After my visit to the Tap & Spile, Hexham, I decided to push on into Allendale. Availing myself of Mr Precott's free transport, I caught a bus to Allendale Town. This place is famous insofar as, from time immemorial and right up until the present day, they perform the pagan fire ceremonies on New Year's Eve. A huge bonfire is lit and everyone files past, hooded and carrying burning brands, before hurling their flaming torches into the Great Fire. All tremendous fun, I'm sure, but the house insurance companies are less than impressed.
The bus hurtled through the countryside at a breakneck speed and we were there in 20 minutes. It was marvellous to see the fields so well stocked with animals. The horribly bungled response to the Foot & Mouth outbreak some years ago had resulted in the wholesale slaughter of our entire livestock population and I never thought to see animals grazing so peacefully in our fields again. The trauma of that year will never be forgotten.
Allendale Town has four good pubs, two of which face directly on to the village green, where they were erecting a big marquee for the summer fete. In the near future, I will review all four pubs but I decided to try the Golden Lion first, as it advertised itself as the home of the Allendale Brewery. At least I'll be sure of getting some real ale, thought I, so I pushed my way past a rather smelly old border collie and entered the bar.
(Continued tomorrow - I have to go to the dentist now....oh joy!)