Monday 25 February 2019

BRAPA - Back in Dorset Part 8/10 : Born Again in Wimborne

As the bus crawled up Wimborne Road through the Winton area of Bournemouth in the evening rush hour traffic, I banged my head against the window in frustration and hummed a sinister tune, proof of my unravelling mental state.  I'd been up since 8am with the sole purpose of visiting Dorset pubs, it was nearly 6pm now and I'd only been in two.   The life of the pub ticker at times is hard!

My Dad text me to say he was in one, before Hull City's evening game against Rotherham.  I should've been pleased for him, but I was just jealous!  Would we ever reach Wimborne?  Why hadn't I got off at Poole and got a bus from there?  Why is Chaldon Herring so rubbish?  Was walking to Pamphill in the dark a good idea?  Just some of the many questions floating around my brain. 

I'd be back in Wimborne tomorrow morning, but it was hard to get a sense of it on a Tuesday night.  The way people talk about it in Dorset, you'd think it a thriving metropolis, but it doesn't even have a railway station, and let's be honest, is it really any more than a poor man's Beverley? 

One of the two pubs here was on the road up towards Pamphill, which would be opening for the evening session at 7pm, so it made sense to do one Wimborne pub now so I wasn't there too early ....

Pub approaching

Pointless crossing of road just so I could get a better pub photo for my blog (I DO spoil you all)

1504 / 2474.  Green Man, Wimborne

'Please step over the green man when entering the pub' said the GBG, and I thought I might've missed him, so I stepped back and did it again.  Had I just cancelled out the luck that this was supposed to bring me?  "Hi darling, how are you?" said the barmaid.  Well, that was a nice intro, so I actually told her but I didn't realise what she'd actually meant was 'Which of the three (delightful) Wadworth ales would you like this evening, don't take too long to decide?!'  So I went for 6X.  A few people I'd met on this holiday had told me Wadworth were boring, and whilst I don't really have a strong opinion of the ALES (they seem fine to me in a standard way), on the rare occasions I've been in their PUBS, I found them bland as owt.  And five perky locals did their best to create a jolly atmosphere, Heart FM on a day-glo display dominated.  Kelly Brook was trying to put herself in the shoes of a sad single bloke on Tinder and how she'd edit her profile this Valentine's to secure a date with a girl like her.  Finally, people sat near me.  A sallow cheeked twild and her knackered Mum, I think Daddy worked here as he proved he was comfortable in these surroundings by fondling every surface and member of staff he could see.  "Mummy, how do you spell Freya?"  asked Twild.   "Is it F-E-R..." "HAHAHA NO!" replied Mum, doing nothing for her daughter's confidence.  "Actually, I don't know myself" she admitted.  Daughter whips out a phone and Googles it within seconds.  "You got it?  Good" says Mum, not displaying the slightest curiosity of how you would spell Freya.  And in that one exchange, I think the whole pub had been defined.  If that makes any sense, which it doesn't. 

Green man in the floor

Perfectly okay pint of 6X

Martin the Owl fails to be too thrilled

Don't shoot!

Locals of the past
So, now it was time for the key part of the night.  It was 6:50pm, Pamphill pub opening in 10 minutes.  It looked about a 20 minute walk on Google Maps.  I carried on out of Wimborne on the same road, turned left by the hospital and I think, a football ground.  It became rural very quickly, no pavement, puddles and potholes everywhere despite no rain since Saturday.  My phone light was no help, better to let my eyes adjust to the dark.  Why don't I eat more carrots?  I just prayed  I wasn't going to see too many vehicles approaching.  

Luckily, I didn't see one!  On the uphill side road up to Pamphill,  it was flooded at the bottom so I had to jump like some kind of wild gazelle onto the grass verge.  This was vintage pub ticking.   To my intense relief, the pub was glowing in a 'we are definitely open' kinda way.  Are you watching Chaldon Effin' Herring?  

1505 / 2475.  Vine Inn, Pamphill

I must've missed the main entrance, and came in through a side gate and a side door, descending some steep stairs to reach the bar.  Some gentle old swing music was playing to help enhance that ultra-traditional atmosphere.  You could feel the history in the air, electric! A few luminous vested Twyclists who'd probably come from Cambridge, they had that look of self righteousness, occupied the other bar, and I was so glad I was the only customer round this side.  The formidable and friendly landlady told me the guest ale was from Wakefield, so I got the other one.  We got chatting on all things pubby & Yorkshire, as I BRAPsplained to death, and she told me this pub had been in her family since 1900.  She was even a fan of Martin the Owl (no offence to him but it doesn't happen much), obviously a lady of extremely good taste, and she told me about other local owls in her neighbourhood that her and her husband know(!)     Beer was superb too, and we talked about how it was good to have two on instead of ten.  It was one of those I just wished half of pubby Twitter and friends back home were here to witness.  Speaking of which, Dad told me Hull City were 2-0 up at half time against Rotherham.  So a lucky pub too.  And if you can only go to one pub in Dorset (not that I can imagine a scenario where that'd be the case) I'd make it this one, yes even ahead of the Square & Compass, but perhaps its more understated hidden charm is what keeps it so special.  Pub of the holiday, and all of the trials and tribulations of the day were suddenly worth it! 

Descending into the bar

I think it is Dorset for something?!

Locals with pumpkins, just because they can

Sooty jealous as Martin the Owl becomes centre of attention

Of course, as soon as I left, everyone else in the other bar did.  In cars.  I thought they were on bikes?  All catching me up just at that flooded corner in time to give me a farewell splash!  And by the time I was back in Wimborne, Rotherham had scored twice and it was now 2-2.  Oh well, the magic was good while it lasted.

I soon located my other Wimborne tick, 'Taphouse' sounded like it might be too beer orientated to be a cosy lovely pub, but hey ho, gotta be open minded .......

1506 / 2476.  Taphouse, Wimborne

Now, I'd not envy the pub following the Vine in Pamphill, a bit like a vague arsty headline act following the Celtic-punk local support act who has just had the crowd jumping.  So I think the Taphouse deserves a lot of credit for being a very good place to have a pint.  Okay, so it was one of those where you couldn't see handpumps but just had these mysterious barrels draped in black and a few boards indicating what was what.  The barmaid somehow managed to be amazing throughout despite spending most of her rummaging under the bar in boxes like a cute tortoise (she may've even swallowed a lettuce leaf whole at one point) so I just sat in the corner enjoying my Eight Arch (that's what we experts call LocAle) and occasionally rubbing my knees Shooting Stars style, smiling and going "mmmmm" so perhaps she thought I was enjoying it a bit too much, but the point was, I'd not missed the last bus from Wimborne to Bournemouth so my sense of well being was further enhanced.  The maps in the toilets were spookily of the mid-Cornwall area I'm going for the BRAPA summer fest, I figured this would've been a great pub to end the holiday in, but I still had 7 left to do, never mind. 

Blokes gather, spot the barmaid

Mysterious gothic casks

I'd actually like to see a ska version of the Charlatans, if that's what they are

I'll be here in June!

At the bus stop, an old lady asks me why buses in Poole and Bournemouth are so confusing so I put my hands to my face and said I wasn't local, please don't hurt me.  She left me alone after a bit more chuntering.  I got off the bus probably at the wrong stop in Winton to complete my Bournemouth micro quintet, better late than never (and boy was it late!)  Remember, I'd try to come here on Sunday lunchtime but it hadn't been open til 3pm so I hadn't hung around ......

1507 / 2477.  Micro Moose, Winton, Bournemouth

I suppose being well after 10pm on a Tuesday in February in a Micropub, there was always the chance they could've already called an early last orders.  So it was with some relief that I was greeted warmly with a grey haired lady.  Her expression took on a glummer look when I ordered the Vanilla Milk Stout from Hertfordshire or one of those obscure counties BRAPA tries not to think about.    "Ooooh, you won't like that, someone drinking your favourite!" a local says to her, she admits it is a sad moment, so I apologise but I don't really mean it but I slope off to a table as far away as possible, not easy in a Bournemouth micropub, should just be glad this pub had a bar I guess!  I think there was a theme in this place I couldn't quite put my finger on.  Lots of images of mooses, bears, rocky mountains, snow, people killing things between the eyes with guns, weird senses of humour, these odd red maple leaves on a flag, probably Labbats lager adverts.  Hmmmm, I just couldn't quite place it.  A bloke who looked like a stand-up comic in a tracksuit chatted to Mrs Moose in a similar accent, though he looked like he was definitely from Bournemouth.  He had that unhealthy look of a man who's soul was destroyed back in the 80's.  But I liked him.  Quite amusing.  Nothing happened, and then the last orders bell was rang with force, and I realised this was the first time I've heard last orders in a micro so at least that is something to remember this place by. 

Who'd have thought it'd be that colour? (Saracasm)

Trying to work out the theme of this pub

Still not quite getting it.

He's not sure either

Back in Poole, I got off at the wrong place, got lost in the football ground, if that is what it was, and was well after midnight when I got in.  Oh dear!  Needed to be at my best for tomorrow, as I'd have company in the form of Martin Taylor for the final day of my holiday.  Despite being a bit "all pubbed out", I was looking forward to getting to some of the more obscure parts of the county.



  1. "Just some of the many questions floating around my brain."

    With the walking in the dark one being proof of your frustration.

    "so it made sense to do one Wimborne pub now so I wasn't there too early ...."

    I liken that to the military saying 'grab some sleep when you can'. A proper pub man should always consider doing a pub when he can. ;)

    "(I DO spoil you all)"

    *cough* attention seeker *cough* :)

    "If that makes any sense, which it doesn't. "

    My take from all that was not one you'd be eager to do again.

    "Perfectly okay pint of 6X"

    I've heard 6X is not too bad. I think Martin likes it?

    "Locals of the past"

    With hair like that I doubt it's from the present. ;)

    "This was vintage pub ticking."


    "I'd make it this one, yes even ahead of the Square & Compass,"

    Blimey! High praise indeed. I've heard of Square and Compass (and not from parts 1-6 as I haven't read them yet).

    "I think it is Dorset for something?!"

    It's the Dorset equivalent of 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas'. :)

    "All catching me up just at that flooded corner in time to give me a farewell splash! "

    Definitely from Cambridge as they didn't offer you a lift. Wankers.

    "(that's what we experts call LocAle)"

    My chuckle above has morphed into a groan.

    "Blokes gather, spot the barmaid"

    Bottom left corner. Crikey, it almost looks like an apparition!

    "she admits it is a sad moment,"

    Sheesh. If it was that important to her why not turn the sign around and keep it all to herself? :)

    "Hmmmm, I just couldn't quite place it."

    If I ever manage to get over there, I'll explain it to you over a pint. :)

    "Trying to work out the theme of this pub"

    You weren't kidding!

    "He's not sure either"

    That highway sign above him (Yellowhead 16) is one I have travelled many many miles on. :)


    PS - "despite spending most of her rummaging under the bar"

    I'm guessing she was spending her 'time' doing this. ;)

    "of a man who's soul was destroyed back in the 80's"

    Whose, not who's dear boy.

    1. Now I've heard you refer to the Cambridge puddle splashers as wankers, Russ, I feel a lot happier!

  2. Great post. And it does make sense. Great sense.

    1. Thanks Dave! I sometimes think I'm going a bit mad and caught in my own little pubby world, so that has reassured me.

  3. Methinks you are unkind to the Green Man. You walk into a nice pub with friendly barmaid and locals BUT your mood isn't right. NOT pub. You. Yes ?

    1. You might have a point there Grizwald, after all, stuck on that bus, all the frustrations of the day, perhaps mounted up a bit and wasn't in best of moods.

      Though I must say found Heart FM a bit overwhelming and pub a tiny bit bland, maybe if Kelly Brook had jumped out of the screen, The Ring style, it'd have improved things!

    2. Heart FM ? No, no, no. I take everything back.

  4. The Vine is a special pub and fun to find! I am glad we made it there.