Muzzle That Seagull, I‘ve Got A Hangover

They breed the seagulls big and noisy in Portland, a loud screechy one was perched on the roof of Neal and Karen’s house as I awoke with a delicate head after a great day in Weymouth. I have fond memories of Dorset from holidays in my youth and the last two days of my England trip allowed me to create some new picture postcards in my mind.

The previous day I signed off in Oxford tying up loose ends and I had the chance to savour a few good pubs. Coming back to town from Wantage with a rumbling tummy the bus stopped on Botley Road outside The Seacourt Bridge and it seemed to reach out and lure me in so I went in for some food. I always liked the pub when I worked near there and was pleased to see it looking unspoilt inside with 5 good ales on hand pump and some great food offers, I went for the Golden Greats package of plaice, chips and beans followed by apple crumble with cream for just 4.35. A nice pint of Rascal and England taking a pre dinner break wicket on the TV left me feeling rather smug. At night I met up with some old mates at The Chequers in town before ending up in the St Aldates Tavern (formerly The Hobgoblin, my home from home). The beer choice was superb and it was good to see the pub bustling, and restored to its gleaming best.

Saturday morning I was on the platform at Oxford station clutching my ticket and ready for the Bournemouth train. I was down there just in time to catch my link train to Weymouth and the Jurassic coast, stations like Wareham and Poole triggered reminders of youthful excursions as we chugged through the Purbeck hills. Weymouth was buzzing on a scorcher of a day, a quick drop of at my friends house at the top of Portland gave me some stunning views of the modern marina used for London 2012 and then Chesil beach stretching out below. The last time I was in Portland was the big drought of 1976 and the grass was again starting to turn the same parched brown colour. It was time to break the beer drought and a taxi back into the centre of Weymouth dropped us at The Globe, an excellent locals pub with plenty of real ale.

The sun was calling and with some new friends in tow we moved to the old fishing quay where the pubs were spilling out onto the street as the fishing boats bobbed up and down beneath the road bridge that rose and parted to let tall boats sail by. It was a lovely setting and the company made it even better, the beer flowed as we mingled outside The Royal Oak. Some fine local ales like Knob and Jurassic kept me well watered and a cracking afternoon was had by all. Apparently in the recent hot weeks several people had come a cropper on and below the bridge, I bet the 6.8 strength Crazy Goat cider in the bar had played a hand in a few tumbles.

For a well deserved food stop we popped around the corner to a big chippie with a sit down section, the fish and chips portions were large and tasty and even here there was more great ale like Piddle in a bottle. It all got a bit hazy as the evening wore on but when the three of us returned to Portland myself and Neal nipped out for a late few beers in Portland. All the liquid intake ensured I slept well and even my seagull alarm call and the hangover that came with it couldn’t detract from a great start to the Dorset adventure.