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13 pub failure

April 14, 2014

The waiter at Red Chilli Indian restaurant inVentnor helpfully told That Nice Lady Decorator not to bite into the green chillies in her starter, just a few moments after she had done just that. It was at the end of a beautiful sunny day which had started well but deteriorated as it went on.

Bright and early we were up and having breakfast on our terrace overlooking Ventnor Beach. It is a curious arrangement at the Spyglass Inn whereby you rent a small apartment by the night, which has cooking facilities and they supply you with bread butter, sausages, bacon, mushroom and tomatoes, and you cook breakfast yourself. That all went well, and with the sun getting warm we dug our shorts from the suitcase and set off to walk along the Coastal path to Ventnor Botanical Gardens, about a mile and a half along the cliff top. It was taxing but very beautiful. We walked along side a very insecure fence and saw some interesting plants but thought that as it would have been so easy to get in, and it was not marked from the path, it could not be the place. Half a mile later we met some people coming the other way who told us it was what we were looking for.

Climbing through the fence we explored the gardens which were quite nice and I thought well worth £2 of anyone’s money. Being honest and upright citizens, we sought out the box office and went to pay. £6.50 each? I wished we were not so honest. If I had known the price I would have found my honesty and integrity ebbing away.

pub on beach

Spyglass in on the beach at Ventnor

So that was the start. After walking back in late morning, and the weather still beautiful, we set off in the car to check out a couple of local pubs. Now I am a bit fussy about pubs. There has to be real ale, there has to be no people with tatoos or bull terriers, and it has to be a half decent building and interior or garden. It has been known in the past for me to reject as many as three different pubs before I find something that is drinking acceptable. 13 pubs in succession were rejected. To paraphrase The late Sir Winston Churchill, I have never before seen so many bad pubs with so many ugly people in such short a time,

It was such a litany of pub going disaster that The Nice Lady Decorator made a list of them all. It started in Shanklin, covered Wroxall, Godshill (we went there in deference to the Reverend Jeff – we knew it would not be good -), Brading and a few others, but special praise for thorough awfulness must reside with a pub called The Haven. It is set in a wonderful position high on a hill with magnificent views out across the sea and is reached by a small track about two miles long. It should have been idyllic, but it was a carbuncle of a bungalow. Bereft of any charm whatsoever, with a garden full of oiks and pikies, I was even worried about turning the car around in case the wheel trims were stolen during the three point turn.

One last attempt on the way home did throw up a quirky pub called The Bonchurch Inn (two church references on a Sunday, just to keep the reverend happy). Almost stuck in the early 1900’s it had a really nice authentic feel and served a decent pint of Bombardier, but by this time it was nearly 3pm and we were gasping. Then back to the Spyglass for a siesta before heading out to dinner at the Crab And Lobster in Ventnor for dinner, or so we thought. Their “No food on a Sunday evening” policy created the green chilli havoc with which I started today’s Currencies Direct inspired column.

Chris France

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 14, 2014 4:57 pm

    The Isle of Shite’s no sort of treat,
    Not picturesque, pretty or sweet,
    The Haven’s a blow,
    Just a dull bungalow,
    And ‘one stor(e)y’ you wouldn’t repeat !!

    And one just for you Chris !!

    They climbed through a hole in the fence,
    Then decided to make recompense,
    But when told the full whack,
    Chris’s mind travelled back,
    To a certain begrudged 80 pence !!


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 15, 2014 1:58 pm

    Absolutely !!


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