Friday, May 08, 2015

A Tale of Two Shuckburghs

In the morning, I popped over to The Olive Grove - a Garden Centre in Oundle, to catch-up with Alison W, a colleague from my days in the 90s at Nokia. This was our first visit, since it opened its expanded eatery - and it didn’t disappoint: great food, great menu and very (very!) pleasant and professional waiting staff. We even sat outside taking advantage of that rare yellow thing in the sky!

Then it was back home to get ready to travel back to Oundle again in the evening - and catch-up with Jane and Mick. We see each other about three times a year and take it in turns to book a  suitable venue. This time was no exception and as we all knew ‘The Shuckburgh Arms’, this seemed like a good choice. Lucky we chatted beforehand then! as it turned out that there were TWO Shuckburgh Arms, both fairly close to one another and ‘our’ one (in Stoke Doyle) was NOT the one that Mick was thinking of (in Southwick). Surely, Google Maps would clear up the confusion?! Well, it didn’t! Google maps list THREE, in three places, although two of them sport the same postal address - but in different places on the map! These are both ‘PE4’ post-code and have the same area code for their telephone number.

Confused? You will be!

The TWO Shuckburgh Arms (in three places!) ‘A’ is definitely right, but either ‘B’ or ‘C’ is wrong. Click HERE for the actual map

Still, what could possibly go wrong? Well, plenty actually!!! I popped the postcode into the sat-nav and the XKR burbled in the general direction of Oundle. Clearly the technology had been ‘on the sauce’ and began to take us in the completely the wrong direction, so we switched to my other sat-nav - far more reliable and attractive - and headed in the direction of where we thought the Pub might be. After a while, we realised we were in areas of ‘PE4’ that we’ve never seen before, and luckily, at that point, the original sat-nav got a grip on reality, and began to point us in the right direction - eventually, we arrived at the Pub.

It was packed! Full of locals talking about local issues (but mainly, the Election result!). There was a roaring open fire and a plenty of good beers on offer. We arrived slightly ahead of Mick and Jane and settled in the corner of the Bar where the owners had reserved us a large table. M and J arrived shortly afterwards and we all began studying the beautifully hand-written boards for something to eat.

Probably the most important hand-written board of the evening was the one saying ‘the card machine is broken - cash only!’. A quick scurry around the darkest recesses of our pockets and purses revealed that we had only about £25 between us. Even at these reasonable prices, it looked like it was going to be ‘half a Cumberland sausage to share’. Luckily, the Bar staff were pretty chilled-out about the whole thing and let us stuff ourselves and then send them a cheque. Phew! No need for us to exercise our washing-up skills then!

The Pub got busier… and noisier, whilst we got fuller. By 9.15 we were all done. All-in-all, I’d say the food was ‘OK’ rather than ‘great’, but we had a great time, as we always do, when we meet up. We said our goodbyes and took a slightly different, but more direct route home. Without the aid of the Jag’s sat-nav, we were home in around 25 minutes.

An eventful evening - but it wasn’t planned that way!!