite a threatening way. And when Ed spotted a sign that said we were in the "adults only lounge", he loudly exclaims "does that mean I'm going to have to get my cock out?" Well, that nearly created quite the change of atmosphere! The Wogan gang pretended not to hear. Back to the Ed mobile I think. Best pub yet, not that the competition was too errrrm, stiff?
North up past Guildford and Ed's stomping ground of Woking, it was time for our final pub of the day as a duo. Ed regaling me with plenty of pubby tales from his youth, and the local geography, my poor bladder in ribbons, but this pub was a real 'monkey off my back' one. Welcome back to Chobham!
Yes, I don't know if you recall me having a nightmare here on a rainy Sunday last October, Andy Collins kindly dropping me off here after a swift one in the highly pre-emptive Horse & Groom, only for me to get here and be told there was no room for me to even have a drink "for the rest of the day!", and then no buses, walking miles through floods, oh it was traumatic!
So what a relief to come here on a near deserted Wednesday afternoon, one of those moments you wanna hold aloft the magic sword and shout "by the power of BRAPA I will not be defeated!" where I feel like He-man, with Ed as Man O ' T'Arms and Colin will simply have to be Orko.
I was so excited, my photo alignment has gone all funky.