Being unwilling to be challenged about my age (see yesterday's blog), I turned away from The Black Lion and, looking over the road, spotted an equally picturesque pub, The Star. A further attraction was the offer of "2 meals for £8" and, having just come back from gourmet Italy, the prospect of some down-to-earth no frills pub grub appealed greatly.
The food turned out to be just the thing, and the service was truly excellent, but there was no real ale to be had. A pint of John Smith's Smoothflow was the best they could do and, the beer being chilled to the point of tastelessness, I can hardly recommend it. Why the devil people want their beer served so cold nowadays, I cannot understand. I switched to Guiness (NOT extra-cold) for a second pint.
The pub premises had great charm and looked authentically old, but it was a real dump! Wallpaper was peeling off the walls and it looked like it had last been decorated in the days of Oliver Cromwell.
Looking around me, however, I saw real "locals" having a friendly chat and the low buzz of conversation was very peaceful and soothing. Even when some young mothers came in with babies in buggies, I felt quite at home in the benign surroundings.
Yes, The Star could be quite a nice place if they would get some decent ale in!